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A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Austria 1858-59 Embossed Issues: Complete vs Broken Loops

Austria 1858 Scott 10a 10kr brown, Type I
"Emperor Franz Josef"
Into the Deep Blue
On November 1, 1858, a new set of stamps, featuring the 28 year old Emperor, Franz Josef I,  was released. There were five denominations for Austria, and five for Lombardy-Venetia.

The issues were valid throughout the Empire.

Emperor Franz Josef I
The embossed portrait of the emperor had him posed left with a laurel (bay) wreath crowning his head.

The 3r kreuzer stamp was changed in color from black to green in the middle of 1859, and the corresponding  3 soldi stamp likewise was changed in mid-1862.

The stamps were valid for use until May 31, 1864. In Lombardy (but not in Venetia), their use ceased in July 1859, due to the unfortunate turn of events (from the Austrian perspective) of having lost the lands to the Sardinians.

Because the stamps had embossed portrait flaws (broken loops- Type I), they was replaced fairly soon, as Type II (complete loops) had already appeared by December 1858.

Type II
Clearly, the most obvious sign for Type II (1859) stamps are the complete loops, resembling an "8".

But also, the wreath on Type II stamps project higher and sharper on top of the head, and the mouth and chin are more pronounced, and the nose is more pointed.

For the 5kr red, 10kr brown, and 15kr blue denominations, CV (used) ranges from $2-$4+  for the Type II, and $20+ for the Type I stamps.respectively.

For the Lombardy-Ventetia 5s red and 10s brown denominations, CV (used) is $10+-$20+ for Type II, and $40+-$140 for Type I stamps respectively.

If the WW collector has interest, a representative collection of Type I/Type II stamps is certainly possible without a large financial outlay.

Type I
The Type I (1858) stamps have broken loops, and the loops resemble a "3".

For Type I, the wreath does not project as much above head, and the nose, chin, and mouth are not as pronounced.

Now comes the big BUT...(the gray zone)

Some stamps that appear to not have a totally closed loop are not Type I, but actually are Type II!

More about that in the next section. !

A closer look at the stamps and issues
100 Neu-Kreuzer = 1 Guilden (1858)
100 Soldi = 1 Florin (1858)
Austria 1859 Scott 6 2kr yellow, T II
"Emperor Franz Josef"
The 2 kreuzer yellow is the lowest denomination. One has to admit it is difficult seeing the design, and even the denomination.

Austria 1859 Scott 6 2kr yellow, T II
Cyan Tint
In this case, I switched to "Cyan tint", which is an option in Windows Live Photo Gallery. Much easier to see the details, including the closed loops. But for the 2 kr, in contrast to the other denominations, the types are determined by the shape of the "2", rather than the state of the loops. !

Austria 1858-59 Scott 6 2kr yellow
"2": Type I vs Type II
Here is an illustration from Michel catalogue which shows the types. Compared to Type I, the "2" of Type II is more curved and evenly thick. There are two horizontal lines above and below the tail of the "2".

Austria Scott 6 2 kr Type II
"2" has a more curved foot of uniform thickness
And here is a close-up of the "2" for the stamp.

Austria Scott 6 2 kr Type II- Cyan Tint
"2" has a more curved foot of uniform thickness
The "Cyan tint" reveals even more clearly that the "2" is a Type II. CV for Type II is $50+, while $450 for Type I. !

Austria 1859 Scott 7 3kr black,
"Emperor Franz Josef"
Type I or Type II?

Type II has a CV of $240, while Type I has a CV of $300. This off-center stamp no doubt is worth less.

I was certain this was Type I. Clearly, the loop is not closed! On the other hand, the loop is not in a "3" shape either, the ideal characteristic of Type I.

Austria 1859 Scott 7 3kr black close-up Type II
Not a T I- no, the slightly broken loop doesn't count!
Yes, it is true, that the wreath on top of the head has a spiky appearance, as one would see with Type II.

But it was not until I consulted the Austria Specialized 1850-1900 Ferchenbauer catalogue, where it states that Type II, for the 3kr black, has a color spot in the white borderline medallion at about the 10:30 clock position. !

Sure enough, there it was! I was stunned..

Black  color spot in the medallion's white border line top left
And Ferchenbauer states that Type I does not have this spot!

So, I came to the realization that Type I/Type II is more than just evaluating loops in a naive way.

For the "gray zone" (questionable loop opening), one has to evaluate the whole stamp.

