UNOstamps comments


Although this is not a day to day web log, these comments contain an insight of my work on the website and my collection.



UNOstamps comment - 31 January 2011 - Slow but certain


USSR stamp - International Labour Exhibition in Turin, 1961Time is scarce. I notice that every week. Four days per week by boss expects me in the office and in the rest of the time I have to combine six voluntary jobs and my hobbies. The last few months I bought over 250 new series and souvenir sheets for my UN collection and I still haven't put them in the albums.


USSR stamp - International Labour Exhibition in Turin, 1961And then there is this website. A lot of people manage to find it every week so I hope it gives them the information they need. And maybe it helps them understand the important work the UN and all related organizations do every day. Also I hope the website functions as some sort of historical overview of what the UN has done and still does.


Still there is a long way to go. Not only revising 77 countries and territories and dozens of subject pages, but also adding new ones to the website. It's going to be a lengthy process and I hope that you, the visitors, stay with me and keep supporting me.


The recently revised pages are:


person 003:                   Nehru, Jawaharlal

subject 004:                  International Co-operation Year / UNO 20th anniversary

subject 023:                  The World United Against Malaria

subject 024:                  Atoms for Peace

subject 026:                  World Health Day

subject 027:                  Universal Declaration of Human Rights 15th anniversary

subject 029:                  ITU Centenary

subject 031:                  2nd International Oceanographic Congress, Moscow

subject 032:                  International Hydrological Decade

subject 180:                  WHO Collaborating Centres




UNOstamps comment - 16 September 2010 - Work in progress


Bophuthatswana - special postmark CAPEX 78Since I am trying to revise a very large country at the moment, this is more of a provisional comment. Needless to say there are a lot of pages to restyle and revise now. Almost as many as I had to write originally. So this comment doesn't really count. I did find two sets of stamps that I decided to include. They were not here before. The first one is for the Second International Polar Year 1932-1933. I include them now because this year was organized by the International Meteorological Organization (the predecessor of WMO). The second is for the International Labour Exhibition in Turin, 1961. This exhibition was organized in cooperation with the ILO.


Also I added my first special postmark. Actually it is not the first one I have, because I have several shoe boxes full of envelopes and cards with some special cancellation. I'll just add what I find to the website and we'll see where it ends.


The revised and new pages are:


person 001:                   Vuchetich, Yevgeny

person 002:                   Lumumba, Patrice

subject 011:                  UPU Administrative Conference on Air Mail, The Hague

subject 012:                  Tehran Conference

subject 017:                  Universal Declaration of Human Rights 10th anniversary

subject 018:                  Artwork at the United Nations

subject 019:                  Let us beat swords into ploughshares

subject 020:                  World Forestry Congress

subject 021:                  5th World Forestry Congress, Seattle

subject 190:                  CAPEX 78

subject 246:                  Second International Polar Year




UNOstamps comment - 1 September 2010 - Over the Eastern border


Germany - stamp UPU 50th anniversaryRevising old pages is a lot easier than making new ones. Still one day I should start adding new countries to the website. There are more than 300 countries and territories on my list, and I have only managed to make pages of 86 of them. And as most of them are 'small' countries with only one or two series in the stamp catalogue, the real work has still to begin. However, today I can present six revised countries that are (or were) east of the Netherlands. And this makes 8 out of 86 countries completely new and improved.


These six are small countries (in UNOstamps terms) and all of them have disappeared over the years. You could say that present day Germany is almost the same as the old Weimar Republic, but in my list they are two different countries. The stamp issues of these countries also rise the question if stamps that were issued in honour of organizations in a pre-UN era can be counted as UN-related stamps. I know a lot of people start collecting UPU stamps only after UPU joined the UN as a specialized agency. In my collection every UPU stamp counts, so you will find stamps from 1924 on the website.


So if you want to collect them, make use of the information I present on the website. If you don't want to collect them, just ignore them. Newly added to the collection is a first day cover from Saarland.


The revised pages are:


country 012:                  Germany

country 013:                  Germany (Allied occupation)

country 016:                  Baden

country 017:                  Württemberg-Hohenzollern

country 018:                  Rhineland-Palatinate

country 051:                  Saarland

subject 013:                  Universal Postal Union

subject 014:                  UPU 75th anniversary

subject 015:                  International Letter Writing Week

subject 035:                  International Labour Organization

subject 129:                  UPU 50th anniversary




UNOstamps comment - 26 August 2010 - A new discovery in Southern Africa


Bophuthatswana - stamp First powered flight 75th anniversaryCountry number two out of 86 is now revised and online for all visitors. It is the former homeland and 'independent' republic Bophuthatswana, one of four homelands that were declared independent countries between 1976 and 1981 by the South African government. Although not recognized by the international community, their stamps were accepted as valid on international mail. Both Bophuthatswana and Ciskei issued UN-related stamps for international years and campaigns.


