Austrian semi-postal printed on toilet paper in nod to ‘hamsterkauf’

Following in the footsteps of its past issues made from glass, porcelain, embroidered cloth, lederhosen-shaped leather and meteorite, the latest innovation from Austria’s national postal service features a unique pandemic theme.

On Oct. 30, Österreich Post will issue a semi-postal stamp printed in a souvenir sheet format – on toilet paper. The stamp and sheet share a design with a baby elephant used in Austrian advertisements to represent the space required for physical distancing.

“Just like our club, the Austrian post office wants to remind the public of the pandemic and the changes it brought to their daily lives,” says collector Peter Lepold, of Kelowna, B.C., who shared with CSN Austria’s new 5.50-euro semi-postal, which includes a 2.75-euro surcharge.

The stamp, a semi-postal, is treated with a foil allowing it to be used on mail.

“The idea of the design was a tongue-in-cheek reminder that the population made the ‘hamster’ purchases of toilet paper,” Lepold adds, referencing “hamsterkauf,” Austria slang for panic buying.

“The souvenir sheet is the size of a piece from a toilet roll. The actual stamp is just a portion of the sheet. Since the toilet paper is very thin, rips easy and is water soluble, the back of the sheet was treated with a foil that allows it to be affixed to a letter. It took several months of testing to develop a usable stamp.”

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