1997 Tribute to Philately
UN Offices in New York
The United Nations has long had a special relationship with philately. Many commemorative covers were created to honor the founding conference of the U.N. in San Francisco in 1945. In England, philatelists successfully urged the Royal Mail to use special slogan cancels around London to publicize the U.N.’s first General Assembly. Collectors all over the world began saving mail from the U.N. franked with meters using the U.N. emblem.
Fifty years ago the president of the Argentine delegation to the U.N., José Arce, was elected President of the General Assembly. An avid stamp collector, Arce submitted the draft resolution which was instrumental in the creation of the United Nations Postal Administration, and the issuance of the first U.N. postage stamps in 1951.
Arce envisioned three purposes for U.N. stamps. First, they would give the organization clout – the issuance of stamps was previously reserved solely for sovereign states. Secondly, the stamps would provide a source of revenue. Third, the stamps would serve as a powerful communications tool, bringing the U.N.’s message to the world. Five decades later, Arce’s vision of U.N. philately has proven to be true.