United Nations : 10th Anniversary of ICAO


Issue date: 09/02/1955




Flying wing, representing the spirit of flight, with a world map as a background and ICAO. The usual five-language border surrounds the design.                                       



Flying wing, representing the spirit of flight, with a world map as a background and OACI. OACI is the French and Spanish acronym of the Organization’s name: Organisation de l’aviation civile internationale (French) and Organización de Aviación Civil Internacional (Spanish). The usual five-language border surrounds the design.


Specimen gummed and imperforate, hole punched.


Regular issue vertical pair and Imperforate vertical pair (Plate inspection proof stamps).

Only 50 pairs of these gummed, imperforate proofs are known to exist in the entire world.


Gummed and perforated; green colour; hole punched (security cut-out) at lower left with black overprint: WATERLOW & SONS, LIMITED SPECIMEN (on two lines).


Background: This issue commemorates the 10th Anniversary of the interim Agreement and the first PICAO meeting, and honours the work of the International Civil Aviation Organization, celebrating its tenth anniversary in 1955.

Interestingly enough, in 1955 when this set was issued, Linn's Stamp News had to write a special article explaining that there was no error on the 8-cent value, since the 8-cent uses the French or Spanish acronym of the Organization (OACI), which is just the reverse of the English acronym ICAO.

More background information on this issue can be found by clicking on: The 10th anniversary commemorated by the United Nations.

The United Nations did not print its own stamps, but rather arranged for international printing firms to produce the stamps. Waterlow & Sons of England printed all UNPA issues for 1955, and the 1959 airmail series. In 1960, Thomas De La Rue & Co. acquired Waterlow’s business. Waterlow’s archives were sold to the philatelic market.

During the transition of ownership, four sheets of imperforate, gummed proofs printed in 1955 for the United Nations were found in their archives. There was one sheet each for the ICAO, the UNESCO, the 10th anniversary of the UN, and the Human Rights Day stamp issues. For each UN stamp issue of 1955, the very first stamp sheet was pulled off the press by hand to check the quality and color of the design. Because these stamps were never intended to be used as postage, they were not perforated, but they were however punched with a small hole. This small mark also served to certify their status as unique proof.