Erik Nitsche: Austria Postal Relics
Artist: Erik Nitsche
Over one hundred years before the famed postal reforms in England, the Austrian postal service was offering its customers a flat postal rate on letters -- regardless of the distance they were carried within the country. One half of the fee was prepaid, the other half was paid on delivery. For short range delivery service within the cities, particularly Vienna, the Austrian Post Office developed a unique system of mail service. Beginning in 1772, The Little Post in Vienna employed special messengers to both deliver and collect mail. They carried a small, numbered tin post-box and a rattle with which they attracted attention as they strolled through town, thus acquiring the name Rattle Post. Some sixty-four years later, the Austrian Post nearly became the first nation to issue adhesive stamps through a plan proposed by a civil servant named Laurenc Koschier. Unfortunately, this innovative plan was rejected. However, this foresighted gentlemen has since earned a place in the postal history of Austria as the "ideological creator" of the world's first stamp. Although not first with the postage stamp, Austria was the first to introduce the world's first postcard on October 1, 1869. At first people feared that their private messages would be read by postmen and clerks, but economical postcards proved to be popular.
This artwork was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day of Issue Proof Card for the U.S. 22¢ Stamp Collecting stamp issued January 23, 1986.
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