🇺🇸 Intergovernmental Philatelic Corporation (IGPC) -
I usually describe IGPC as a “New York-based producer and purveyor of philatelic items” though the people who run it are more likely to describe it as a philatelic agency. A look at its internet site shows that it works as an agent for foreign postal services and features the stamps of such entities as Royal Mail, the postal service of Israel, Guernsey Post and others. IGPC also arranges the design of, the production of, and the marketing of, philatelic items (and occasionally stamps intended for postal use) on behalf of the postal administrations of a number of countries and territories with whom it has contracts. The countries and territories for whom IGPC works in the production and selling philatelic issues are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Grenada Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Guyana, Montserrat, Nevis, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts, St Vincent And The Grenadines, Turks and Caicos Islands and Tuvalu plus the Marshall Islands which is not part of The Commonwealth.
In years past, IGPC (which first issued stamps for Ghana when it achieved independence in 1957) released hundreds of issues per twelve month period. This was partly because it had contracts to produce and issue ‘stamps’ for even more countries than is presently the case. Now, however, several of the countries on the above list - Montserrat, St Kitts, Dominica, Turks and Caicos Islands - have not issued any stamps for a couple of years or even several years meaning that in 2022 there was a total of 132 issues (excluding Marshall Islands) released by IGPC. Ghana had dropped IGPC as its agent for several years but resumed its relationship with the agency towards the end of 2022.
A look at the IGPC internet site which offers for sale its products as well as some from the countries which use it purely as a seller of their products in some parts of the world, shows that at the end of December 2023, items are only mentioned which appear on the monthly lists dated up to October. There could clearly be more products featured for sale if lists for November and December appear and so we might expect the total number of IGPC issues to increase but presently at least, only 69 issues have been released by IGPC during 2023 (including Marshall Islands). The breakdown of these issues is displayed below -
Antigua and Barbuda - 6 issues
The Gambia - 3 issues
Ghana - 29 issues
Grenada - 6 issues
Grenada Carriacou And Petite Martinique - 1 issue
Guyana - 6 issues + 3 local event/anniversary issues announced by GPOC.
Nevis - 0 issues
St Vincent And The Grenadines - 2 issues
Tuvalu - 5 issues
[Plus Marshall Islands - 8 issues]
A total of 61 new Commonwealth stamp issues (+ 8 issues for Marshall Islands) produced by IGPC, 29 (42%) of which have the name of Ghana printed on them.
What is noticeable from the above information is how few issues have appeared with the names of some previously prolific territories printed on them especially Nevis, St Vincent, Grenada Grenadines and The Gambia.
The point not shown by the above is that the very large part of these issues are stated to have been released in the first half of 2023 with barely any new issues reported in the second half. It’s almost as though IGPC’s production activities have ground to a halt. I have no knowledge of what is going on there. Perhaps in the near future the internet site will feature scores of new issues purportedly released in 2023 and completely change the present impression or perhaps not.
Why might this apparent massive reduction in production and marketing have occurred? One can only speculate. These breaks of in-house new issue releases have occurred in the past but not quite so spectacularly as this present period. Perhaps IGPC is having problems in getting its products printed. Most in-house IGPC products have been printed, relatively poorly one might say, in China in recent years - perhaps the problem lies there. Perhaps there are problems with paying the bills. Perhaps client postal administrations are unhappy about something or the other. Perhaps they’re just taking a break, girding their loins and preparing for a new onslaught of new releases on to the philatelic market. I look forward to seeing if this is just a blip or if there is something more serious wrong with IGPC.
One thing is for sure, this organisation has damaged stamp collecting over several decades more than any other entity until the appearance of the notorious Stamperija on the scene. A cutting back on its in-house stamp products is a welcome relief to the those who collect new issues no matter what the reason.