BIOGRAPHY: Herbert Toni Schimek

Herbert Toni Schimek was born in Vienna, Austria, on 22 March 1905. He was a pupil of the famous engraver Alfred Cossmann, and started engraving stamps in 1946.

One of his remarkable early engravings was that for a 1947 stamp marking the Telegraph Centenary. It was a tribute to the French engraver Claude Mellan (1598-1688), who innovated the art of copper engraving by developing the real line engraving, which has been so crucial to stamp engraving. Mellan was quite a virtuoso when it came to handling the burin and managed to create a portrait of Christ from a single spiralling line. By making the line thicker or thinner he created shadows and tonal varieties.

Schimek imitated this particular way of engraving on this particular 1947 stamp, although the globe on the stamp was not engraved with the use of just the one single line, which would have been impossible anyway because the progressive dies show that he engraved the ribbons around the globe first. Instead, the globe was engraved by ever larger circles, with the varying degrees of thickness creating the illustration on the globe.

This is, however, not the only reason why this stamp is special: on two stamps, Schimek engraved a bit of actual morse code on the ribbons. It reads ÖPT, which was short for Österreichische Post- und Telegraphenverwaltung. The two stamps can be found on positions 17 and 36 in every sheet. 

You will find Herbert Toni Schimek's database HERE.

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