Fight Against the Illegal Stamp Issues

The UPU's numbering system for postage stamps, WNS, on the Internet (Press release of the UPU)

(Berne, 1 October 2002)

The UPUís World Association for the Development of Philately (WADP) has just published its numbering system (WNS) on the Internet.  The WNS website, which is freely available in English and French, can be found through the UPUís website, (via the Philately page) or by going direct to the site at

Nine months after its launch on 1 January 2002, more than 100 postal administrations have signed up to the WADPís stamp numbering system. The initiative aims to protect the interests not only of stamp issuing authorities but also of the philatelic market as a whole. Hence the full support given by all the member organisations of the WADP.

The numbering system applies to all postage stamps issued since 1 January 2002 by the stamp issuing authorities of the UPU member countries and their territories and dependencies that are affiliated with WNS. A unique WNS number (comprising the ISO 3166 alpha-2 country code, a serial number and the year of issue) is assigned to every postage stamp.  A stamp bearing the same design and denomination, whether produced in one or more formats (ie sheet, sheetlet, block, booklet, coil, self-adhesive sheet or roll, souvenir or commemorative sheet etc.) will be regarded as one stamp and will therefore have one WNS number. The scanned stamp, along with its relevant technical data (perforation, format, theme, etc.) is published in English and French on the WNS website.

The website therefore offers a centralized international registry that can be used as a powerful research tool by Posts, catalogue publishers, the specialist press and philatelists to check a member administration's stamps or research a particular theme. It should however be borne in mind that, while participation in the WNS is highly recommended, it is voluntary and stamps issued by a UPU administration that has yet to sign up to the System must not be assumed to be irregular or illegal. A drawback for those administrations that have not yet signed up is simply that their stamp issues will be absent from the WNS website, meaning a lost promotional opportunity, and possibly missing out on potential sales.

More information about the WNS can be obtained from the IB of the UPU, Mr. Jean-FranÁois Logette

Information about the illegal issues can be obtained directly from the IB of the UPU, Mrs. Maria Libera

Published: 10/23/2002. Revised: 02/15/03.
Copyright © 2002 - 2003 by WADP & PWO
All rights reserved worldwide.