Three ICAO stamps

showing the evolution

of the emblem

The first successful flight of a powered controlled and sustained flying machine by Orville and Wilbur Wright on 17 December 1903 was the beginning of the evolution of flight and civil aviation. It was also the fulfilment of the centuries-old dream of flight passionately shared by early aviators in many countries.


For more than sixty-five years, air transport has been the catalyst for fundamental economic, social and cultural transformation. The structuring of civil aviation was greatly helped by international cooperation through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), established in 1944 by the Chicago Conference. Since that time, ICAO has created and continually updated the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), as well as the related policies and guidance.


The Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO) carried out the basic purposes of the Chicago Convention of International Civil Aviation until 4 April 1947, when ICAO came into being upon sufficient ratifications of that Convention.


ICAO embodies the spirit of cooperation and dedication of 191 countries in 2011 to achieve the safe and orderly development of civil aviation throughout the world. As with philately, the goal of these countries has been to breakdown borders and frontiers, leading to a better understanding between people of all nations.


Brazil – Medal struck for the Second South American/South Atlantic Regional Air Navigation (SAM/SAT) Meeting, held in São Paulo, from 22 October to 16 November 1957

Every stamp collector is different, as every stamp collection. Besides arrangements by country and date of issue, the specialty of topical collecting has grown over the years. One such example of a topical collection is that of collecting ICAO-related stamps, crossing aviation and United Nations themes. This unusual theme may be appealing to some collectors, since it consists of a limited number of items from a hundred different countries; it includes any stamp and souvenir sheet relating to the Organization, whether the ICAO logo or the Organization’s full name or its acronym can be found on them, or with an implied relation to ICAO such as an airplane within the UN family’s framework. Countries usually issued such stamps to commemorate ICAO meetings or anniversaries, anniversaries of the United Nations or its Agencies. Moreover, ICAO topical collection also covers forerunners of ICAO, referring to stamps related to inter-governmental meetings or bodies dealing with international civil aviation prior to the birth of ICAO in 1944.


Not surprisingly, aircraft are the most commonly used features in the ICAO topical collection. From the first fragile biplanes to the wide-body jets, from balloons and gliders to the space shuttle, stamps have continued to reflect the amazing interest that people have in vehicles travelling through the sky.


This site is a source of current reference for the philatelic material pertaining to ICAO and the related Postal History, i.e. the history of ICAO based on its philatelic material (stamps, first day covers, commemorative events, Assembly Sessions, conferences and meetings, service covers, coins and medals, phone cards, postcards, date cancellations, meter stamp slogans, stationery, etc). The thematic exhibit, arranged hereafter in the form of chapters, tells ICAO’s story, or the story of its historical events through the use of postal artifacts; it is also intended to preserve history for future generations.


In addition to the historical side which remains the main objective of the site, an extensive list of the postal issues relating to ICAO, with complete background information, is displayed in the last chapters of The Postal History of ICAO, so that any philatelic collector could start a new hobby or complete available information. The site is not intended to replace postage stamp catalogues, as those provide information on number, designer, printer, perforation, cost, etc. Individual pages of The Postal History of ICAO have been quoted worldwide by many other sites or pages, which is a clear indication of its international interest.


The site is a work-in-progress and changes are introduced on a cycle of approximately six months. To view all prior stamp issues related to ICAO, click on the following link: Stamp issues related to ICAO.



Egypt – 1 October 1946

First Middle East Regional Air Navigation Meeting

This is the only stamp issued during the lifetime of PICAO, the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization.



Turkey – First and latest issue of ICAO stamps (1950 and 2014 respectively)



Front and back of a chromolithographic picture

from the book Vlaggenalbum distributed by Gouda’s Roem in 1950. It shows the PICAO Council in session in March 1947.

ICAO Headquarters at 1080 University Street, Montréal,

from July 1949 until mid-1975. Picture taken in the early 1950s.


Lima Regional Office – Postmark dated 29 April 1970

Meter slogan with the Organization’s name in the dater circle


Portugal - 40th Anniversary of ICAO - 7 December 1984

Flight cover carried by TAP (Transport Air Portugal),

between Montreal (Canada) and Lisbon (Portugal)



50th Anniversary of ICAO - 7 December 1994

Phone cards issued by Monaco and Thailand


The La Presse+ tablet edition of Monday 21 April 2014 made a historical overview of ICAO based on this site of the Postal History of ICAO. In the actual electronic version, each circle corresponded to a tooltip providing background information on the important dates in aviation history and the development of air navigation regulation.