WIPA 1933 - Cinderellas, Post Cards, and Postal Stationery

Wiener Internationale Postwertzeichen Ausstellung 1933

Vienna International Philatelic Exhibition of 1933

June 24 through July 9, 1933


Official WIPA 1933 show emblem

According to a history of the event published for WIPA 2000, there have been five WIPA's - 1881, 1933, 1965, 1981, and 2000. Other international philatelic shows were held also in Vienna in 1885, 1890, 1894, 1911, and 1923, with various names. All have been landmark philatelic exhibitions, not just in Austria, but in the philatelic world as a whole.

For the Cinderella collector, WIPA 1933 is the most famous of these events, a show that generated an unequalled quantity and quality of Cinderella material, creating fascinating and rewarding opportunities for collectors ever since.


Philatelic Exhibition Seals - WIPA 1933

History of Mail Transport
block of all ten designs

FLASH - a visitor to this site has sent me an image of a full sheet of the transport stamps, a tremendous find! See image below.

I first encountered the WIPA 1933 Philatelic Exhibition Seals about 1996, in my pursuit of train cinderellas. I love sets with multiple designs and colors, so I was immediately intrigued by the set shown above, of ten seals created as advance publicity for WIPA 1933, designed by Ludwig Hesshaimer, and printed by Rosenbaum Brothers (renowned Viennese printers of books, posters and postage stamps). With their ten beautiful designs depicting the history of mail transport (one with a great train), and twenty different colors (two printings of ten colors each), these Cinderellas were irresistible. I was told there were other souvenir stamps from the event as well, but had no interest in pursuing them at that time - no trains.

Over the years since, I slowly acquired more of the colors, and blocks of 4, 6, and 10 of the history of mail transport designs. I also ran across the designs on postal stationery, and picked up such pieces as I could afford. Once I started buying on eBay, my collection grew faster, as I found WIPA 1933 items there regularly.

In 2001 I hit the jackpot. My periodic search on eBay for "WIPA" turned up a large lot containing examples of all the different WIPA 1933 cinderellas, in most of the colors, and with multiples I had never seen before. The minimum bid for the lot was $99, and I put in a bid for several times that, expecting the lot would sell for even more. I was shocked and delighted when I won the lot at the opening bid. Most of the WIPA 1933 material I am displaying here came from that one purchase.

Acquiring so much has merely whetted my appetite for more, of course. I started looking at the postal stationery, and found that there are both postal cards (preprinted indicium) and simple post cards (no preprinted stamp) with the history of transport designs, and some have text in French, while others have it in German. I thought at first that all the designs might exist in both languages, but have seen enough examples now to be fairly sure that is not the case, and there are only ten designs. I have one envelope as well, and have seen enough others to be fairly sure they were produced with all ten designs, and with at least one pre-printed indicium, 24g, gray.

The folder for WIPA 2000 says the 1933 event was held in three venues - Secession Hall, Artists House, and Military Casino. The cancels (and Registration labels) I have seen say "Sezession", "Künstlerhaus", and "Kongresshaus", so either "Military Casino" is a mistake, or it was dubbed "Kongresshaus" for the event - perhaps that was the primary venue.

Below is a display of the WIPA 1933 material I have acquired thus far, plus a few related items.

History of Mail Tansport

Poster Stamps

Official description - "Vom Postläufer zur Postrakete" or "From the post office runner to the post office rocket"


Philatelic Exhibition
Seals - WIPA 1933

History of Mail Transport
5 of the colors, blocks of 2

Philatelic Exhibition
Seals - WIPA 1933

History of Mail Transport (train)
All 20 colors

Philatelic Exhibition
Seals - WIPA 1933

History of Mail Transport
"Proofs" in original colors
(signed by Hesshaimer!)
These are presumably the imperfs
mentioned in the third Prospectus.

The History of Mail Transport seals were issued in advance of the show, as publicity. They were so popular that their initial printing was exhausted quickly, and they had to be reprinted. Probably because it was felt that collectors would enjoy having even more colors, the reprints were done with different colors from the originals. (This is not mere theory - this excerpt from the 3rd Prospectus of December, 1932 confirms it (and names the colors, for whatever that's worth), as does the folder for WIPA 2000.) As far as I can tell, the two printings are equally plentiful. The colors are quite distinct, once you have examples, but I don't think you could match a stamp to my scans, as the characteristics of my scanner combined with the idiosyncracies of your monitor or printer introduce too much distortion.