Austria 1859 Scott 9 5kr red, Type II
The 5kr red has a CV of $2+  for the least expensive catalogue number. One can imagine the fun that could be had with this stamp, collecting the many postmarks, color varieties, variations, and usages ( on and off paper (CV $6+ on cover).

The 5kr comes in two Ferchenbauer subtypes - here the inner thinner upper horizontal frameline is not broken (subtype I). The other variation (subtype II) has a broken frame-line.

Austria 1859 Scott 9 5kr red close-up
Type II = Loops Complete
Prominent pointed nose, mouth, chin, spiky head wreath
This stamp is obviously a Type II by glancing at the closed loops.

But lets concentrate on the other characteristics here.

Note the rather grotesque pointed nose and lips = Type II.

Apparently, it should be easy to look at secondary characteristics and also quickly determine type, yes?

No! Do not get overconfident.

Many Type II's are not nearly as obvious face-wise, as this one.

I find that the spiky wreath on top of the head to be a bit more reliable than face characteristics.

(In other words, I've been fooled.)

Austria 1858 Scott 9a 5kr red
Here is another 5kr red. The loops appear to be frayed, but does not have an absolutely classic "3" shape.

Austria 1858 Scott 9a 5kr red, Type I closeup
Still, one can say that it has a "frayed" "3" shape, which would argue for a Type I.

And the secondary characteristics are compatible too - blunted wreath top, and modest facial features.

White Border of Medallion is interrupted
on lower left
The clincher is that Ferchenbauer says the 5kr Type I has a medallion white border that is broken at about the 7:30 clock position. Do you see it?

Austria 1859 Scott 10 10kr brown, Type II
Lovely stamp! The 10kr brown has a CV of $4+ for the least expensive catalogue number.

Clearly, based on the closed loops, this is a Type II.

Austria 1859 Scott 10 10kr brown
T II close-up: Loops complete
But, let's look at the secondary characteristics.

The modestly spiky hair, especially the spike that drapes over the forehead, is compatible.

The nose and mouth are perhaps a bit prominent, but nothing to write home about.

Yes, this is Type II, but compared to the grotesque 5kr Type II example earlier, not nearly as easy in making the determination.

Austria 1859 Scott 10 10kr brown
Shade Variant; Type I or Type II?
This is a shade variant of the 10kr brown. One of the joys of early stamps is the inexact pigment science, leading to shades that can be identified for a certain time period etc.

But the larger question is- T I or T II?

Admittedly, some of the difficulty is because the loops are obscured by the cancel.

I'm going to leave this as an unknown, although I do have my suspicions. ;-)

Austria 1858 Scott 10a 10kr brown
Type I
This rather tired looking 10kr brown is clearly a Type I with the characteristic "3" loop shape.

Austria 1858 Scott 10a 10kr brown
Type I = Loops Broken
Note also the blunted wreath top and a nose that turns up slightly rather than pointed.

Type I: Under the "10" is a small vertical spot
The Ferchenbauer clincher is the small colored vertical spot under the "10", between the two horizontal lines.

Type I has the spot, Type II does not.

Now go back and check the 10kr brown unknown. What do you think?

Austria 1859 Scott 11 15kr blue, Type II
This Type II 15kr blue has a modest CV of ~ $3, which could mean this stamp may have possibilities as a one stamp study.

Austria 1859 Scott 11 15kr blue, Type II
Shade Variant
Another 15kr - but a shade variant.

Austria 1859 Scott 11 15kr blue, Type II
Shade Variant
Another shade variant. Also note the very good embossing detail for the laurel  wreath on this stamp.
I should note that the usual perforation found for the 1858-59 issue is Perf 14 1/2.

There were reprints (Type II) made of this issue later which have perfs of 10 1/2, 11, 12, 12 1/2, and 13.

Austria 1858 Scott 11a 15kr blue, Type I
This 15kr blue certainly appears to be Type I - open loop.

Austria 15 kr blue - Type I
Note the "3" shape of the loops, although it is still attached at the bottom.

The secondary face and wreath characteristics all appear modest- compatible with Type I.

Type I: Dots on the horizontal lines between "R" and the corner ornament
Type I: Corner ornament markings are different 
The Ferchenbauer catalogue also states that there are difference in the lower right corner of the stamp between Type I and Type II.

Type I (open loops) have two large blue dots placed on the horizontal lines between "R" and the corner ornament.

Type I also has differences in the design lines of the corner ornament itself. This will become apparent when we take a comparison look with Type II.

15 kr blue Type II - right lower corner
Note there are no colored dots on the horizontal lines between "R" and the corner ornament for T II. (Compare with Type I above.)

