United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA)
30 Years VIC - 30 Years UN Stamps in Vienna
On 24 August 1979, one day after the opening of the Vienna International Centre, the United Nations Postal Administration issued its ﬁrst UN stamps in Austrian currency.
The idea of the United Nations issuing its own stamps was ﬁrst proposed by Argentina in 1947. An agreement with the United States postal authorities was reached in 1951 and it stipulated that the stamps be denominated in United States currency, and used only at UN headquarters. 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. On 11 December 1968, an agreement between the United Nations and the Swiss Postal Telephone and Telegraph Enterprise enabled the Geneva ofﬁce of UNPA to issue the ﬁrst UN stamps in Swiss francs on 4 October 1969.
A similar agreement with the Austrian Government on 28 June 1979 enabled the Vienna ofﬁce of UNPA to issue the ﬁrst UN stamps in Austrian schillings on 24 August 1979. Since 1 January 2002, due to the change of currency, Vienna UN-stamps are issued in Euro.
United Nations stamps are now issued simultaneously at UN ofﬁces in New York, Geneva and Vienna. 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 UN 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 so named because they commemorate a certain theme. They 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.
UN stamps are printed all over the world by security printers, both government printing ofﬁces and private security printing ﬁrms. UN stamps 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 UN one of the highest-quality producers of stamps among postal administrations.
Human rights, the environment, endangered species and peace-to name just a few-are all subjects of universal concern to the peoples of the world and are visualized on the stamps of the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA). 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.
Not only do United Nations stamps artistically promote the aims of the Organization, they provide income 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 UN stamps used for mailing purposes is reimbursed to the U.S. Postal Service, the Swiss Post or the Austrian Post, as appropriate.
For information contact:
United Nations Postal Administration Europe
United Nations Ofﬁce at Vienna
PO Box 900,1400 Vienna, Austria
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-5446
Fax: (+43-1) 26060-7-5446