Spread the Message with Co-op Stamps

ICA News: Issue No 6/1994

Editor: Mary Treacy
Address: 15, route des Morillons - 
         1218 Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland.
Tel: (41 22) 798 41 21 - Fax: (41 22) 798 41 22
Telex: 41 56 20 ICA CH - E-mail: icageneva@gn.apc.org



That the co-operative idea has spread around the world is
wonderfully demonstrated by looking at one collection of 200
commemorative stamps that have been issued in 60 countries
celebrating co-operative ideas and events.

Cliff Berry, a  retired co-op employee from Manchester, has put
together a most interesting range of stamps and they reveal an
amazing diversity of co-operative involvement in countries  around
the globe. 

There are plans to show Mr. Berry's collection as part of an
exhibition on international co-operation in Manchester at the ICA
Centennial Congress.

The first of these commemorative stamps was published in Venezuela
on December  21st 1944. These stamps marked the centenary of the
Rochdale Pioneers in England and  featured a picture of Charles
Howarth, first president of the Society - quite a remarkable thing to
be published in Venezuela.

Co-operative stamps have appeared in many other countries since
then. As one might expect there are many examples from European
countries where co-operatives are well established. 

Czechoslovakia, for instance celebrated a Collective Farming
Congress in Prague with a stamp showing a girl harvester, whereas a
stamp marking a banking organisation in Finland shows two doves
co-operating to build their nest.

In 1970, the founding of the International Co-operative Alliance in
London in 1895 was honoured by a set of five stamps in Great Britain;
the one-shilling stamp showed the signing of the agreement by
Britain, France, Germany and Russia. The Russians  celebrated the
75th anniversary of this event with their own stamp in the same year.
But co-op philately spread its boundaries much further afield than

There are several examples of the growth of the co-operative idea in
Africa, for example the one illustrated here from the Congo which
features village co-operators digging trenches.

Further afield, the Cook Islands found a more exotic reason for a
stamp issue when the local Manuae Co-operative Society recorded the
solar eclipse on 30th May 1965 and indeed set up a special post
office to  handle the issue.

These are just some examples of the colourful array of stamps that
record the spread of co-operation round the world. Some of these
stamps are illustrated here from Mr. Berry's collection and
undoubtedly there will be many more celebrating co-operative events
in many lands to add to his collection in the future.

Mr. Berry's collection has been shown this year in connection with
the 150th anniversary of Rochdale.

ICA would like to encourage its members to request their postal
authorities to issue a stamp commemorating the First Hundred Years of
International Co-operation. Perhaps we can help to expand Mr. Berry's
unique collection.

Special packs with information necessary when requesting  centennial
stamps can be obtained from Gabriella Sozanski at the ICA Head Office
in Geneva.