Editor's blog: When Syria and Egypt merged - collecting stamps of the United Arab Republic

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12 February 2016
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egypt-uar-77856.jpg The 1958 Birth of UAR stamp, issued in Egypt
The United Arab Republic lasted just three years, from 1958 until 1961 – a failure in political terms but more than long enough for many stamps to be issued, giving stamp enthusiasts the chance to build an intriguing collection, as Stamp & Coin Mart editor Matt Hill explains

Did you know Egypt and Syria once formed to become one country, even though they don't share a common border?

In the March issue of Stamp & Coin Mart regular writer Chris West describes the ill-fated attempt to merge the two countries together and explains how the stamps issued during the short-lived Republic serve as a reminder of how the world was during the 1950s, with nations rising and falling against the background of the Cold War.

The United Arab Republic lasted just three years, from 1958 until 1961 – a failure in political terms but more than long enough for many stamps to be issued, giving stamp enthusiasts the chance to build an intriguing collection.

As revealed in our 'Stamp stories' article in the March issue of Stamp & Coin Mart, the formation of the UAR was celebrated with a stamp design showing both countries – though even this initial design hints at the political posturing of the period and region, with Syria pushed seemingly towards the back of the design; Egypt in the foreground.

From 1958 onwards, separate stamps were issued by both countries due to the differences in currencies, but all carrying the country name 'United Arab Republic' or 'UAR'.

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It may come as no surprise that the unusual union did not last, and the first stamps of the Syrian Arab Republic were issued in 1961.

Egypt’s stamps continued to use the moniker ‘UAR’ until 1971, when the country name on the stamps became ‘AR Egypt’.

As Chris West reflects in his revealing article 'How would the world be if the UAR so proudly announced on this stamp had survived and flourished? We will never know.'

Read the full article on the United Arab Republic stamp of 1958 in the March issue of Stamp & Coin Mart magazine.