15 kr blue Type II corner ornament details
And note the horizontal separate convex lines in the upper part of the ornament in Type II.
(Compare with Type I (above nearby), where the lines are shorter and are stacked on each other.

Lombardy-Venetia 1858-62 Scott 8 3s black, Type II
Loops complete, Wreaths projects further from head
The Soldi issues for Lombardy-Venetia are, in large part, the same as the Austria issues, save for a change in denomination. That, of course, means Type I/Type II differences also.

This is clearly a Type II = Loops complete, on this 3s black.

The CV is $190. In general, the Lombardy-Venetia stamps have a higher CV than the Austria stamps.

Of course, recall that Austria lost Lombardy (Milan) to Sardinia in July, 1859.

Lombardy-Venetia 1858-62 Scott 9 5s red, Type II
The 5s red is the least expensive of the six stamp issue @ CV $20+.

This is clearly a Type II stamp.

Of interest, Mantova (Mantua) was part of the Lombardy region, but was not lost following the Battle of Solferino in 1859, but remained part of the Austrian Empire, along with Venetia.

Lombardy-Venetia 1858-62 Scott 9 5s red, 
Type II?
O.K., we come across another "gray zone" stamp - is this Type I or Type II?

Lombardy-Venetia 1858-62 Scott 9 5s red, 
Loop not completely closed, but still Type II?
Note the upper loop is not completely closed.Admittedly, since the loop is part of the embossed portrait, one might expect that that it might not exhibit perfection for the entire stamp run.

I strongly lean toward considering this a Type II.

The wreath is compatible with Type II, but I don't think it argues strongly for it.

And the nose and mouth seem a bit prominent, as one would expect with a Type II.

L-V 5s red T II - shape of lowest left corner ornament
Checking the Ferchenbauer catalogue, the 5s red Type II shows a red thick "three legged starfish draped on a rock" (I live in the Pacific NW!) ornament appearance in the far lowest left corner. This is found for Type II, while Type I has a different shape.

L-V 5s red T I - shape of lowest left corner ornament
(Image crop is from a T I stamp on internet- not my stamp)
In comparison, the far lowest left corner of a T I stamp for the L-V 5s red shows a red "four legged starfish draped on a rock". ;-)

Q.E.D. Type II. 

Lombardy-Venetia Scott 11 10s brown, Type II
This 10s brown is a Type II. CV is $20+.

Ferchenbauer also points out Type II has a lack of an upper serif on "1" (Type I has a serif), and the thickening of an upper section of "S" in SOLDI.

(The reader can tell I love Ferchenbauer. ;-)

Lombardy-Venetia Scott 12 15s blue, Type II
Nice stamp!

The 15s  blue Type II (I'm sure you agree with the type!) has a CV of $120+.

Note the "Venezia" (Venice) postmark.

L-V 15s blue - Type II
Frechenbauer says the T II 15s blues have a different corner ornament drawing design, compared to Type I.  I note horizontal convex lines in the upper corner ornament.

L-V 1858 Scott 12a 15s blue Type I
This stamp appears to be a Type I - open loops. The CV for a type I is $220+. !

Note the "Milano" postmark.for January 7th.

L-V 15s blue - Type I
Note the horizontal convex lines in the upper portion of the  corner ornament are squashed together.- in Type I. (Compare with Type II above nearby.) There are other differences as well.

Austria 1858 Scott 9a 5kr red, Type I
Out of the Blue
The largest surprise to me was that an open loop does not necessarily equate to Type I. ! Some "open loop" stamps turn out to be Type IIs. Certainly, a classical "3" shape to the loops is almost always Type I, but more minor (single) openings, such as the Austria 1859 Scott 7 3kr black I have, turned out to be Type II. !!

One needs to evaluate the whole stamp!

Note: The Franz Josef I portrait painting scan appears to be part of the public domain.
The "2" Kreuzer Type I/Type II graphic is from Michel, and used here for educational purposes.
The L-V 5s red T I image crop is from stampforgeries.com, and used with permission.

Comments appreciated!


  1. Another excellent post Jim, I am loving these detailed analyses you have undertaken.

    And congrats to the shoutout your blog received in Linn's recently, well deserved for all the hard work you do making this blog essential reading for collectors. Hopefully my little blog can follow in the very large footsteps you have left for others to follow :)

  2. Thanks Gene, and kudos to you for your own excellent posts!

    I do indeed enjoy the more specific blog posts that I can do now that the "main" goal of finishing the 400+ country posts for BB is done.