Philatelic Exhibition
Seals - WIPA 1933

History of Mail Transport
Colors of 1st Printing

Philatelic Exhibition
Seals - WIPA 1933

History of Mail Transport
Colors of 2nd Printing

(Scans courtesy of Roger Riga)

October 16, 2006 - Peter Sanders, a collector from Schijndel, Netherlands, wrote to say he owns COMPLETE SHEETS OF THE SECOND PRINTING OF THESE WIPA 1933 POSTER STAMPS! In response to my eager request, he sent an image of one, shown here. I knew there had to be at least four blocks of ten to a sheet, since I had small multiples that told me that, and had always wondered if a full sheet even survived to show what the printing format had been. Now we know. Many thanks to Peter for sharing this with us. (See below, another image he sent, of the Stephansdom stamps.)


Full sheet of Philatelic Exhibition
Seals - WIPA 1933

History of Mail Transport

Below is an image from an eBay auction, showing a set of ten of the transport stamps with a 1933 WIPA glassine envelope, implying that this is how the sets were distributed to attendees.

Note that the colors of this set are the same as the colors in the scan labelled "Colors of 2nd Printing" above - the first printing had run out by the time of the Exhibition, so all the Transport Stamps distributed at the show were from the second printing. This helps confirm that the assignment shown of colors to 1st and 2nd printings are correct. Note also that the stamps in the scan near the top of the page - "Proofs" in original colors - match the colors of the scan labelled "Colors of 1st Printing" - and this too makes sense, as the proofs were done for the first printing.


Transport stamps with original envelope

6/29/08 - I recently acquired a cover with one of the WIPA HoMT labels tied by January, 1932 postmarks! That seemed too early, but I bought it anyway. See images of the cover below, and CLICK HERE for a full page of discussion and debate about it.


(Click on image for hi-res version)

2/08/10 - WIPA collector Steve Schweighofer sent me these images of a cover with a WIPA '33 HoMT label, and postmarked November 14, 1931. The label is not tied, but there is no reason to suspect it was added later. And Steve writes "According to literature I have, the first labels were available as early as October 1931." , which helps confirm that this usage is completely authentic.


(Click on image for hi-res version)

Postal Stationery

The WIPA postal stationery was apparently PTPO (Printed to Private Order), a fairly common practice at the time - businesses and events had their designs added to official postal stationery. As is common with international philatelic shows, each day was connected with a specific theme or event, nine of which were commemorated with these cards. The tenth (the train) is actually dated the day before the show started. I have seen multiple examples of all ten of the History of Mail Transport designs on these cards, and the inscription with each design is always the same, so I do not think other combinations of language/image/theme/date exist. However, I have seen many different combinations of image and postal indicia on the postal cards, so there would seem to be many varieties of those. Envelopes are much scarcer than cards. I assume there were items of some other type issued for the other seven days of the show, but have not seen any, so I may be wrong.


Postal Card
WIPA 1933

Train - June 23
French text
2nd Congress
of European Stamp Dealers

Post Card
WIPA 1933

Mail Carrier - June 25
French text
2nd International Congress
of Philatelic Workers (?)

Post Card
WIPA 1933

Airplane - June 26
French text
2nd International Congress
of Aero-Philatelists

Post Card
WIPA 1933

Rocket - June 29
German text
Austrian Philatelists Day

Post Card
WIPA 1933

Post Rider - July 1
German text
Alliance Day
of German Philatelists Union

Post Card
WIPA 1933

Zeppelin - July 2
German text
German Philatelists Day

Post Card
WIPA 1933

Sailing ship - July 3
French text
4th International Congress
of the Philatelic Press

Postal Card
WIPA 1933

Modern ship - July 4
French text
International Congress
of Collectors of Postal Entires
 
Post Card
WIPA 1933

Auto - July 6
French text
8th Congress of the FIP
(International Philatelic Federation)

Post Card
WIPA 1933

Mail Coach
text in all three languages
undated (start and end dates with French text)
 

I have accumulated images of WIPA postal cards with TWENTY-THREE DIFFERENT combinations of preprinted postal indicia (nineteen of which are shown below). This is an astonishing number, and strange as it seems today, suggests to me that the indicia were printed on the cards, on demand, at the show. Further supporting this theory is the irregular placement of the indicia - some are even crooked. And the Austrian State Printing Works did have printing facilities at the show.


Post Cards
WIPA 1933

Nineteen different combinations of postal indicia!

8/23/2008 - Herb Trenchard wrote to confirm my deduction about the preprinted postal indicia on the WIPA 33 stationery.

Here is his explanation of how it worked:

The PO arranged for 8 special stamps to be applied at the show. There were 4 regular (12, 24, 40, and 50 Gr) and 4 airmail denominations (10, 15, 30, 50). On a given day, only one could be applied.

Each of the eight was applied on two days-over a period of 16 show days, but they could only be applied to the special cards and envelopes sold by WIPA - i.e., the ones with one of the 10 "Runner to Rocket" cachets, all printed in color green. The PO then allowed up to 3 impressions of the stamp of the day to be applied.