I thought back in 2008 that I studied the stamps very thoroughly and the webpage was correct. But when I looked at the catalogue again and found more stamp images on internet I discovered that I overlooked one issue all this time. In 1978 Bophuthatswana, as did many other countries, issued stamps for the 75th anniversary of the first powered flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright. And what I saw was unbelievable: on the right of each stamp was the full name of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This is not mentioned in the leading stamp catalogues. And the images in the catalogues are too small to distinguish the text on the stamps anyway. I have bought the stamps immediately and they are already in my album, next to the issues of Cyprus and Egypt.


As an extra 'service' I have put on the website a first day cover, a first day sheet and two first day cards from Bophuthatswana. They can be seen by clicking on the links above the corresponding stamps on the Bophuthatswana country page. My plan is to gradually add my fdc collection to the website. I have hundreds of envelopes with special postmarks and really have no idea what is in my collection at the moment.


Also new is a page with the names of the stamp designers. At the moment there are only the designers of the Bophuthatswana and Republic of Moldova stamps, but the list will grow as I revise more countries.


The revised and new pages are:


country 058:                  Bophuthatswana

catalogue 005:               Stamp designers

subject 048:                  International Year of the Child

subject 056:                  International Year of Disabled Persons

subject 106:                  World Health Day 1978 - Down with high blood pressure

subject 245:                  First powered flight 75th anniversary




UNOstamps comment - 15 August 2010 - One down, 85 to go


republic_of_moldova_045.jpgThe first country has been updated. It is the Republic of Moldova that has the honour of being the first of 86 countries to be fitted out with new scans, corrected links and extra information. Not only I have refreshed old data, but I have added new. For instance with every issue I have included the sheet size. And I have added new images of stamps I recently bought, like the Human Rights 60 issue and the imperforated booklet for the International Year of Astronomy.


Also I have discovered a 'new' stamp issue that wasn't included before. Apparently the stamps with children's drawings of 5 October 2002 were issued for World Post Day. The drawings were the winners of a special contest for that day. Since I can't stand missing any stamp in my collection, I have searched the internet for them. I found them with a dealer in Lithuania and they are on their way. As soon as they arrive the stamp images will be on the website.


Apart from the country page I have updated all pages that relate to the Moldovan stamps. This means that 15 subject pages and 1 person page are now revised. All links have been checked and new information has been added.


Here is a list of all pages revised:


country 006:                  Republic of Moldova

person 019:                   Heinrich von Stephan

subject 001:                  United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations

subject 002:                  International Year of the Family

subject 007:                  UNO 50th anniversary

subject 009:                  World Post Day

subject 095:                  Membership of the United Nations

subject 096:                  Membership of the Universal Postal Union

subject 097:                  UPU 125th anniversary

subject 098:                  Universal Declaration of Human Rights 50th anniversary

subject 100:                  World Teachers' Day

subject 101:                  World Summit on the Information Society

subject 103:                  UNHCR 50th anniversary

subject 155:                  United Nations Headquarters

subject 183:                  Emblem and flag of the United Nations

subject 231:                  Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60th anniversary

subject 237:                  International Year of Astronomy




UNOstamps comment - 1 August 2010 - I'm back!


Andorra (Fr) - stamp International Year of Peace 1986As most of my visitors have noticed, I didn't add anything to the UNOstamps website since 3 April. The reason is simple yet very frustrating. On Good Friday my computer crashed. I lost all the scans I made of my stamps. I lost most of the photos I took. I lost loads and loads of images and documents.


Fortunately I had made backups of some of my documents and photos, so not all is lost. So what happens next? I'll have to scan everything again. During this process I will revise all the country and subject pages. I'll check the information given (is it still accurate?) and the external links (do they still work?).


In a few months I will be back with new countries and subjects. This doesn't mean that there won't be anything new to see. I have bought new stamps and sheets from Aitutaki, Austria, Moldova, Belgium, as well as hundreds of series and sheets from countries all over the world.


Again, my apologies for the inactivity during the last few months, but UNOstamps is back and will be even better than before!




