Restrictions on the use of “Special” stamps, and those with limited validity periods, by Robert Wightman
Restrictions on the use of “Special” stamps, and those with limited validity periods, for franking international mail were resolved at the 1897 UPU Congress. The resolution was proposed by Germany and seconded by Switzerland. Not surprisingly, Germany and Switzerland (which administered the UPU) were among the countries which closely observed these restrictions. The 1920 UPU Congress rescinded these restrictions.
- The "Peace" issue of 1919
- Pro Juventute stamps up to 1920
- Limited validity of "Special" stamps within the UPU up to 1920
As the “Peace” issue of 1919 fell under these restrictions, it appears that the Swiss Post Office asked the individual UPU member countries whether they would accept incoming mail franked with “Peace” stamps as prepaid. These 12 sheets show examples of international mail during the first week, when the “Peace” issue was valid for inland mail only, to some of the 14 countries which initially accepted it, to some of the five countries which subsequently accepted it and to certain other countries.
The Pro Juventute stamps also fell under these restrictions, and it appears that the Swiss Post Office asked the individual UPU member countries whether they would accept incoming mail franked with Pro Juventute stamps as prepaid. These 79 sheets include predecessors of the Pro Juventute stamps: Christmas seals, Tuberculosis stamps and the Swiss “Forerunners”, together with mail to the six countries which accepted them, to the five countries which declined them, and to other countries. This is a collection rather than a competitive display and includes, for reference purposes, all the examples the author has found.
The Helvetia Philatelic Society is grateful to Robert Wightman for agreeing to display his collection at the Society’s Annual National Meeting at Oxford in April 2015.
This exhibit, split into two parts, shows examples of the international use of the early stamp and postal stationery issues considered by some to be commemorative issues, the developments in the 1890’s which lead to the UPU’s restrictions, the subsequent issues of the supporters and opponents of the restrictions and the subsequent issues of other countries. The exhibit is still being developed, the ultimate aim being to show all the relevant issues up to 1900, but only the more significant issues, or representative examples, from 1900 to 1920.