Austria Post Marks Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union

Austria – 2020-01-31

Brexit” – the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) was slated to occur on March 29, 2019. From what we know, Austria Post planned to mark that date with a stamp depicting the EU, post Brexit, as shown in the stamp on the left. However March 29, 2019 came and went and the UK was still part of the EU.  Rather than destroy the current stamps and commission a reprint, Austria Post waited. So when the UK’s withdrawal was ratified in late January 2020, Austria Post overprinted the stock with the “31-1-2020” withdrawal date and issued the stamps on January 31, 2020. News of the issue quickly spread on the Internet and many media outlets reported the stamps. Linn’s reports the stock of 140,000 sold out quickly from the Austria Post online store and demand for the issue resulted in listings of US$10 or higher on online auction sites, such as Ebay.  The  €1.80 denominated issue features a dark blue map of current EU members with the UK being shown in light blue after the withdrawal. A very light yellow color fills the background areas, as well as the lines make up the borders of the member countries and countries who are not EU members, such as Norway, Switzerland, and others are simply depicted as empty space areas in the background color. The word “»Brexit«” and the two dates are shown immediately below the denomination, in the upper left corner, with the 2019 date overprinted by a single horizontal bar. “AUSTRIA” rotated 90 degrees with a left to right reading flow. Above the text is the EU 12 golden star circular logo.  It was noticed in the very lower left corner of the stamp a small blue patch is visible, and present on every stamp. Theories on the CPS members discussion list point to this patch possibly being the Portuguese autonomous island of Madeira. The map depicted on the stamp is quite detailed, with a number of other small islands clearly visible in both the Adriatic and Aegean seas. [ correction to update the sovereignty of Madeira — thanks Pierre! ]

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