09/02/2017
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Top five United Nations stamps

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Explore a range of issues, ranging from World Peace to the plight of endangered species, in our guide to the top five United Nations stamps.

Commemorative stamps issued by the United Nations (UN) cover a wealth of issues of national importance including the environment, world peace, endangered species, public health and the natural world. They highlight the work of the UN and also act as a form of outreach for the issues which the organisation champions.

The first United Nations stamp was issued on 24 October, 1951 and since then, more than 1,000 stamps have been issued – firstly in US dollars, and subsequently also in Swiss francs and the Euro.

Each UN stamp is issued simultaneously by New York, Geneva and Vienna, in dollars, Swiss francs and Euros respectively, and with a common theme for each issue. The UN commemorative stamps are on sale for a specified period of time (usually one year) and are withdrawn from issue thereafter, with no reprints issued.

1. This stamp commemorates the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organisations of 29 April, 1945, which led to the creation of the United Nations Charter. Such is the prestige of UN stamps that the organisation has been able to enlist the talents of globally known artists whose work appears in art galleries around the world. Among the names featured are Peter Max, Vincent Van Gogh, Hans Enri and Marc Chagall.

2. A human rights stamp of 1989 which quoted the words ‘Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law’, in English, French and German.

3. Stamp from the Endangered Species issue of 1995, which highlighted the plight of species in different parts of the world which are in danger of extinction of severe decline. 

There have also been UN stamp series issued featuring human rights, indigenous art and world heritage.

4. This stamp shows the Queen addressing the UN General Assembly in 1957, part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee issue of 2012.

5. A 2015 UN Sports for Peace stamp in US dollars. Many of the issues featured on UN stamps are of global importance, and help to spread their message to countries around the world.

The official UN stamps website has details of current and upcoming commemoratives and definitives, news of new issues, detailed of related philatelic products, a history of UN stamps and back issues of its philatelic bulletin.

Article extracted from an in-depth feature on collecting United Nations stamps, published in the March issue of Stamp & Coin Mart.

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