BEWARE OF ABUSIVE STAMP ISSUES!
Terminology, concerned organizations and responsibilities
Illegal issues are those which have been denounced as such by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in its circulars . Since 2002, the UPU has managed ”The WADP / AMDP Numbering System - WNS ” to fight against these issues. (WADP / AMDP: World Association for the Development of Philately / Association Mondiale pour de Développement de la Philatélie).
The member countries are responsible for sending notification of the illegal issues to the UPU. Once received, the UPU sends circulars containing these notifications to all members.
This system works poorly. Indeed, we have found that, despite the large number of illegal issues that are being constantly pushed on the market, the International Bureau of the UPU has published a single circular in 2013. It is actually even worse, because the WNS database, which is very incomplete, cannot serve as a reference for the decisions about which stamps are legal and which are not. See our article about this .
Abusive issues are those that were legally issued by some postal administrations but they do not comply with the terms of the ”Philatelic Code of Ethics for the use by member countries of the Union", established by the WADP and approved in 2008 by all member countries of the UPU. These are stamps that do not meet the internal needs of the countries for their postal traffic and sometimes are not sold in the countries themselves. 2
To our knowledge, for abusive issues there are no reporting procedures similar to those for illegal issues. Indeed, postal administrations are not going to acknowledge having signed contracts that do not comply with the Philatelic Code of Ethics. This important and sometimes difficult task would be the responsibility of organizations representing the collectors, such as WADP, and including one of its components, the International Federation of Philately - FIP. Unfortunately, we haven't seen any action or reaction from WADP in the field of abusive issues, despite its existence for over 15 years.
Collectors are presented with a fait accompli, the many abusive issues on the philatelic market, and we observe that we are among the few who deal with these issues. In this short article we try to do our best in presenting the current situation of abusive issues.
Abusive issues in 2013
Initial research on worldwide new issues was made on the Web by the French Association of Table Tennis Collectors (AFCTT). It found a new issue of Niger on the subject of table tennis on the website of the Lithuanian company Stamperija (“Production & Trade in Philately”); it is presented as souvenir sheet, perforated and imperforate, with FDCs for each type (a total of about 80 different philatelic units!).
Because it could not find these stamps on the website of the Post of Niger, the Association contacted the postal administration of Niger to inquire about the legality of this issue, and on behalf of its members asked how to order it directly from the Nigerian Post. The Director General of the Niger Poste replied, stating that they were legitimate stamps that could only be purchased through the company Stamperija. In a second message, the Niger correspondent used the term ”legal copies”, not “stamps”! 3
Finding that these stamps look like illegal issues, AFCTT contacted Mr. Louis Virgile, Programmes' Manager Philately, IB, UPU. His response was swift and unequivocal: “a practice which although legal is nonetheless curious, and can be characterized as an abusive issue.” 2
Accordingly, the Board of Directors of the AFCTT decided not to order these stamps, notified its members and published the following recommendation on its blog: ”... please be advised that the issue of Niger will not be provided to members, and that in defense of true philately, we ask all of you not to buy this type of issue. ”
In 2013 the Post of Niger brought over 200 issues to the market through the Stamperija company, covering a wide spectrum of topics popular among collectors, such as ”space", ”train”, ”wildlife”, ”art”, ”sailboat”, ”Pope”, etc. Some of these issues are very similar to the previously described table tennis issue (same size, same types and numbers of stamps, etc.), and they can thus be classified as belonging to the same category of abusive issues.
Taking into account the very high number of issues and starting from the position taken by Mr. Virgile, UPU Philately Programmes' Manager, the Philatelic Webmasters Association (PWO ) tried to ask some questions of Mr. Amadou Abdou Waziri, the Director General of the Niger Post. 1 We continue to wait with great interest to learn his point of view, based on his assertion on the website of the Niger Post: “In this context, a particular focus will be on the analysis and processing of your claims and suggestions, or any other emerging questions about Niger Post”.
By expanding our horizon, we realize that the situation is the same for the issues of all of the client countries of Stamperija:
CENTRAL AFRICAN REP.
