Q37 April 2007  from member ESC 230

Peter Smith's book states that Austria was included in the concession rate scheme with Italy and the UK in 1908. The QC 207 December 2003 suggests the Austrian concession rate was effective 1 October 1907. Take your pick of either date but I have not come across a cover to Austria with the concession rate. All my covers to Austria have a 1 piastre letter rate for the first weight stage and 6 milliemes for the second weight stage (if required).

Has anyone seen a concession rate cover to Austria? If so, then a copy should be sent to the QC editor for publishing. Also, what is the authority for the concession rate included in the publications mentioned above?
R1  June 26, 2007.  member ESC 74

Austrian participation in the reduced-rate agreement of 1907. For many years I harboured doubts that the agreement with Austria had actually been activated, until I found several covers in 1998. Where did I find them? In Vienna, not surprisingly.

An ordinary cover and a registered cover are shown in dated January , 1914, and December, 1913, respectively. Covers franked with the 5 mills. of the 1914 issue should be especially scarce, for Austria entered World War I later in 1914, and correspondence would have been cut off.

In-going covers showing the reduced rate from Austria to Egypt should also exist, but I have not seen any. Such covers would probably be franked with the 10 heller rose (instead of the 25 heller blue). Examples may be lying unrecognized in dealers' stocks!

Member 230 states that he had encountered only covers with the UPU rate of 10 mills., all of which were dated before 1912. The number of such covers and the origins (many are from banks) strongly suggests that the reduced rate of 5 mills. was not in effect when these covers were sent. They cannot simply be cases of the sender being unaware that a special rate was available. Nevertheless, it has been stated that the reduced rate to Austria came into effect in 1908. A hypothesis that could explain the inconsistency is that whereas negotiations between Egypt and Austria may have begun in 1908, the eventually effective date may have been as late as January, 1912 (all of my covers with the 5-mill. rate are dated between1912 and 1914). As for documentation, I have notes made from the 1914 Postal Guide, in which it is recorded that the reduced rate was at that time in force, and applied to Great Britain and most of the British Empire, Italy and colonies (including Tripolitania, Eritrea, and Italian Somaliland (Benadir). I have never seen a cover with the reduced rate to any Italian colony; they must be quite rare, as the quantity of mail from Egypt to them was small.

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