For the past year or so the Austrian
State Printer has been printing certain stamps using a new method called Etch-Art.
Here is a quote from the Austria Post website.
The product „Etch-Art by OeSD" was developed by the Austrian State Printing Office. The term describes the method of steel engraving. Unlike in times past, the engraving is not worked into a steel plate by hand, but with laser technology. Just like in the case of combination printing, the stamp design is made by an artist, only that in Etch-Art, it is the stamp artist and not the engraver who determines the depth and the width as well as the line for the laser. The product "Etch-Art by OeSD" can be used in combination with offset or intaglio printing, resulting in perfectly designed combination stamps.
From what I can gather it's basically laser engraving without an engraver. Etch
is used in combination with offset and only a small section of the stamps is etch
It doesn't show up very clear in the scans but it is very obvious when holding the stamp
at an angle against the light. Also you can feel the raised portions but there are no indentations or impressions
on the back which is characteristic of recess engraving.
So goodbye engravers.
Austria Scott 2378
Here are a couple of examples.
The black lines of the coat,hat,bag, shoes and the black shadow are in Etch
the rest is offset print.
Austria Scott 2402