World Stamps

Three souvenir sheets celebrate the United Nations’ 75th anniversary

Oct 14, 2020, 3 PM

By Denise McCarty

Three new souvenir sheets from the United Nations Postal Administration commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The sheets are to be issued Oct. 24, United Nations Day.

The day “marks the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being,” according to the United Nations.

Founded to “support collective action to realize peace, development and human rights for all,” the United Nations now includes 193 member states.

The United Nations marked its 75th anniversary at a virtual high-level meeting of the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 21.

At that meeting, world leaders adopted a declaration that the United Nations described as laying out “12 succinct commitments to reanimate global resolve: leave no one behind, protect the planet, promote peace, abide by international law, place women and girls at the centre, build trust, improve digital cooperation, upgrade the United Nations, ensure sustainable financing, boost partnerships, work with youth, and, finally, be prepared.”

“We are not here to celebrate,” world leaders said through the declaration. “Our world is not yet the world our founders envisaged 75 years ago.”

Each of the three 75th anniversary souvenir sheets contains two se-tenant (side-by-side) stamps with the initials of the United Nations on one stamp and “75” on the other. The stamps also include the 75th anniversary emblem.

The U.N. emblem also is shown in the selvage above the stamps along with the anniversary emblem and the slogan “shaping our future together.” The selvage prominently features a quote from Antonio Guterres, the ninth secretary-general of the United Nations.

The quote is in English on the souvenir sheet for use from the UNPA post office at the U.N. headquarters in New York City: “The vision and values of the Charter of the United Nations, which was adopted 75 years ago, stand the test of time. The United Nations works as one for the benefit of all — for peace, sustainable development, justice and human rights.”

The two stamps in this sheet are each denominated $1.20.

The souvenir sheet for use from the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, contains two 2-franc stamps. One shows the “UN” initials in pink and green, and the other shows “75” in light and dark blue, green and yellow. The quote by Guterres is in French.

The third souvenir sheet, which is for use from the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, includes the quote in German. On the €1.80 pair of stamps, “UN” is in orange and shades of blue and “75” is in dark blue, pink and shades of green.

The UNPA has commemorated previous anniversaries of the founding on the United Nations on stamps, beginning with the 10th anniversary in 1955. That issue included the opening text of the preamble of the U.N. Charter “We the people of the United Nations … ” in English on a 3¢ stamp, Spanish on a 4¢ stamp and French on an 8¢ stamp (Scott 35-37). A souvenir sheet included imperforate versions of the three stamps (38).

The preamble to the charter also was featured in the designs for the 15th anniversary in 1960 (Scott 83-85).

The 1965 stamps and souvenir sheet for the 20th anniversary also commemorated International Cooperation Year (Scott 143-145). The 1970 issue for the 25th anniversary carried the theme of peace and progress (209-212), and the theme for the 30th anniversary in 1975 was “The Hope of Mankind” (260-262, Geneva 50-52).

The 1975 issue was the first to include stamps for two U.N. post offices: the New York office, for which stamps were first issued Oct. 24, 1951; and the Geneva office, which received its own stamps on Oct. 4, 1969. Stamps for the Vienna office were introduced Aug. 24, 1979, and the 1980 issue for the 30th anniversary included stamps for all three offices (322-324, Geneva 93-95 and Vienna 12-14).

The UNPA continued to issue U.N. anniversary stamps at five-year intervals in the 20th century, featuring paintings by Andrew Wyeth in 1985 (Scott 447-449, Geneva 135-137, Vienna 52-54) and symbolic designs with “45” in 1990 (577-579, Geneva 188-190, Vienna 103-106).

Three issues celebrated the 50th anniversary in 1995: three stamps with “50” and the U.N. emblem issued Jan. 1 of that year (Scott 655, Geneva 262, Vienna 176); six stamps and three souvenir sheets designed by Paul and Chris Calle issued June 26 (663-665, Geneva 270-272, Vienna 186-188); and three panes of 12 and stamp booklets featuring images of people from around the world (669-670, Geneva 275-276, Vienna 191-192).

The designs of the stamps and souvenir sheets for the 55th anniversary in 2000 were based on photographs taken during the construction of the U.N. headquarters in New York City (Scott 779-791, Geneva 358-360, Vienna 275-277).

Celebrated stamp engraver Czeslaw Slania (1921-2005) designed and engraved the stamps and souvenir sheets for the 60th anniversary in 2005 (Scott 874-875, Geneva 434-435, Vienna 357-358).

The UNPA returned to using numerals and the U.N. emblem for the designs marking the 65th anniversary in 2010 (Scott 1010-1011, Geneva 522, Vienna 474), and for a personalized pane of 10 stamps for the 70th anniversary issued Sept. 25, 2015 (1118). The main issue for the 70th anniversary, however, was released a month later on Oct. 25 and featured photographs of the renovated U.N. headquarters in New York City (1119-1123, Geneva 607-611, Vienna 572-576).

The new souvenir sheets marking the 75th anniversary were designed by Matt Willey of the design studio Pentagram.

The souvenir sheet is 120 millimeters by 165mm, and each stamp is 35mm by 50mm.

The security printer of France’s La Poste printed the souvenir sheets by hexachrome, according to the UNPA. The quantities printed are 32,000 each of the $1.20 and 2fr sheets and 35,000 of the €1.80 sheets.

For ordering information for these new souvenir sheets, 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.

The UNPA explains in a notice on its website that while orders may be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is committed to filling them as soon as possible.

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