The postage stamp issues of Austria began on June 1, 1850 with
a series of imperforate typographed stamps featuring the coat of arms. At first
they were printed on a rough hand-made paper, but after 1854 a smooth machine-made
paper was used instead. Issues between 1858 and 1861 used a profile of Emperor
Franz Josef, then switched back to the coat of arms, in an oval frame.
F. Josef profiles reappeared in 1867, as a side-effect of the establishment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (at this point Hungary began issuing its own stamps), and continued until 1907, with various changes, including a change of monetary system in 1899 - from 60 kreuzer to the gulden to 100 heller to the krone.
1899 also saw the appearance of varnish bars, as diagonal shiny yellowish strips applied to the stamp paper before printing, intended to prevent cleaning and reuse of stamps. The experiment was abandoned with the 1908 issue.
In 1908, Austria issued a series of large pictorial stamps to commemorate the 60th year of F. Josef's reign, depicting previous emperors, F. Josef at various ages, Schönbrunn Palace, and the Hofburg. The designs were reused in 1910 for a Birthday Jubilee issue celebrating Josef's 80th birthday, the dates "1830" and "1910" being added at top and bottom.
A series in 1916 depicted Franz Josef, the Austrian crown, and the coat of arms, and between 1917 and 1919 Emperor Charles I briefly made an appearance on stamps before the republic was established.