IRCs: Out with the Old, In with the New
It is now time to start dumping your old International Reply Coupons (IRCs): The "Beijing Model No 2" must be redeemed before December 31, 2009.
According to The Daily DX editor Bernie McClenny, W3UR, many QSL managers are now only accepting the new Nairobi Model IRC, so he advises that it is now time to start getting rid of the old IRCs and not get stuck with any! The new IRC, available in the US since September 10 and elsewhere since July, costs $2.10 each in the US. For those in the US who will be exchanging the old version of IRCs for new ones, USPS Bulletin #22267 advises postal workers to tell customers "to exchange IRCs that expire on December 31, 2009 for the new IRC version (Item 330800) or for other postage stamps. Retail associates (RAs) can exchange unused US-issued IRCs for $0.01 less than the value of the IRC. (The amount to exchange is the printed price of the IRC along with any additional postage affixed minus one penny.)"
The Nairobi Model was designed by Rob Van Goor, a graphic artist from the Luxembourg Post. It was selected from among 10 designs presented by Universal Postal Union member countries. Van Goor interpreted the theme of the contest -- "The Postage Stamp: A Vehicle for Exchange" -- by depicting the world being cradled by a hand and the perforated outline of a postage stamp. For more information on IRCs, see the July and September 2006 issues of QST (page 86).