You could bring your already stamped card or cover back on another day and add 1 or 2 impressions of the stamp of that day. The PO would only add new impressions UP TO A TOTAL OF 3 per item!

The WIPA and PO don't record how many items were serviced. But they record how many of each impression was applied. The grand total was 32,142.

The PO arrangement at WIPA 33 was a first and never repeated again.

 

Souvenir Cancels and Registration Labels


Cinderellas
WIPA 1933

Special cancels
on back of Merkure sheet
There were three special
cancels per day of the
show, one for each of
the three venues.

Envelope
WIPA 1933

Rocket design
plus HOMT label
overprinted for later show
 
Envelope
WIPA 1933

show emblem

Cinderellas
WIPA 1933

Miscellaneous souvenirs and cancels

Registration Label
WIPA 1933
Sezession

Registration Label
WIPA 1933
Künstlerhaus

Registration Label
WIPA 1933
Kongresshaus
 

The WIPA 2000 folder I own says there were three special Registration labels created for WIPA 1933, a great honor at the time. These etiquettes were a popular collecting specialty then, since they were carefully controlled by the postal authorities, and were printed specifically for each town. This may have been the first time any had been created for a philatelic event.

 

Mercury Labels
All nine colors


Cinderellas
WIPA 1933

Half-sheets of Mercury labels

Cinderellas
WIPA 1933

Half-sheets of Mercury labels

Cinderellas
WIPA 1933

Half-sheets of Mercury labels

Cinderellas
WIPA 1933

Full sheet of Mercury labels
These labels are reprints of the first Austrian newspaper stamps, issued in 1851. The original dies were used to create new dies with "WIPA 1933" in place of "K.K. Zeitungs Post Stampel", from which plates of 16 entries were produced. The plates were used on presses installed at the show to print these sheets for distribution to attendees. Nine different colors were used, all of which are shown above.

St. Stephens Cathedral Labels


Cinderellas
WIPA 1933

Vienna labels - English text

Cinderellas
WIPA 1933

Vienna labels - German text

Cinderellas
WIPA 1933

Vienna labels - French text

These labels are the WIPA 1933 items I know least about. The building depicted is St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna (Stephansdom). The three images above show a complete collection, ten colors in three languages - German, French, and English. According to this excerpt from the 3rd Prospectus of December, 1932 they were created "to satisfy demand for propaganda labels with wording in English and French," and were available prior to the show. Their design was by Ludwig Hesshaimer, who designed the transport labels as well. They were engraved by A. Schuricht (about whom I have been unable to learn anything), and printed by the Austrian Government Printing Works.

October 16, 2006 - Peter Sanders, a collector from Schijndel, Netherlands, sent the scan below, of a large multiple of the Stephansdom labels, demonstrating that all three languages were printed on the same sheet! Since there is no selvedge, it is impossible to say from this example what a full sheet looked like, but my guess is that is was 12 wide by ten high, so what we see here is a half sheet.


St. Stephens Cathedral Seals
WIPA 1933

And here's an image I found on eBay, of a set of singles (English text) with the envelope apparently used to distribute them.


St. Stephens Cathedral Seals
WIPA 1933

 

Publicity cards and tickets

Advance publicity postcards in French, German and English, and many colors

2/8/10 - Steve Schweighofer sent me this excerpt from the 3rd Prospectus, December, 1932
which advertises the cards above, and reveals that they were available either plain, or with preprinted indicium of 3, 5, or 12 gr.

Also from eBay, a ticket booklet.


Day ticket booklet
WIPA 1933

 

Transport Seals: later uses, and reprints


Philatelic Exhibition
Seals - WIPA 1933

History of Mail Transport
Overprint for Fund-raising drive
Verband Österreichischer Philatelisten
Vereine Verbandsheimspende

Transport seals overprinted for later events

 

Souvenir Sheet
WIPA 1981

Reprints of transport seals
(Perf and Imperf)


Cinderellas
WIPA 1933

I bought these on eBay, described as "Reproductions".
They are crudely printed, by offset (not engraved, like the originals),
and on cheap paper, clearly NOT from either of the original printings
or plates (the original sheets contained at least 4 blocks each).
Are they counterfeits, or tributes?

 

Ludwig Hesshaimer (1872-1956)

was a prolific Austrian commerical artist who specialized in woodblock prints and engravings, produced paintings, drawings, and book illustrations, but always preferred to design postage stamps, for which he developed early in his youth a lifelong passion. During his long career he designed stamps for Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Colombia, as well as many related items such as the labels he created for the WIPA shows.

Click here to access my web page about the 1936-1951 Poster Stamp Bulletin of the National Poster Stamp Society.


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Created -- 06/15/2002
Revised -- 08/28/2011