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Stamp News    August 2008

                              Philately of Epic Proportions 

The Eagle lands, in Vaucluse, no less.

This month we visit Austria, in our round-the-world quest to locate the highest franked ("record franking") postal articles addressed to Australasia. We're seeking-out articles from two distinct time-zones: pre-war to 1945, and post-war.

On this occasion, from Vienna, we have a parcel-wrapping portion, apparently inclusive of the philatelically essential elements. Firstly, the stamp franking appears to be complete, at a whopping 311 Schillings 2 Groschen. This is far and away the highest aggregate franking for a postal article of this era to Australasia that I've noted. The dominant franking is the appealing 20s Golden eagle (x15), from that superb airmail series of 1950-53, featuring birds. The address label is inscribed "Drucksache", so we know the package contained printed matter (from an Antiquarian Bookshop). The weight is conveniently shown as "7200g" (7.2 kgs).

The article was sent by registered airmail from Vienna on 1 November 1961, addressed to posh Vaucluse, Sydney, Australia. Sadly, I don't have an Austria rate table to tell readers the composition of this substantial franking. I assume printed matter had a concessional rate of postage, although this may not have applied if an article was sent by airmail. I have contemporary airmail covers to Australia rated 7s (5gms) and 11s (10gms), so reasonably assume the weight steps were 4s per 5gms? I

 have three questions, probably best directed to our Austria specialists:

1. Where do I get detailed Austria rate tables! (please)

2. Has any reader seen a higher franking to Australasia in the 1945-1960s era

3. For 20 years I've sought confirmation of the existence of the celebrated 1936 10s Dr Dollfuss stamp on any type of postal article to Australasia. Does such exist? I've seen the contemporary 1935 10s airmail on cover to Australia.

I'm pleased that a number of readers have taken the trouble to send me scans/photocopies of highly franked postal articles to Australia. Some have confused "highly franked", ie high aggregate postage rate, with "multi-franked", ie many stamps, not necessarily amounting to a significant aggregate postage rate. The latter category can be interesting, however it's not the within the scope of this column, which, repeat, is dedicated to the pursuit of the highest franked, or "record franking" to use the buzz-term, postal articles from overseas countries, addressed to Australasia. Keep up the search!

Rod Perry's other column, Woodchip-free Zone, appears in Stamp News. Rod invites owners of highly franked covers of the world to send scans of their items to him at rap@rap.com.au.