US Stamps

United Nations marks 70 years of guided tours

Oct 19, 2022, 1 PM
A Nov. 1 pane of 10 stamps from the United Nations Postal Administration marks the 70th anniversary of guided tours at the U.N. headquarters in New York City. The stamps are denominated $1.40 for use at the U.N. post office at the headquarters.

By David Hartwig

The United Nations Postal Administration will issue a pane of 10 stamps with labels Nov. 1 to mark the 70th anniversary of guided tours at the U.N. headquarters in New York City.

The tours began in 1952, seven years after the United Nations formed in 1945.

The new stamps are denominated $1.40 for use at the post office at the U.N. headquarters.

Each stamp design features a black-and-white photograph against a white background. The $1.40 denomination, the year of issue and the letters “UN” appear on the background at the bottom of each design.

The stamps are presented in five rows of two columns. The first stamp on the right column pictures the installation of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, and the stamp below it shows cherry trees at the United Nations.

A security council meeting on Cuba can be seen on the stamp in the middle of the left column. The other stamps show guided tour services and visitors at the United Nations along with views of the U.N. headquarters and General Assembly Building.

Se-tenant (side-by-side) labels showing color photographs appear to the right of each stamp. Although the UNPA calls this pane a “special event sheet,” customers can personalize the labels by visiting the U.N. stamp shops in New York or Vienna, Austria, or by uploading their photographs to the UNPA website.

A black-and-white portrait on the selvage takes up about half of the space on the pane and shows a U.N. guided tour service staff member named Oxana Gaertner.

The design process for the U.N. headquarters began in 1947. Staff started moving into the Secretariat Building, a skyscraper within the headquarters, in 1950 ahead of its 1951 completion.

A limestone shortage delayed the construction of the General Assembly Building, and the building’s framework was not erected until early 1952. A New York Times article published Oct. 10, 1952, declared work completed on the headquarters.

Today, anyone interested in taking a guided tour at the United Nations must provide proof of a full COVID-19 vaccination before entering the U.N. premises, and must wear a mask during the tour.

The tours last approximately one hour and are offered in the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) as well as in other languages that are in high demand.

Those taking a tour will visit the General Assembly Hall and Security Council Chamber (meetings permitting) while learning about the history and work of the United Nations.

Booking information for a guided tour can be found on the United Nations website.

Sergio Baradat of the United Nations designed the stamps. The panes were printed in a quantity of 7,000.

The stamps measure 29.8 millimeters on all four sides, the labels are 26.6mm by 29.8mm, and the pane is 279.4mm by 215.9mm.

For ordering information for the new stamp pane and related products, visit the UNPA website; email unpanyinquiries@un.org; 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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