World Stamps

New U.N. semipostal stamps to support COVID-19 fund

Jul 16, 2020, 3 PM
The United Nations Postal Administration will issue a pane of six semipostal stamps Aug. 11 with the message “We Are All In This Together/Help stop the spread of COVID-19.” The surtax on the stamps will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO

By Denise McCarty

The United Nations Postal Administration will issue a pane of six semipostal stamps Aug. 11 to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO (the World Health Organization).

The pane includes two stamps in three different currencies: the United States dollar for the post office at U.N. headquarters in New York City; Swiss francs for the post office at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; and euros for the post office at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria.

Rorie Katz of the United Nations designed the pane, using icons created by TBWA Global for the stamps and an illustration by a college student in the selvage.

The student, Chiara Fiori of the University of Delaware, reported in an article by Diane Stopyra posted on the university’s UD Daily website ( that her artwork was selected from among 17,000 submissions that the UNPA received for the pane’s design.

Stopyra’s article describes Fiori’s artwork as a “digital painting” that “depicts a nurse wearing a face mask covered in the words ‘thank you’ in multiple languages.”

Fiori said, “You keep hearing about the long hours these frontline workers are putting in, so I wanted to express my personal gratitude.”

That article, as well as the information published in the UNPA’s Fascination Philatelic Bulletin No. 132, reported that the issue date of the stamps was July 24, but after their publication, the issue date was delayed until Aug. 11.

The article in the aforementioned bulletin describes the stamp designs as representing “six key public health messages by the United Nations and WHO to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

The first stamp in the pane, a 50¢+50¢ semipostal, shows a yellow icon with an image of handwashing to represent personal hygiene.

The $1.20+50¢ semipostal below it depicts a blue icon with a question mark to symbolize myth-busting.

Physical distancing and spread kindness, respectively are the messages portrayed by the red and orange icons on the 1fr+50-centime and 1.50fr+50c stamps in the center or the pane.

On the right side of the pane, the green icon on the €0.85+€0.50 stamp stresses the importance of knowing the symptoms, while the pink icon on the €1+€0.50 stamp has a theme of solidarity.

The stamps and the icons are inscribed in the language of the post office’s host country, while the rest of the pane is inscribed in English.

The text “We Are All In This Together/Help stop the spread of COVID-19” appears in two lines below the stamps, with the U.N. emblem on the left and a COVID-19 response emblem on the right.

The inscription at the bottom on the pane explains that the surcharge on the stamp will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.

A March 13 press release announcing the establishment of the fund said: “A new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Solidarity Response Fund will raise money from a wide range of donors to support the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund, the first-of-its-kind, enables private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to global response efforts, and has been created by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, together with WHO.”

The website reported that as of July 8, the fund “has raised or committed $224,289,413 from more than 541,000 individuals, companies and philanthropies.”

Cartor Security Printing of La Loupe, France, printed the stamp pane by offset lithography.

The pane measures 150 millimeters by 105mm, and each stamp is 30.45mm by 35mm, perforated gauge 13¼.

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

The UNPA has posted the following notice on its website: “Important information and alert: Please note that your orders and/or mail may be impacted or delayed due to the restrictions at the United Nations Headquarters and the United Nations office in Vienna as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are, however, committed to process and fulfill your orders as soon as we can. If there’s any question, please email us at or or Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

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