World Stamps

By Denise McCarty

Austrian stamp printed on porcelain; Dutch series features local ceramics

April 09, 2014 07:00 AM

  • Figure 1. The world’s first porcelain stamp was printed by the Austrian porcelain manufacturer Augarten and issued March 20. The stamp design features the company’s Viennese rose motif.

  • Figure 2. The Netherlands is featuring towns known for their ceramic production on a series of stamps issued this year. Products from Loosdrecht, which manufactured ceramics from 1774 to 1784, are pictured on this pane of five.

  • Figure 3. Ceramics have been produced in Tegelen since Roman times. This stamp in the Beautiful Netherlands Ceramic series shows the design from a 19th-century plate.

Austria issued the first stamp printed on porcelain March 20, but, according to Austrian Post, it is unbreakable.

The Viennese porcelain manufacturer Augarten printed the stamp by screen printing on porcelain.

According to Austrian Post, the porcelain was baked at 960 degrees Celsius for 24 hours, then glazed and hardened at an even higher temperature and thus made “unbreakable.” A total of 150,000 stamps were produced.

Figure 1 shows this €5.90 stamp (approximately US $8). The design depicts Augarten’s Viennese rose motif, and the stamp is part of Austria’s Classic Trademark series featuring local products.

Europe’s second oldest porcelain manufacturer, Augarten was founded in 1718. Its Vienna rose pattern was introduced more than two centuries later, in 1924.

In addition to the new porcelain stamp, Austria has issued embroidered stamps (Scott 2019, 2175 and 2278) and a stamp printed on the polyurethane foam material used to make soccer balls (2147), in addition to stamps with embedded crystals (1966 and 2161) and pieces of a meteorite (2042).

The Netherlands

In 2014, stamps in the Beautiful Netherlands series will feature towns that manufacture ceramics. According to a press release from the Netherlands’ PostNL, “ceramics — the collective noun for pottery, stoneware and porcelain — denotes objects that are made of fired clay.”

Introduced in 2005, the Beautiful Netherlands series has focused annually on Dutch local history and cultural wealth. The stamps in this series are printed in panes of five with additional illustrations in the selvage.

The first Beautiful Netherlands Ceramic stamps were issued Jan. 27. The panes feature products from the villages of Loosdrecht and Tegelen.

The second set of stamps, showcasing Harlingen and Makkum, were issued Feb. 24.

Ceramics from Delft will be featured on stamps to be issued May 19.

All of the stamps in the series are nondenominated, paying the domestic first-class rate. They were designed by Rutger Fuchs.

Figure 2 shows the Loosdrecht pane. Like the new Austrian porcelain stamp, this stamp features roses.

Fuchs said: “For the stamp itself, I searched for that one detail that is so characteristic of Loosdrecht porcelain. I found this in the beautiful depiction of the stem with roses and rosebuds. The Loosdrecht porcelain painters’ skill emerges clearly from this. They were talented artists who delivered beautiful work with subtle colour shading. It’s even more impressive if you consider that the effects only became visible after firing — they had to paint colour-blind, as it were.”

Motifs showing other flowers, along with birds, butterflies and buildings, are included in the selvage of the Loosdrecht pane.

The press release reported: “The stamp sheet background is replete with various items of Loosdrecht porcelain including plates, cups and saucers, draughts pieces, a teapot, terrines and a statue of a woman with child … ”

Ceramics were produced in Loosdrecht for only a short period, from 1774 to 1784. Tegelen, though, has a long history of ceramic production, dating back 2,000 years.

Figure 3 shows the stamp from the Tegelen pane. The image of a young man holding a birdcage in his right hand and a bird in his left is from a plate.

The Harlingen stamp depicts a sailing ship from an 1890 earthenware tile. Birds, a horse and fish are among the animals pictured in the selvage. The Makkum stamp features blue butterflies from a milk jug created in 2004.

Joh. Enschede printed 85,000 examples of each pane by offset.