Fight Against Illegal Issues

of Postal Stamps


    The Philatelic Webmasters Organization (PWO), a non-profit organization located in Switzerland, that counts at time over 350 members from all continents, was created in order to promote, support and develop philately through philatelic webmastering.

    The World Association for the Development of Philately (WADP) started in 1996 an action against the producing and the selling of the Illegal Stamps. The Illegal Stamps were defined by the General Assembly of the WADP, in its second meeting (6th of Oct. 2000), as: Illegal issues for territories which are not entitled to issue stamps and false stamps produced by fraudsters in the name of an issuing authority with the intent to defraud collectors.

    The Universal Postal Union, a member of the UN and of the WADP, is the organization that coordinates the fight against the illegal stamps. Consequently, it has published since 1996 an growing number of Circulars in which the postal administrations members of the UPU have denounced stamps that were illegally issued in their name or in the name of their territorial units.

   In the last years the philatelic business has considerably grown throughout the Internet. Some unethical sites and dealers, and sometimes uninformed sellers use the Internet to defraud the stamp collectors, by proposing for sale illegal stamps. The first victims are mostly the beginners in our nice hobby. Being mostly active on the Web, we created this subsite to allow for a better understanding of illegal stamps and to inform how to recognize and to avoid them. We can be easily reached by e-mail (please click here to send us a message - take out spaam from the e-mail address please).

    Developed by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the World Association for the Development of Philately (WADP), a WADP Numbering System (WNS) was introduced on 1 January 2002 with the aim of creating a database of all authentic postage stamps issued by UPU member countries and territories on or after that date.

    The PWO tightly collaborated from its very beginnings with the Universal Postal Union in the fight against illegal stamps. For this reason as well information about illegal issues as the UPU Circulars were published on a regular basis on the PWO site. The PWO, in direct concern with the International Bureau of the UPU in Bern, has dedicated the present subsite to the fight of illegal stamps.

    Because In the middle of the year 2003 the UPU started by publishing the UPU Circulars referring to illegal stamps on its own site, we didn't publish them on this site anymore, and we limited ourselves to provide (in the menu) links to the pages where they could be found. Unfortunately, these links got broken in the middle of the year 2009, this after the UPU site was redesigned. New links appeared on the WNS site and are valid since August 2010. Toward the end of 2011 the link to the Circulars from the WNS site changed again and points to a non relevant page. It is unfortunate that the WNS/UPU doesn't pay attention to the perennial of its links, that have problems much too often...

Update: in Jan. 2012 they finaly corrected it, and added two Circulars marked 2011. In one of them, that from Uganda , there is no reference to which stamps were actually denounced. In that of Tanzania , for the first time in the quite long history of Circulars, "Samples of these illegal stamps are attached." Just to remind that from the very beginning the UPU IB banned the publication of the images of illegal stamps, an interdiction that it violates now. Of course the mentioned shortcomings are not the faults of both postal administration but of the UPU IB philatelic team, which coordinates (but obviously doesn't anymore) this entire activity.

Published: 10/08/2001. Revised: 12/17/2011.
Copyright 2001 - 2012 by PWO and 
by Victor Manta, Switzerland.
All rights reserved worldwide.