As seen on the pages of this exclusive seller (“Exclusive Postage Agency”), many stamps are rapidly getting numbers in catalogs of publishers like Michael and Scott, which only adds to the credibility of these stamps with less informed collectors. These stamps are often issued only in souvenir sheets, they are rarely used for mail and therefore almost impossible to find on envelopes that have circulated. To protect collectors, one may wonder about the stance of the International Publishers Association of Stamp Catalogs, ASCAT, another component of the WADP.
Filatelia, quo Vadis? Wherefore art thou, philately?
For the reasons outlined in this article we recommend all collectors be well informed about the issues involved before embarking on the purchase of such of expensive stamps, and if in doubt to research carefully before ordering them.
Note: free translation from French
Sent: Friday, November 29, 2013 8:46 PM
To: CEO NIGER POST
Cc: WADP Chairman; UPU Philately Programmes' Manager, Chairman of the AFCTT
Subject: Abusive Issues (?)
Mr. the General Director of Niger Post,
The Philatelic Webmasters Organization (PWO) for years has fought against the proliferation of illegal and abusive stamps.
Recently the Secretary of AFCTT sent to us an e-mail exchange that took place between you, him and Louis Virgile, Programmes ' Manager Philately and IRC, UPU IB.
The conclusion of this exchange is that the issues of Niger Post, marketed by the Lithuanian company Stamperija (over 200 issues in 2013 only), to quote Mr. Virgile, ”... in no way reflect the terms of the code of ethics established by the WADP and approved by member countries of the UPU. These issues, in fact, seem on the one hand not correspond in any way to the internal needs of the country for its postal traffic, on the other hand are not sold in the country itself.”
In a week we intend to publish an article that covers this topic, to protect collectors from all over the world against abusive issues. But we do not want to harm the interests of your country, which is faced with many problems, and we are in a dilemma about how to reconcile these two objectives.
For these reasons we ask you, Mr. General Director, to present your position regarding the use of these stamps by the people of your country; the number of stamps (or in percent) by issue that are distributed to the postal offices, their print runs, the status of their registration with the WNS, the separation of responsibilities between programming, design, printing and marketing. Briefly tell us about how these stamps adhere to the Code of Ethics established by the WADP and valid for all member countries of the UPU.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation with the philatelic press.
From: UPU Philately Programmes ' Manager
Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 11:54
To: President of the AFCTT
Firstly, I want to thank you for your email alert on a practice which although legal is nonetheless curious and can be considered an abusive issue.
Indeed, these issues are legal because they are recognized by the competent country's authorities. But they don't comply with the Code of Ethics established by the WADP and approved by member countries of the UPU. These issues, in fact, seem on the one hand to not correspond in any way to the internal needs of the country for its postal traffic, on the other hand to not be sold in the country itself.
For some countries, these issues exist and we know it. We also noticed that it is an exclusive characteristic ?? of countries that have signed with a single agent, almost always from abroad, to entrust the responsibility of all their philatelic production. This is why we insist in all our interventions to explain that to properly manage a philatelic service it is best to separate responsibilities between programming, design, printing and marketing.
But we are not always listened to, even if we continue to recommend best practices.
We must also recognize that collectors who want EVERYTHING are initially often very fond of these issues, even if ultimately, as we checked, they discredit the philately of the country that issued them, and are not of interest to collectors who no longer want to be considered as ”suckers”. Ultimately it deprives the postal operator of a large part of its philatelic income because it finally tumbles down.
Thank you again for your alert,
Programs Manager, Philately and International Reply Coupons
Universal Postal Union , International Bureau
From: from NIGER INFO POST
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 7:26 p.m.
To: President of the AFCTT
Subject: Fwd: Info new stamps Niger 2013
Thank you for your alert. They are legal copies sold with our agreement.
You can find below the response from our General Director.
Receive our gratitude!
From: Director General NIGER POST
Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013 3:09 p.m.
To: President of the AFCTT
Subject: New stamps from Niger
Thank you for your warning. I would like to reassure you that this are issues duly approved by me, the General Director of the Niger Post, under a contract that we signed with Stamperija that ensures the exclusive sales on the international market. You can safely contact it to acquire them.
Links to related articles appeared on this site:
- WADP, WNS and the Illegal Postal Stamps. Balance Sheet Ten Years Later
- What is WNS Good For?
- No Help from the UPU
- Nigerian Stamp Sentinel
- Ten Lost WNS Years