The idea of the UN having its own stamps was first proposed by Argentina in 1947, although it was not until 16 November 1950 that the UN Postal Administration was formally established by the General Assembly when the Secretary General was authorised to negotiate an agreement with the US Post Office. This came into effect on 24 October 1951 when the first stamps, denominated in American currency, went on sale. Similar agreements were reached with the Swiss and Austrian postal administrations, UN stamps in Swiss currency going on sale at Geneva on 4 October 1969 and in Austrian schillings at the Vienna office of the UN on 24 August 1979.
To celebrate the Golden Jubilee each of the three UN post offices is issuing a pair of stamps and a miniature sheet on 18 October.
The stamps show appropriate symbols of celebrations: balloons and a birthday cake (Vienna), streamers and gift boxes (New York) and a flying postman and trumpets (Geneva) along with stylised stamps fluttering like confetti.
The matching miniature sheets contain a pair of circular stamps with the UN emblem at the centre. The decorative spandrels between the circular stamps and their outer rectangular perforations feature tiny flying postmen with balloons, and the same motif, but enlarged, occupies the lower sheet margins.