UNOstamps comment - 30 March 2010 - Time flies


Michel UNO-Special-Katalog 2010It has been three months since I wrote my last comment and worked on the website. The last few days I did some work on it and I hope to continue on a regular basis. This won’t be easy because of all the other things I have to do in my work and my other functions. Well, at least there is some new information for the visitors: four new stamp catalogues I bought recently and the data for two new stamps from Austria. There are no images yet, but I hope to buy them soon.


The next few days I will add new stamps from the Republic of Moldova, including the recent ones for the International Year of Astronomy. For this same Year I also bought the stamps from Netherlands Antilles. There is also a lot of work that doesn't show immediately. As I wrote in July (Smaller is better) I got the advice to use a smaller letter. And I did. All the pages in the 'Persons' catalogue have been changed now. Also all external links have been checked and corrected. Next phase is to restyle all the subject pages. Some have already been done (like World Heritage).


Antverpia 2010 franking labelWhat else is there to tell? I didn’t make it to the local council. My party however, got one seat (out of 37) and we are now working to establish a real political presence in our municipality. Furthermore in May we celebrate 65 years of the end of the Second World War, and I am preparing the traditional exhibition on local history from 1940 to 1945. The official opening is scheduled at 1 May 2010. There is still a lot of work to do. This and my other activities fill up my agenda almost every evening and weekend.


Is there time for fun? Yes. Apart from the visit to the pub on Thursday, I am planning to visit the Belgian stamp exhibition Antverpia 2010 next week. Unfortunately the railways chose exactly this weekend to carry out works on the railways between Roosendaal and Antwerp. I have to figure out how to get there. Maybe on Friday or find someone who wants to go by car on Saturday. We will see.




UNOstamps comment - 31 December 2009 - And now the end is near IV


Comoros - stamp UN Membership 1st anniversary 1976For the fourth time I can write a comment with this title (see also 2006, 2007 and 2008). At this last day of the year I can look back on a year that was not that much different from 2008.


The UNOstamps website only grew slightly with 7 countries, 9 subjects, 9 persons, and a lot of new stamp images. Also added were philatelic books and magazines and stamp catalogues. There were 5 newsletters and only 10 comments (including this one).


I didn't have much time to spend on my website in 2009. I did however spend a lot of time (and money) on my stamp collection. I bought hundreds of new stamps and souvenir sheets from all over the world. A lot of them were for the International Year of Astronomy. Last week I received the new stamps (or are they?) from South Ossetia and Mountainous Karabakh. I don't think these territories have made it to the catalogues yet.


D66 Westland candidates for the local elections 2010As you have read in the comments below, this year saw the publication of my latest book. Also I made a photo exhibition (which can be seen again this month), wrote several press releases, had numerous meetings and went to work four days a week. And at the end of the summer we started the preparations for the upcoming local elections on 3 March 2010. We wrote an election manifesto and had a photo shoot. You can see us standing in the flowers.


What can we expect this year? The local elections of course, and maybe I end up being a local council member. In May we commemorate 65 years of liberation, the end of the Second World War. For this I have to make another exhibition. And in October we host the 14th ILGA-Europe conference in The Hague. The work for this has only just started.


As you can see a busy year. I hope to add new items, countries and other pages to the website regularly. But I can't promise that there will be daily updates.


I wish all visitors of this website all the best for the coming year.




UNOstamps comment - 25 October 2009 - Long time, no see


Photo exhibition in Wateringen library October 2009I realise that it has been some time since I updated my website. These months fly away when you are not careful. If I didn't do anything on my own website, what did I do? Well September and October are very busy months. For the local historical society I prepared a small photo exhibition in the local library with recently discovered photos from the summer of 1945. The exhibition is part of the National History Week (Week van de Geschiedenis). Also we took part in National Monument Day (Open Monumentendag), National Archive Day (Landelijke Archievendag) and I gave a presentation on the history of one of my town's neighbourhoods, built from 1946.


Our local party is already preparing for the local elections on 3 March 2010. At the moment we don't have any seats on the local council, but we hope to regain some. I am number 3 on the list, so it is going to be a close call. We have a new website and a special web log to give information to potential voters.


ILGA-Europe conference 2009 emblemMy stamp collection has been growing over the last few weeks. Through the internet I bought stamps from Venezuela, Uruguay, Afghanistan, and a number of countries from North Africa and the Middle East. From Bangladesh I received the latest stamps and the Philatelic Bureau of Papua New Guinea has issued stamps for the International Non-Violence Day. You can see them on the website very soon.


Tuesday I'm flying to Malta for the annual ILGA-Europe conference. Last year I was in Vienna and wrote the Vienna Comments. I hope the hotel in Malta has a good internet connection so I can give you a daily update in the Malta Comments.




