Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Austrian Mail Coach

The Austrian minisheet portrays a mail coach. It was issued on 12 September 2008.

A landauer coach with folding roof from the property of the Schwarzenbergs and later Wallensteins (built in the first third of the 19th century by London-based firms Barker&Co. and Thrupp) and a Berlingot coupé used by Austrian Emperor Ferdinand I during his long-time stay at Prague following his abdication in 1848 are the highlights of the sub-collection. An 1860 coach from Žamberk built to carry both passengers and mail or a classic mail coach built in Milano some ten years later belong to the typical postal vehicles. Some of the preserved parcel cars were used by the Austrian Post as early as around 1900; the next-generation cars were produced in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s.

The sub-collection also includes a separate set of several types of sleighs. The large horse-drawn postal sleigh, originally also from Žamberk, was built to carry both mail and passengers; the hand sled, used by the Bakov nad Jizerou post office to carry mail, was built in the 1930s and represents the most common type of sleighs, particularly in mountainous regions. The seahorse-shaped sled, cut from a single piece of wood, represents the type of leisure sleighs. Further materials held in this sub-collection include horse gear (e.g. an 18th-century ceremonial breast plate and harness for a team of four horses) and smaller things, such as coach lanterns, traveller luggage and models of horse-drawn cars and postal buses. My friend Anita from Austria sent this minisheet.

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