In 2004 Austria opened up its postal services to privately sponsored stamp designs. These stamps while basically of private design have to be approved by the postal authorities and they are still fully postally valid via Austria Post.
Amongst the first such private designs approved is the stamp at left with an Antarctic design by the well known Austrian artist Hartlieb. The stamp is a .55 cent value so another 70 cents is needed to make it sufficient for international postage.
AUSTRIA 1 2004 (June 8th) First Day of use from Vienna to Antarctic Base. Price US$8
At left is the reverse of the above envelope showing the redirection label and backstamping etc.
The envelope was originally addressed to Decepcion Island off the Antarctic Peninsula (Chile Territory) but has been re-addressed from there to New Zealand eventually arriving 19th August, 2004.
The envelope also has a nice Hundertwasser link with the Vienna meter and the Christchurch New Zealand Hundertwasser arrival marking.
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