UNOstamps comment - 26 July 2009 - Smaller is better


Gibraltar StampsI hope the title of this comment gets your attention, but first something completely different. The Gibraltar Philatelic Service offers webmasters of philatelic non-profit websites a chance to earn some pocket money. On the left is a link to their stamp shop where you can buy the latest Gibraltar stamps. For every purchase someone makes after following this link, Gibraltar makes a donation to the UNOstamps website. Click, buy and support UNOstamps.


Some time ago I received an Award for my website. The award giver gave me this advice: "Use a somewhat smaller letter and you will have a lot more breathing space". At first I didn't take to much notice, but recently I found out that he was right.


Bangladesh - stamp International Year of Sanitation 208I have always used two letter sizes for the pages on my website: small (like this one) and large. The large letter is used on the subject and person pages. The next few months I will gradually change all these pages to a smaller letter. The pages with the subject and person catalogues, the Newsletter and the links have already been changed.


Please let me know what you think about this change by sending me an e-mail or writing something in the guestbook. And while you are here, check the new stamp images from Bangladesh that I added to the site.




UNOstamps comment - 11 July 2009 - A never ending story


Bangladesh - stamp Sir Rowland Hill 1979How could I have missed that? That was the first thing I thought (well, in Dutch anyway) when I saw this stamp from Bangladesh. It has a reprint of one of the stamps issued in 1974 for the 100th anniversary of the UPU. Some time ago I decided that I would include these kind of reprints in the UNOstamps collection.


There is always a risk that I missed a stamp issue. Sometimes I just didn't realize that a stamp issue has a UN connection. And sometimes it is not clearly described in the stamp catalogues. For example: the Michel catalogues never tell you what there is to be seen on a souvenir sheet apart from the stamp(s) in it. This means that, for example, the sheets you will see on this site from Solomon Islands, Alderney and Ross Dependency are not described in the catalogues as an issue for an International Year, but for another reason.


Benin - stamp World Communications Year 1983I have also discovered a stamp from Benin from 1983 that has the emblem for the World Communications Year on it. When I studied Benin back in 2006 I didn't notice it. The coming weeks I shall look at the countries I added to the website in 2006 to see what else I may have missed. So I not only have to look at the stamps that are newly issued, but also be looking for something I might have missed in the past. A never ending story indeed.


As you might have seen there are a lot of new pages on the website. Since the last Newsletter I have added some 25 countries, persons, subjects, stamps etc. Also I have checked almost all external links on the country and subject pages. It is something I do at least once every year and every time a lot of links have changed. I hope everything is functioning normal now. If not, please e-mail me (


To conclude this comment, I have checked my website on several other computers and what I saw was quite disturbing. Sometimes my website does not appear the same way as it does on my own computer. There are horizontal scrolls at the bottom of the screen, there is a different letter type (it should be Trebuchet MS) and images are in the wrong place. Today I have downloaded the latest version of Explorer (IE 8) and when I looked at my website with this new programme everything was out of place. Then IE asked me to install something, and when I accepted my website was back to its original self.


As I can't see what my visitors are seeing, I ask everyone who thinks that something is wrong to send me a screenshot by e-mail ( so we can sort out the problem together.


Well, this has been a lot of text in this warm summer. Enjoy your visit(s) to the website and please leave a message in the Guestbook or write something for the Newsletter. Remember that 30 July is the final date to send in your answer to the quiz. Good luck!




UNOstamps comment - 8 June 2009 - May I have your votes please?


European Elections logoIt has just been midnight in the Netherlands when I write this comment. All over Europe votes are being counted for the largest trans-national elections in the world. While most of Europe voted today (Sunday), we voted last Thursday. Since we are a protestant country, we never vote on Sunday. While watching television I have been busy updating some pages on my website and checking external links to see if everything still works. I do this every six months, so my visitors will not reach a dead end.


Sierra Leone - stamp for International Youth Year 1985Have I done any work on my collection the last few days. Well yes. I am still working on putting all my new stamps that I bought in Essen in the right place. Also this enormous flood of Astronomy-stamps keeps me busy. I am trying to find all of the series issued by the Posteurope countries (the Europa stamps). By now I have bought the stamps and sheets from Ireland, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Austria, Faroe Islands, Belgium, all through the websites of their philatelic services.


Also I wrote two articles for the magazine of the Dutch UN-UE stamp collectors club. When the new magazine is issued, I will put both articles on the website. They are of course in Dutch, but maybe it is a reason to study this beautiful language. One article is about the presentation of the new Dutch stamps on Astronomy and the other is about the way we look at the stamps in our collection. Or more how we not look at the stamps. A lot of stamps have a lot of small details on them that most collectors hardly notice.


