World Stamps

United Nations marks 150th anniversary of UPU with three stamps

May 21, 2024, 12 PM
The United Nations Postal Administration commemorates 150 years of the Universal Postal Union with three stamps in a May 30 issue. The stamps are issued in separate panes of nine, one pane for each U.N. post office.

By David Hartwig

The United Nations Postal Administration is issuing three stamps May 30 to mark 150 years of the Universal Postal Union.

Established in 1874 when 22 countries gathered to sign the Treaty of Bern, the UPU is a specialized agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations and ensures the smooth functioning of international mail delivery.

The stamps are issued in three panes of nine, one pane for each United Nations post office. The 68¢ stamp is for use from the United Nations headquarters in New York City; the 1.20-franc stamp for the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; and the €0.95 stamp for the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria.

Each stamp shows the Earth in the background and an outlined figure carrying mail in the foreground.

On the 68¢ stamp, a bird and letter are shown in the foreground. The 1.20fr stamp shows a person holding letters, and the €0.95 stamp has an airplane with a letter inside.

Each pane has a decorative border at the top.

The UPU was created in response to the growing need for a unified system to govern international postal services. Prior to its establishment, each country had its own postage rates, standards and regulations, leading to inefficiencies and delays in international mail delivery.

The founding principles of the UPU were to establish a uniform system for international mail exchange, including standardization of postage rates, addressing formats and delivery procedures.

This standardized system streamlined global postal operations, facilitating international communication, trade and cultural exchange.

Over the years, the UPU evolved and adapted to advancements in technology and changes in global postal needs, remaining a vital organization in the international postal community. The UPU now unites the postal networks of 192 countries.

The UPU’s theme for its 150th year recognizes its accomplishment of establishing a single postal territory to serve people around the world: “150 years of enabling communication and empowering peoples across nations.”

The stamps are being issued at the Paris-Philex 2024 stamp show, which runs from May 30 to June 2 in Paris, France. The UNPA held an unveiling for the stamps April 26 at the Westpex stamp show near San Francisco.

Sergio Baradat of the United Nations designed the UPU stamps, which were printed by Joh. Enschede of the Netherlands by hexachrome. The quantities printed are 11,000 for each pane of nine.

Each stamp measures 51 millimeters by 36mm, and each pane of nine is 177mm by 163mm.

For ordering information for these new stamps and related products, visit the UNPA website, email; telephone 212-963-7684 or 800-234-8672; or write to UNPA, Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900.

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