Refresher Course

Joint issues show international postal accord

By Michael Baadke

Joint issues are created when two or more countries decide to issue stamps celebrating the same topic at about the same time. Often the issues are released on exactly the same date, but sometimes several days or even weeks may separate the joint issues.

Figure 1. Similar designs were used on a 1998 Cinco de Mayo joint issue from the United States (left) and Mexico. Click on image to enlarge.
 
Figure 2. San Marino and Italy created a joint issue in 1994 that included one stamp from each country on a souvenir sheet. Each stamp was valid only in the country named. Click on image to enlarge.
 
Figure 3. A 1995 joint issue from Switzerland and Liechtenstein consisted of a single stamp accepted for postage in either country.

A joint issue is a coordinated effort between the countries, and it reflects cooperation between the national postal services.

Sometimes the designs of the stamps issued are nearly identical, as shown by the two Cinco de Mayo stamps illustrated in Figure 1.

The United States and Mexico each issued stamps April 16, 1998, to mark this Mexican holiday. The 32¢ U.S. stamp was designed by Robert Rodriguez of Pasadena, Calif. The same design was used for the slightly larger 3.50-peso issue from Mexico.

Stamps that have similar designs are not necessarily joint issues, however. The main requisite for a joint issue is the agreement between the issuing nations.

As an example, the nation of The Gambia scheduled the release of a Year of the Rabbit stamp for late December 1998. The design includes a paper-cut image of a rabbit and what appears to be Kanji script lettering along the left edge of the stamp.

The Gambian stamp was shown in color on page 16 of the Jan. 18 issue of Linn's.

In many ways it is similar to the 33¢ Year of the Hare stamp issued Jan. 5 by the United States.

However, there was no official agreement between the United States and The Gambia to issue these similar stamps so they are not considered joint issues.

Some collectors find such stamps of similar design interesting, though, and obtain them to create collections of what may be called "stamp twins."

Stamps that are official joint issues may also have designs that are considerably different from one another.

A U.S.-Mexico issue from 1996 featured animals that are endangered because of their limited numbers.

The U.S. Endangered Species issue consists of 15 stamps with individual designs, each featuring a photograph of the endangered animal and its name.

The Mexican counterpart consists of 24 stamps that together make a large painting that shows dozens of animals. Each stamp shows several creatures and includes their names in small type.

All of the U.S. joint issues are listed in the chart below.

Scott Publishing Co. manufactures album pages specifically for United States official joint issues. Each page has space for the U.S. stamp and for the corresponding foreign stamp.

For more information about Scott album pages, contact Scott Publishing Co., Box 828, Sidney, OH 45365, or call Scott product information at 800-572-6885.

Official joint issues between countries can be identified by notes that appear in the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue and the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers.

If a stamp is a joint issue, there will be a reference in the Scott listing that directs you to the corresponding stamp from the other country.

For example, the listing for the U.S. Endangered Species issue, Scott 3105, notes, "See Mexico No. 1995," which is the corresponding 24-stamp Endangered Species issue from Mexico.

Sometimes the effort to create a joint issue goes one step further.

The countries of San Marino and Italy produced a small pane in 1994 that contained one stamp from each country to mark the 900th anniversary of the Basilica of St. Mark. That joint issue is shown front and back in Figure 2.

Each stamp was valid for postage only in the country named on the stamp. This fact was emphasized with printing on the back of each stamp explaining "postally valid only in San Marino" or ". . . only in Italy."

Finally, there are even examples where the two issuing countries jointly issued one stamp with both country names upon it.

Figure 3 shows a single 1995 stamp issued by both Switzerland and Liechtenstein to celebrate the 75th anniversary of a postal treaty between the two nations.

The denomination "60" on the stamp refers to 60 centimes in Switzerland, and 60 rappen in Liechtenstein.

The stamp was valid for postage in either country.