This week I'll be working on the new edition of the Newsletter. And I hope to add some more stamps to the website. Please visit the site regularly to see what has changed. And  of course you are invited to sign the UNOstamps Guestbook.




UNOstamps comment - 10 May 2009 - Bringing chaos to order


UNPA at Briefmarkenmesse Essen (Germany), 7 May 2009I have arranged all my UN related stamps very neatly. First by subject and then in alphabetical order (from Abu Dhabi to Zimbabwe). Lots and lots of stamps side by side in my albums. But... last Thursday I went to the Briefmarkenmesse in Essen and I bought a lot of new and old stamps. This means that almost everything has to be rearranged. Especially the older categories where I bought stamps from Antigua, Bahamas, Barbuda and Cayman Islands.


The Briefmarkenmesse itself was very crowded. Credit crisis? What credit crisis? People were spending money everywhere. And I also spent too much this time. A problem is that this year's Europa stamps have the theme International Year of Astronomy. So that means that more than 50 countries are issuing stamps and booklets and small sheets and souvenir sheets and... and... and... I get the impression that a lot of countries are just looking for a lot of euros at the cost of the poor stamp collector.


Barbuda - stamp 19th UPU Congress HamburgThursday was the first day of issue of the new UN World Heritage stamps dedicated to Germany. The German post joined in with a special stamp as well. A lot of postal administrations sold their latest issues. UNPA was represented by a stamp dealer (see photo) so there was no special blue card. I must mention in a very positive way the Vietnam Stamp Company. This country sells almost every stamp that they issued since 1977, although their website says they have been withdrawn from sale. I have almost completed my Viet Nam collection and I even discovered some UN related stamps that the major stamp catalogues missed (in their description of the stamps).


Friday I bought two new albums to put all this new stuff in. Fortunately there aren't any more stamps shows, at least for a few months (until Antwerp and Apeldoorn in October).


Gradually I am adding new items to the website. The latest stamps from Jersey, Liechtenstein and the Netherlands are already there and Belgium will follow soon. I have added some English explanations to the Philatelic books page and rearranged the Philatelic magazines and made separate pages for the Comments 2006 and 2007. This enables the pages to download faster. New things will be added frequently, but as I wrote earlier, not as frequent as the last two years. Just come back to the website every few weeks and see what's new.




UNOstamps comment - 2 May 2009 - Back in business!


Stamp from Papua New Guinea - World AIDS Day 2008The last few months I have been very busy. Not with my stamp collection, but with all sorts of other activities. This meant that there hasn't been a Newsletter for months now. I apologize to all my readers and visitors for this. But now I'm back.


The coming months I can't spend as much time adding items to the website as I would like to, but I'll make sure that something new will be there every few days, or at least once a week. For now there are some new philatelic magazines and new stamps from Papua New Guinea commemorating World AIDS Day 2008.


This weekend I hope to add the latest stamps from the Netherlands and Jersey for the International Year of Astronomy. As you might know, the IYA is this year's theme for the Europa-stamps. This means that more than 50 countries will issue stamps, booklets and souvenir sheets. The first Dutch stamps were presented to the Minister for Education, Science and Culture and I had the privilege to attend that event. You will see the exclusive photos very soon.


One reason for not working on the website was the presentation of my latest book on local history. On 4 April 2009 I presented the first copy to the mayor of Westland during a meeting in the old town hall. One of the visitors made four short films that you can see on Youtube. The link for the first film is The other three can be found on the same page. The films give a general impression. The whole meeting lasted for over an hour.


Special postmark World Heritage GermanyBriefmarkenmesse Essen 2009 emblemThursday 7 May I will visit the Briefmarkenmesse in Essen (Germany). This is one of the largest stamp events in Europe and more than 50 postal administrations and dozens of stamp dealers will be present there. This day is also the first day of issue for the new United Nations stamps depicting World Heritage in Germany. Also the German Post will issue a similar stamp with the World Heritage site "Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg".


I haven't been in Germany for years (not counting a brief transfer at Frankfurt Airport when I visited Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2006) and I have never been to a German stamp fair. I will have my (new) photo camera with me to make some pictures, at least of the UNPA stand there.


The final question I have to answer is: when will the new Newsletter appear? To be honest, I don't know yet. I guess the visit to Essen will give me enough new material to write about. In the mean time please enjoy the more than 400 page the UNOstamps website already has available for you.


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last revised: 30 January 2011