World Stamps

Universal Postal Union cheers on growing new-issue stamp market

Sep 16, 2019, 3 PM
Austria’s €2.10 Viennese Zither stamp was issued March 20 (Scott 2785). The Universal Postal Union reported that new-issue stamp sales have increased in recent years and notes that collectors can easily find stamps online related to their interests.

By Linn’s Staff

The Universal Postal Union reports that the international new-issue stamp market has grown over the past 15 years.

In an article published on the UPU website and in the summer issue of the quarterly periodical Union Postale, the international agency stated that “designated operators’ philatelic revenues reached 1.8 billion SDR (2.5 billion USD) in 2016 compared to just under 1 billion SDR (1.4 billion USD) in 2004.”

SDR refers to the special drawing right valuation basket, an accounting unit developed and used by the International Monetary Fund.

News of the increase in new stamp sales might bring cheer to collectors who worry that postage stamps are becoming a thing of the past.

Olfa Mokaddem, manager of the UPU philately program, explained that commerce opportunities on the internet have contributed to increased interest in philatelic products, according to the article.

As an example, an individual who has an interest in a specific subject can now find information online about stamps related to that subject and can augment a general collection with philatelic products.

Such collectors represent a new and different market than traditional philatelists interested in “the heritage and cultural value of stamps,” according to Mokaddem.

The UPU broadly estimates that the secondary market worldwide, including dealers, collectors “and others buying second-hand philatelic products,” is worth between $4.2 billion and $13.8 billion in U.S. dollars.

The UPU recently surveyed national postal operators and found that 65 percent of the 95 who responded said that they operate an online shop.

“Posts have also ramped up their online marketing and communication efforts to reach new consumers, with 69 percent of respondents answering that they now use social networks to promote their products,” according to the article.

The UPU is a United Nations specialized agency that facilitates the exchange of mail between countries worldwide.

As part of its outreach efforts, the UPU sponsors events that include an international letter-writing competition and World Post Day.

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