World Stamps

Prelaunch or first day of issue; can it be both ways?

May 4, 2024, 1 PM
The United Nations Postal Administration is scheduled to issue on June 7 these three stamps honoring the 150th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union. A prelaunch ceremony took place April 26 at Westpex, and the stamps were sold at that show.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

The United Nations Postal Administration is very supportive of issuing its stamps at stamp shows around the world. If you look at the issuance calendar for stamps, many of the dates correspond with the first day of a stamp show.

This year, the March Party stamp show hosted the first day for the new U.N. Flag stamps and the Westpex stamp show the Endangered Species stamps.

But there was a twist at Westpex. Also part of the unveiling event for the Endangered Species stamps was the unveiling and “prelaunch,” as the United Nations calls it, for the three Universal Postal Union 150th Anniversary stamps scheduled to be issued June 7 at the Napex stamp show in McLean, Va.

The three UPU stamps, denominated 68¢, 1.20 francs and €0.95, are in panes of nine with a decorative border at the top of the pane. All three panes were available for purchase at the Westpex show from the regional sales representative for the UNPA. I’m not complaining about it because it was relevant to have the prelaunch at the show.

The UPU had exhibits at the show and even had its program manager for philately and international reply coupons Benjamin Combes in attendance for the unveiling event. Combes also signed autographs on the panes of stamps for collectors.

While the concept of a prelaunch isn’t new, recently these events have occurred more frequently, especially if an issue date doesn’t quite coincide with a show to which the United Nations is sending a representative.

Now, I’m certain that the U.N. offices won’t accept mail with these stamps until the issue date, so there is at least some credibility left for the first-day-of-issue date.

But, I am curious to learn what collectors think about this concept.

For more information on U.N. stamps, visit the UNPA online.

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