Romania – SMOM 2022

With one stamp representing firefighters in action, removing snow, and the other one showing Ukrainian refugees arriving in Romania and welcomed by local volunteers, Romania and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) celebrated on September 16, 2022, 90 years of relationship. SMOM conducts diplomatic relations with 112 countries, among which Romania, and the European Union and its stamps are recognized by 57 postal administrations. However, for example, SMOM does not have bilateral diplomatic relationship with China, or the United States.

Unfortunately, as SMOM is not recognized by the Universal Postal Union (UPU), even if these stamps look like a Twin issue and the words “Joint issues” appear on all stamps, this issue will be filed in the category Non-approved [NR].

This situation is quite difficult to handle and it is not our role to decide which country have to be collected by whom. It must be a personal decision to include SMOM in ones own collection or not. After having written that, it was interesting to explore both the UPU and SMOM web sites to get more details about recognition and consequences. Interestingly, in the list of non-recognized countries, one counts also, among others, Kosovo (which mail is routed through Serbia) and Taiwan (mail routed through Japan or the USA). Palestine has an observer status with mail routed through Jordan, while a series of other smaller countries are not members of the UPU, but issue stamps, and their post is routed through an UPU member state, e.g., Andorra (through France or Spain), Marschall, Micronesia, Palau (through USA), SMOM (through Italy), Northern Cyprus (through Turkey), … A full updated list is provided by Wikipedia under the link

We will continue reporting about stamps from all these countries and leave each collector define if it should belong to his own collection, but we will also continue mentioning the official situation for each country. In our particular case, we will have to update some issues and to add some comments for some of the above mentionned countries in the catalogue pages (use of grey color instead of black and itamlics characters).

There is a last point that needs to be mentionned in this specific issue. We do not have yet details about the printing runs of SMOM stamps (they should however remain small), but we got the figures for Romania. This country issued 2 stamps in sheets of 32 stamps ([8×4]) and sheetlets of 5 stamps ([3×2] including one label). Only 2×5,120 stamps were issued in sheets, meaning only 160 sheets were printed for each stamp, while only 2×530 sheetlets were printed. On top of this, Romania issued a folder containing an imperforate souvenir sheet with both stamps at only 292 samples! This is not the way to help collectors completing there collection, another reason not to recognize this issue as a true joint issue.

3 thoughts on “Romania – SMOM 2022

  1. Hello Richard,

    Allow me a comment concerning the sentence ‘this issue will be filed in the category NR. This because SOM is not recognized by the UPU. You also could write: because this is set out in our definitionclassification rules. I can live with those rules, but maybe they are a bit strict. Maybe you can consider to adapt the classification rules instead of revising the catalogue texts from ‘territories’ like Andorra, Northern Cyprus, Palau etc. I realise that this will bring new problems (for instance Nagorno Karabagh and so on), but I’m pretty sure that most collectors makes a difference between both types of non-recognized countries.

    Kind regards,



    1. Right Jaap, the main reason is because we did set the rules, themselves based on rules fixed by the FIP, which say that if you want to present your collection in official stamp exhibitions, only UPU-recognized countries can be part of exhibitions. But I insist, everyone is free to collect what he wants. On our side, we will continue reporting joint issues involving these countries such as SMOM, Palau, Taiwan, … but just add a comment each time. Actually, the situation is as well complicated with other stamp catalogue editors, most of them do not include SMOM, without explaining, while they report Taiwan or Kosovo.


      1. Thank you for your reply. The FIP argument is new for me. Maybe those who want to present their collection can select the FIP-proof items from their collection to present? But as already mentioned: I can live with the rules…


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