Rwanda - Illegal Issues of Postage Stamps

UNIVERSAL

POSTAL UNION

Berne, 10 December 2001

International Bureau Circular

 504 

Dear Sir/Madam

The postal administration of RWANDA asks me to inform you that its country continues to be denigrated and debased by the circulation of illegal postage stamps. It therefore asks me to draw the attention of all Union member countries and all philatelic partners to the fact that numerous postage stamps purporting to come from Rwanda continue to be produced and distributed.

The Rwandan postal administration has learned of the existence on the philatelic market of further sets of miniature sheets of postage stamps with various designs, bearing the inscription "RWANDA" (a list of those it has been able to identify is annexed). These stamps continue to do serious moral and economic harm to the country, its postal service and the Union as a whole.

It maintains that these postage stamps are illegal and were issued without its knowledge in contravention of articles 6 and 25 of the Universal Postal Convention, its Letter Post Regulations and the legislation of the Republic of Rwanda. These postage stamps have no value as collector's items or for postal prepayment.

The administration has proof that the distributors include companies based in Great Britain and Belgium and at least two Internet sites in the United States. This leads it to believe that the companies in question may be involved in producing the illegal stamps. Its efforts to track down the counterfeiters will continue, so that they can be brought to justice.

It calls for the cooperation of all postal colleagues in the countries in question to check this problem, particularly since the postal service appears to be the chosen method for ordering and receiving the illegal postage stamps. It also asks that the philatelic community and all collectors be warned not to buy these illegal miniature sheets, which discredit its postal service in the eyes of philatelists the world over.

Finally, the postal administration of Rwanda reiterates its request to all postal administrations to exercise increased vigilance and refuse mail items bearing these illegal stamps. It also asks them to inform their philatelic partners accordingly and to notify the Rwandan administration and the International Bureau of any information they may have concerning the distribution of such postage stamps in their country.

Yours faithfully,

K.J.S. McKEOWN

Director of Communications and Markets

Annex

Illegal postage stamps issued in miniature sheets, purportedly by the Republic of Rwanda

NB - The values shown on the postage stamps that make up the miniature sheets described below are high in comparison with the basic postage rates in use in Rwanda. The high rates indicated are designed to deceive purchasers. Furthermore, the currency of Rwanda is the FRW, not the F as indicated.

1 A miniature sheet made up of three postage stamps, two of them identical, illustrating President Kennedy and President Lincoln, with the middle stamp showing a missile launch. The miniature sheet is entitled "SPACE KENNEDY" and includes images of space in the margins. The stamps have face values of 300 F and are arranged horizontally.

2 A miniature sheet comprising three postage stamps illustrating various scenes from the "Winnie the Pooh" children's stories. The miniature sheet is entitled "POOH" and includes other illustrations from the stories in the margins. The stamps have face values of 300 F and are arranged horizontally.

3 A miniature sheet comprising three postage stamps illustrating three sports car models. The miniature sheet is entitled "MODERN SPORT CARS" and includes an image of a larger car in the background. The stamps have face values of 300 F and are arranged horizontally.

4 A miniature sheet made up of three postage stamps, two of them identical, illustrating the late Diana, Princess of Wales, with the middle stamp showing Pope John Paul II. The miniature sheet is entitled "xx OF THE CENTURY" and includes the heads of various personalities in the margins. The stamps have face values of 300 F and are arranged horizontally.

5 A miniature sheet comprising three postage stamps illustrating pictures of the RMS TITANIC. The miniature sheet is entitled "TITANIC" and includes other pictures of the ship in the margins. The stamps have face values of 300 F and are arranged horizontally.

6 A miniature sheet made up of three postage stamps, two of them identical, illustrating the fairy story "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". The middle postage stamp shows a character. The miniature sheet is entitled "xx OF THE CENTURY" and includes the heads of various personalities unrelated to the fairy tale in the margins. The stamps have face values of 300 F and are arranged horizontally.

7 A miniature sheet comprising seven postage stamps illustrating various scenes of cowboys playing golf. The values are arranged vertically in columns of 100 F, 200 F and 300 F. The 200 F column contains a single postage stamp at the bottom, the two others forming a double se-tenant stamp without any text or numbers. The miniature sheet is entitled "COWBOY GOLFERS" and includes various scenes in the margins.

8 A miniature sheet comprising nine postage stamps illustrating various species of tropical fish. The values are arranged vertically in columns of 100 F, 200 F and 300 F. The miniature sheet features various aspects of underwater life in the margins.

9 A miniature sheet comprising nine postage stamps illustrating various species of orchids. The values are arranged vertically in columns of 100 F, 200 F and 300 F. The miniature sheet features various plants in the margins.

10 A miniature sheet comprising nine postage stamps illustrating various types of aircraft. The values are in vertical columns of 100F, 200F and 300F.

11 A miniature sheet comprising six postage stamps with various pictures of the American actress, Marilyn Monroe. The values are arranged vertically in columns of 100 F, 200 F and 300 F. The miniature sheet features other pictures of the actress. At the top of the sheet, in the middle, there is the inscription "Marilyn Monroe".

12 A second miniature sheet comprising six postage stamps with various pictures of Marilyn Monroe. The values are arranged vertically in columns of 100 F, 200 F and 300 F. The miniature sheet features other pictures of the actress. At the top of the sheet, in the middle, there is the inscription "Marilyn Monroe".

13 A miniature sheet comprising nine postage stamps illustrating various types of trains. The values are arranged vertically in columns of 100 F, 200 F and 300 F. The miniature sheet features various other pictures of trains in the margins. At the top of the sheet, in the middle, there is the inscription "Steam Trains".

14 A miniature sheet comprising nine postage stamps illustrating various paintings by Renoir. The values are arranged vertically in columns of 100 F, 200 F and 300 F. The miniature sheet features in the margins various other scenes from paintings. At the top of the sheet, in the middle, there is the inscription "RENOIR".

15 A miniature sheet comprising nine postage stamps illustrating various types of wild cat, in particular the leopard and lion. Each postage stamp has the letter "L" in a circle on the right-hand side. The values are arranged vertically in columns of 100 F, 200 F and 300 F. The miniature sheet features in the margins various other pictures of the same wild animals. At the top of the sheet, in the middle, there is an illegible inscription, which may be "Cats".

16 A miniature sheet comprising nine postage stamps illustrating various internationally known sporting personalities (golf, tennis, boxing, basketball, football and baseball). The values are in vertical columns of 100F, 200F and 300F. At the top of the sheet, in the middle, there is the inscription "MILLENIUM".

17 A miniature sheet comprising nine postage stamps illustrating various breeds of domestic dog, and more especially puppies of each breed. The values are arranged vertically in columns of 100 F, 200 F and 300 F. The miniature sheet features various other pictures of the same puppies in the margins. At the top of the sheet, in the middle, there is the inscription "Pedigree Puppies", and at the bottom there is the inscription "RWANDA".

NB - Miniature sheets Nos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are sold as perforate sheets, and are accompanied by the information that an imperforate version is available for twice the price of the perforate version!

More information about the illegal issues can be obtained directly from the UPU, Mrs. Maria Libera.

Published: 01.02/2001. Revised: 01/02/02.
Copyright 2002 by PWO and
by Victor Manta, Switzerland.
All rights reserved worldwide.