Friday, February 27, 2015

Interpol 50th Anniversary Stamp

This stamp was issued in Austria on February 10th, 1973 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Interpol. It depicts a radio operator with a transmitter and a Morse key either sending or receiving a document. The connection between the telegraph and Interpol isn't just retro-technology. The Organization's official name is "ICPO–INTERPOL." The acronym "ICPO" stands for 'International Criminal Police Organization, but in French, the acronym would be OIPC.

The word INTERPOL"is a contraction of International Police, and was chosen in 1946 as the telegraphic address. In 1956 they made it official and adopted that as their formal name. With some irony the organization held onto telegraph technology too long —well into the 1980s. As a consequence they have spent the last few decades trying to modernize their global operation across a very technologically unequal world.