United States joint issues
Issue date
Subject
U.S. Scott No.
Country
Scott No.
Designs
6/26/1959
4¢ St. Lawrence Seaway
1131
Canada
387
similar
9/16/1960
4¢ Mexican Independence
1157
--
--
--
9/15/1960
[same]
--
Mexico
910
similar
8/28/1965
5¢ Florida Settlement
1271
Spain
1312
similar
7/15/1975
10¢ Apollo-Soyuz
1569-70 (2)
Russia
4339-40
similar
6/1/1976
13¢ U.S. Independence
1690
Canada
691
similar
8/4/1977
13¢ Peace Bridge
1721
Canada
737
different
10/13/1980
40¢ Philip Mazzei
C98
--
--
--
10/18/1980
[same]
--
Italy
1439
different
10/13/1981
18¢, 20¢ James Hoban
1935-36 (2)
--
--
--
9/28/1981
[same]
--
Ireland
504
similar
4/20/1982
20¢ Diplomatic Recognition
2003
Netherlands
640-41
similar
3/24/1983
20¢ Amity and Commerce
2036
Sweden
1453
similar
4/29/1983
20¢ German Immigration
2040
--
--
--
5/5/1983
[same]
--
Germany
1397
similar
9/2/1983
20¢ Treaty of Paris
2052
France
1899
different
6/6/1984
20¢ John McCormack
2090
Ireland
594
similar
6/26/1984
20¢ St. Lawrence Seaway
2091
Canada
1015
similar
1/23/1986
22¢ Stamp Collecting
2198-201 (4)
Sweden
1585-88
similar
5/24/1986
14¢ Francis Vigo
UX111
Italy
--
similar
7/4/1986
22¢ Statue of Liberty
2224
France
2014
similar
7/17/1987
22¢ Friendship/Morocco
2349
--
--
--
7/22/1987
[same]
--
Morocco
642
similar
1/26/1988
22¢ Australian Bicentennial
2370
Australia
1052
similar
3/29/1988
44¢ New Sweden
C117
Sweden
1672
similar
[same]
[same]
--
Finland
768
similar
7/14/1989
45¢ French Revolution
C120
France
2145a
different
various 1989
[same]
--
France
2143-45
different
9/28/1990
25¢ Micronesia
2506
Micronesia
124-26
similar
9/28/1990
25¢ Marshall Islands
2507
Marshall Is.
381
similar
10/3/1990
25¢ Sea Creatures
2508-11 (4)
Russia
5933-36
similar
2/22/1991
50¢ Switzerland Anniversary
2532
Switzerland
888
similar
5/22/1991
29¢ William Saroyan
2538
Russia
6002
similar
4/24/1992
29¢ Voyages of Columbus
2620-23 (4)
Italy
1877-80
similar
5/22/1992
(var.) Columbian reprints
2624-29 (16)
Italy
1883-88
similar
[same]
[same]
--
Portugal
1918-23
similar
[same]
[same]
--
Spain
2677-82
similar
5/29/1992
29¢ Space Accomplishments
2631-34 (4)
Russia
6080-83
similar
3/24/1993
29¢ Grace Kelly
2749
Monaco
1851
similar
10/9/1994
29¢ Cranes
2867-68 (2)
China
2528-29
similar
9/29/1995
32¢ Republic of Palau
2999
--
--
--
10/1/1995
[same]
--
Palau
377-78
similar
10/2/1996
32¢ Endangered Species
3105 (15)
Mexico
1995
different
10/22/1996
32¢ Hanukkah
3118
Israel
1289
similar
4/16/1998
32¢ Cinco de Mayo
3203
Mexico
2066
similar
*2/26/1998
33¢ Irish Immigration
to come
Ireland
to come
similar
Joint issues of the United States and other countries that did not take place on the same day are listed with the foreign issue information on the line immediately following the U.S. issue information. The 1986 Francis Vigo issue is a postal card for both the United States and Italy. All other listings are regular issue or airmail postage stamps.
*Irish Immigration joint issue information is tentative, based on preliminary details provided by U.S. Postal Service.