August 2002 Daytime Meeting

To be held on Wednesday, 7 August from 1.00pm to 3.30pm in the Philatelic Centre, 67 Mandeville Street, Riccarton. Please ring your friends to remind them about it.

Buy, sell or swap Bring your spare stamps or money. Don Walker is bringing the Exchange books.

Raffles Don will have some items to raffle.

Report on the July 2002 Informal Evening Meeting

Our Wednesday evening meeting went very well with twenty-four people being present.

Steven McLachlan brought along three large world albums, which were extremely popular with people waiting to see them.

There were lots of stamps and some accessories bought and sold.

We had supper of some new gourmet ‘melting moments’ biscuits supplied by Ron Bax.

We nearly had to throw some people out at 10pm.

News to you or news you knew

  • Should we be concerned? David Fortune is going to Nauru Island this month. No - he will be back in time for the AGM!

  • Peter Bargas is back from his recent Singapore trip.

  • Joe Noon is recovering from a recent fall had while attempting to retrieve The Press at 5.30am.

  • One of John Wilson’s tenants at Carlton Courts (restaurateur Marc Alexander) now has his Restaurant for sale following his surprise election to Parliament on the United Future ticket.

  • Welcome to new member, Stephen Adam who was at our regular monthly meeting and our 5th Wednesday night meeting.

  • We were sorry to hear that Mr Alexandre senior died a week ago and we send our deepest sympathy to Bruce, Peter and their families.

  • Following the death of the CPS’s Patron last month (Ron Scarlett) this week also saw the death of the airmail Society’s Patron Jim Stapleton.

  • John Wadden gave me an item of interest for the Bulletin. Posted in 1881, this card (see attachment) made an interesting voyage. Any idea why this card’s journey was made possible by the UPU? See the next STAMPING AROUND for the answer if you can’t work it out yourself!

Mystery card.jpg (99388 bytes)


What is the UPU and what is its role?

Established in 1874, the Universal Postal Union (UPU), with its Headquarters in the Swiss capital of Bern, is the second oldest international organization after the International Telecommunications Union. With 189 member countries, the UPU is the primary forum for cooperation between postal services and helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services. In this way, the organization fulfils an advisory, mediating and liaison role, and renders technical assistance where needed. It sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail volumes and to improve the quality of service for customers.

However, as a non-political organization, it does not interfere in matters that fall within the domestic domain of national postal services. For example, Posts set their own postage rates, decide which and how many postage stamps to issue, and how to manage their postal operations and staff.

By virtue of its mission to develop social, cultural and commercial communication between people through the efficient operation of the postal service, the UPU is called upon to play an important leadership role in promoting the continued revitalization of postal services.

What is the origin of the UPU?

The first known postal document, found in Egypt, dates from 255 BC. But even before that time postal services existed on nearly every continent in the form of messengers serving kings and emperors. Over time, religious orders and universities added their own message delivery systems to exchange news and information. Relay stations were set up along the messengers’ routes to speed delivery over long distances. Eventually, private individuals were allowed to use the messengers to communicate with one another.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the exchange of mail between countries was largely governed by bilateral postal agreements. But by the 19th century, the web of bilateral agreements had become so complex that it began to impede the rapidly developing trade and commercial sectors. Order and simplification were needed in the international postal services.

The process was started by national postal reforms. The most noteworthy reform occurred in England in 1840, when Sir Rowland Hill introduced a system whereby postage on letters had to be prepaid. Furthermore, uniform rates were charged for all letters of a certain weight in the domestic service, regardless of the distance travelled. Sir Rowland Hill was also credited with introducing the world’s first postage stamp.

In 1863, United States Postmaster General Montgomery Blair called a conference in Paris. Delegates from 15 European and American countries met and succeeded in laying down a number of general principles for mutual agreements. But the scope of their decisions was limited and they were not able to settle on an international postal agreement.

This task was left to Heinrich von Stephan, a senior postal official from the North German Confederation. He drew up a plan for an international postal union, and at his suggestion, the Swiss Government convened an international conference in Bern on 15 September 1874. The conference was attended by representatives from 22 nations.

On 9 October of the same year - a day now celebrated throughout the world as World Post Day - the Treaty of Bern, establishing the General Postal Union, was signed. Membership in the Union grew so quickly during the following three years that its name was changed to the Universal Postal Union in 1878.

The 1874 Treaty of Bern succeeded in unifying a confusing international maze of postal services and regulations into a single postal territory for the reciprocal exchange of letters. The barriers and frontiers that had impeded the free flow and growth of international mail had finally been pulled down.

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