The United Nations is the only non-postal organization in the world that is permitted to issue postage stamps. The United Nations Postal Administration is also the only organization to issue stamps in three different currencies, namely US dollars, Swiss francs and euro (until 2002 in Austrian schillings).
The idea of the
United Nations issuing its own stamps was first proposed by the Argentinean
UN-ambassador Josť Arce, himself a keen philatelist, in 1947. An agreement with
The first United Nations stamps were
issued in U.S. dollar denominations on United Nations Day, 24 October, in 1951.
The stamps were an immediate success and sold out within days. Similar postal
agreements were reached with the Swiss and Austrian postal authorities. On
Each issue carries a related design theme, with different denominations for each office. The stamps are available from UNPA offices in person or by mail, and from stamp dealers. They are valid for postage when used on mail from the United Nations offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna. Usually, six new commemorative issues are released each year and remain on sale for 12 months only. After that date, any remaining stocks are destroyed. Commemorative stamps are never reprinted, even if they are sold out before the end of the 12-month sale period. Definitive stamps have an indefinite sale period and carry denominations necessary for general postal needs. Definitive stamps can be reprinted as necessary.
United Nations stamps are printed all over the world by security printers, both government printing offices and private security printing firms. They are produced under the same security controls used for the printing of bank notes. Collectors appreciate the high quality of the stamps, which undergo many quality controls and are screened by UNPA for any flaws. This makes the United Nations one of the highest-quality producers of stamps among postal administrations.
Not only do United Nations stamps artistically promote the aims of the United Nations, they provide income for the Organization as well. This income derives almost exclusively from sales of stamps to collectors. The majority of United Nations postage stamps - approximately 85 per cent - are collected by philatelists. The value of all United Nations stamps used for mailing purposes is reimbursed to the US Postal Service, the Swiss PTT or the Austrian PTT, as appropriate.
Human rights, the environment, endangered species and peace are all subjects of universal concern to the peoples of the world. They are also subjects which the United Nations Postal Administration has promoted on its stamps. Because United Nations stamps reflect the work of the world Organization, the stamps extend beyond the boundaries of philately to draw attention to significant world problems and to serve as a reminder of the United Nations' commitment to its goals.
The UNPA is a regular participant in stamp exhibitions throughout the world. Commemorative cards are issues bearing a special postmark. Each UNPA office has its own colour card: green for New York, blue for Geneva and white for Vienna.
The UNPA website.
UNPA in Wikipedia.
Advertisements from UNPA in books and magazines.
Related persons - designers of stamps issued by UNPA