UNPA issues first stamp of 2021

The United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) has unveiled its 2021 stamp program, which began on Jan. 22 with a special event sheet marking the Year of the Ox.

Established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1950, the UNPA issued its first stamps – in U.S. dollar denominations – on Oct. 24, 1951, also known as United Nations Day. Today, in addition to the post office at UN headquarters in New York City, the UNPA also issues stamps for use at the post offices at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria.

This year, the UNPA is slated to issue seven commemorative and definitive issues plus eight special event sheets, including its first of 2021, celebrating the Lunar New Year.

The Year of the Ox special event sheet is the 12th and final sheet from the UNPA’s Lunar New year Series. It includes 10 $1.20 stamps accompanied by 10 labels with the UN logo. The stamps’ tabs and background feature designs by China’s Wang Huming.

The Lunar New Year’s Day is on Feb. 12, 2021, which starts the Year of the Ox and lasts until Jan. 30, 2022. It will be a “Metal Ox” year. The Year of the Ox was also recognized in 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997 and 2009.

People born under the ox sign are known for diligence, dependability, strength, determination and honesty. Showing great patience and a desire to make progress, they can achieve their goals through consistent effort and are not easily influenced by others or by their environment but persist in doing things in accordance with their ideals.


The UNPA can trace its roots back to 1947, when an Argentinian delegation led by philatelist José Arce, then the president of the General Assembly, called for the UN to issue stamps.

On Nov. 20, 1947, the General Assembly passed a resolution asking Secretary-General Trygve Lie to explore the creation of a UN postal service. Additional resolutions followed in 1948 and 1949, and a year later, on Nov. 16, 1950, the General Assembly formally created the UNPA.

On March 28, 1951, the UN and United States Post Office (a precursor to the U.S. Postal Service) reached an agreement about the UN’s first stamps, which were issued on Oct. 24 of that year – the sixth anniversary of the UN’s founding – and drew widespread collector interest.

The UNPA’s Geneva branch opened at the Palais des Nations on Oct. 4, 1969, and began issuing stamps in Swiss francs.

A decade later, the Vienna headquarters began issuing UNPA stamps denominated in Austrian schillings (later switched to euros).

To order UNPA stamps, Canadian collectors can call 1-212-963-7684, email unpanyinquiries@un.org or write to United Nations Postal Administration, P.O. Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900, USA.

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