World Stamps

By Denise McCarty

International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers U.N.-Austria joint issue

May 12, 2016 03:03 PM

  • Six stamps from the United Nations Postal Administration celebrate the International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers, which is observed annually on May 29. The stamps, which show the peacekeepers at work, are part of a joint issue with Austria.
  • Members of the U.N. peacekeeping forces are shown raising the forces’ blue flag on Austria’s International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers stamp.
  • Several United Nations stamps have honored peacekeeping operations, including this 1980 stamp showing a blue helmet.

By Denise McCarty

A joint issue of the United Nations Postal Administration and Austria Post pays tribute to United Nations peacekeepers. 

The stamps are being issued May 29, the International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers. A ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at World Stamp Show-New York 2016 at the Javits Center in New York City.

The set from the UNPA includes six stamps, two for each U.N. post office located at New York headquarters in New York City; the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; and the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria. 

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The denominations are 47¢, $1.15, 1 Swiss franc, 1.50fr, €0.68 and €0.80.

Austria Post is issuing a single 0.68 commemorative.

All of the stamps show photographs of members of U.N. peacekeeping forces. Each design also includes an image of the blue helmet of the peacekeeping forces and a laurel branch in the lower left.

In addition, the U.N. stamps show the U.N. emblem on a gold background on the right side of the design. The stamp from Austria depicts the emblem in white superimposed on the photograph.

Each stamp measures 30 millimeters by 40mm.

Sergio Baradat of the United Nations designed the U.N. stamps. Lowe-Martin of Canada printed them in offset-lithography with gold foil in sheets of 20. 

The quantities are 150,000 each of the U.S. denominations (47¢, $1.15); 120,000 each of the Swiss denominations (1fr, 1.50fr); and 130,000 each of the Austrian denominations (€0.68, €0.80).

Anita Kern designed the stamp for Austria Post. The Austrian State Printing Office printed it by offset in sheets of 50 in a quantity of 250,000 stamps.

The first U.N. peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), was established May 29, 1948, in the Middle East. 

In the 68 years since then, 3,400 military, police, and civilian personnel of the U.N. peacekeeping forces have lost their lives.

The International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers was created to honor their memory, as well as to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in U.N. peacekeeping operations.

According to the United Nations Peacekeeping website, more than 1 million men and women have served under the peacekeepers’ blue flag. 

The 1988 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the U.N. peacekeeping forces. 

In the press release announcing this award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said: “The Peacekeeping Forces of the United Nations have, under extremely difficult conditions, contributed to reducing tensions where an armistice has been negotiated but a peace treaty has yet to be established. In situations of this kind, the UN forces represent the manifest will of the community of nations to achieve peace through negotiations, and the forces have, by their presence, made a decisive contribution towards the initiation of actual peace negotiations.”

The UNPA issued three stamps March 17, 1989, to commemorate the awarding of this Nobel prize (Scott New York 548, Geneva 175, Vienna 90).

Several other U.N. stamps have highlighted the work of the peacekeepers. For example, a 1965 issue honors the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Scott New York 139-140).

Four commemorative stamps issued Nov. 21, 1975, show a wild rose growing from barbed wire (Scott New York 265-266, Geneva 55-56).

The peacekeepers’ blue helmets are depicted on stamps issued in 1980 (Scott New York 320, Geneva 92) and 2007 (New York 940), and illustrations of peacekeepers at work are featured on a 1966 stamp (New York 160), the 1998 set commemorating their 50th anniversary (New York 737-738, Geneva 325-326, Vienna 242-243), and on stamps in the United Nations in the 21st Century set issued Sept. 15, 2000 (New York 783, Geneva 361, Vienna 278). 

For ordering information for the new International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers stamps,­ click here; email; telephone 800-234-8672; fax 212-963-9854; or write to UNPA, Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900. 

The online shop of Austria Post can be found here.

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