Belgium : World's Fair, Brussels ‑ United Nations Issue


Issue date: 17/04/1958



Groundmarshaller guiding an aircraft, stylized aircraft, oceanic-navigation station ship, world’s fair emblem and text INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION. The designer’s name (J VAN NOTEN followed by DEL) and the engraver’s name (H DECUYPER followed by SC) are written vertically at bottom-left and bottom-right respectively.                               



As customary for most Belgian stamps at that time, a limited number of imperforate presentation proofs were prepared. Ungummed, in issue colour, each proof has a 5.75 mm individual black control number printed on the reverse of the stamp.


Corner block with Control Number.


Minister Proof in Black. Impression in black from the master dies, with the embossed seal of the Minister of Communications, Postal Administration.

Each of these proofs is printed individually from the original plates on special 14cm by 14cm glossy paper.

Two service covers sent on the United Nations Day at the Universal Exhibition - 26 June 1958 (Front and back pictures):





Background: This stamp pertains to a 6-stamp airmail set. As part of this issue, Belgium also released ten regular stamps for the Brussels World Fair; so the issue consists of a total of 16 stamps, issued for the purpose of financing the UN pavilion during the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair (held from 17 April to 19 October 1958, called Expo 58); the theme of this fair was Man on the Threshold of a new Era.

These two sets were issued by Belgium in honour of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies. They were sold by the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) in New York and Geneva, as well as at the post office in the UN pavilion at the world exhibition. The stamps had postage value only for posting from the UN pavilion, where they were cancelled with a UN special postmark; following the close of this post office on 17 October 1958, unsold stamps were destroyed.

The ICAO emblem shown on this stamp is an early-unofficial emblem in use for some time in 1954 and 1955, with longer wings set lower on the globe than on the current emblem. At the opposite left is the correct ICAO emblem.

The blue stamp shown here-above pays tribute to two major achievements of ICAO during the first decade of its lifetime, namely the North Atlantic air navigation infrastructure (see more information on this subject by clicking on: The North Atlantic Ocean Stations Agreement) and the airport communications services (referring to Annex 2 – Rules of the Air). Those successes are illustrated on this stamp by an ocean weather ship and a groundmarshaller.

The third edition of the International Standards and Recommended Practices related to the Rules of the Air (Annex 2) became effective on 15 September 1956. A new set of marshalling signals specifically designed for hovering helicopters were incorporated in the new version. Along with neighboring countries, Belgium actively pushed for such helicopter signals, as SABENA, the Belgian national airline, started the world’s first international helicopter service on 3 August 1953, when an 8-passenger Sikorsky S-55 left the new Heliport at Allée Verte in Brussels for Antwerpen and Rotterdam. The signal shown on the stamp means Straight Ahead.

More background information on this stamp can be found by clicking on the following link: Belgium UN Stamp: Unusual Design.