International Reply Coupons

From Stamps of the World

An international reply coupon (IRC) is a coupon that can be exchanged for one or more postage stamps representing the minimum postage for an unregistered priority airmail letter of up to twenty grams sent to another Universal Postal Union (UPU) member country. IRCs are accepted by all UPU member countries. UPU member postal services are obliged to exchange an IRC for postage, but are not obliged to sell them. The purpose of the IRC is to allow a person to send someone in another country a letter, along with the cost of postage for a reply. If the addressee is within the same country, there is no need for an IRC because a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) or return postcard will suffice; but if the addressee is in another country an IRC removes the necessity of acquiring foreign postage or sending appropriate currency. The different types of IRC are shown here >> IRC TYPES & FLAWS. The IRC was introduced in 1906 at a Universal Postal Union congress in Rome. At the time an IRC could be exchanged for a single-rate, ordinary postage stamp for surface delivery to a foreign country, as this was before the introduction of airmail services. An IRC is exchangeable in a UPU member country for the minimum postage of a priority or unregistered airmail letter to a foreign country.

Proof of the IMPERIAL Type International Reply Coupon bottom right Marginal of sheet

IRCs are ordered from the UPU headquarters in Bern, Switzerland by postal authorities. They are generally available at large post offices; in the U.S., they are requisitioned along with regular domestic stamps by any post office that has sufficient demand for them. A British 1 Shilling IRC issued in 1959.

Prices for IRCs vary by country. In the United States in November 2012, the purchase price was $2.20 USD; however, the US Postal Service discontinued sales of IRCs on 27 January 2013 due to declining demand. Britain's Royal Mail also stopped selling IRCs on 18 February 2012, citing minimal sales and claiming that the average post office sold less than one IRC per year. IRCs purchased in foreign countries may be used in the United States toward the purchase of postage stamps and embossed stamped envelopes at the current one-ounce First Class International rate ($1.05 USD as of April 2012) per coupon.

IRCs are often used by amateur radio operators sending QSL cards to each other; it has traditionally been considered good practice and common courtesy to include an IRC when writing to a foreign operator and expecting a reply by mail. If the operator's home country does not sell IRCs, then a foreign IRC may be used.

Previous editions of the IRC, the "Beijing" model and all subsequent versions, bear an expiration date. Consequently, a new IRC will be issued every four years.

In 1920, Charles Ponzi made use of the idea that profit could be made by taking advantage of the differing postal rates in different countries to buy IRCs cheaply in one country and exchange them for stamps of a higher value in another country. This subsequently became the fraudulent Ponzi scheme.In practice, the overhead on buying and selling large numbers of the very low-value IRCs precluded any profitability.

The selling price and exchange value in stamps in each country have been adjusted to some extent to remove some of the potential for profit, but ongoing fluctuations in currency value and exchange rates make it impossible to achieve this completely, as long as stamps represent a specific currency value, instead of acting as vouchers granting specific postal services, devoid of currency nomination.

Aland ; Andorra - French ; Andorra - Spanish ; Angola ; Albania ; Armenia ; Australia ; Austria
Bangladesh ; Belgium ; Belgium under German Occupation ; Belarus ; Belize ; Brasil ; Bulgaria ; Bangladesh
Cambodia ; Chile ; Cyprus
France ; Finland
Germany-Bohemia and Moravia Protectorate ; Germany ; Ghana ; Great Britain ; Guernsey
Hong Kong
Iceland ; India ; Indonesia and Dutch East Indies ; Iran ; Iraq ; Ireland ; Isle of Man ; Israel ; Italy
Japan ; Jersey ; Jordan
Kenya ; Korea ; KUT
Latvia ; Luxembourg
Macau : Madagascar ;Malaysia (and Malaya) ; Mauritius ;Morocco ; Mozambique
Netherlands ; New Caledonia/Nouvelle Caledonie ;New Zealand ; Norway
Papua New Guinea ; Poland ; Portugal
Singapore ; Slovakia ;St Helena ; South Africa ; Spain ; Suriname ; Sweden ; Swaziland ; Switzerland ; Syria
Thailand ; Tunisia ; Turkey
Ukraine ; United Nations ; United States of America
Vatican City ; Vietnam


Issued in Mariehamn (1984) IRC Model Lausanne.
Issued in Mariehamn (2016) IRC Model Doha.

Andorra - French

Issued in Andorra La Vella. (Undated) French Colonial
Issued in Andorra La Vella. (Undated) IRC Model London
Issued in Andorra La Vella. (Undated) IRC Model Vienna
Issued in Andorra La Vella. (1975) IRC Model Lausanne.
Issued in Andorra La Vella. (1984) IRC Model Lausanne.
Issued in Andorra La Vella. (2004) IRC Model Beijing -1
Issued in Andorra La Vella. (2006) IRC Model Beijing 2
Issued in St. Julia de Loria in 2013. IRC Model Nairobi.
Issued in Andorra La Vella in 2015. IRC Model Doha
Issued in St. Julia de Loria (2015) IRC Model Doha (140th UPU)
Issued in Encamp in 2021. IRC Model Istanbul.
Issued in La Massana in 2021. IRC Model Istanbul.
Issued in Encamp in 2022. IRC Model Abidjan.
Issued in La Massana in 2022. IRC Model Abidjan.
Issued in Andorra La Vella in 2023. IRC Model Abidjan.

Andorra - Spanish

Andorra - Spanish issued in Andorra La Vella in 1959. IRC Model London.
Andorra - Spanish issued in Andorra La Vella in 1971. IRC Model Vienna.
Andorra - Spanish issued in Andorra La Vella in 1977. IRC Model Lausanne.
Andorra - Spanish issued in Andorra La Vella in 2015. IRC Model Doha.
Andorra - Spanish issued in Andorra La Vella in 1971. Spanish Colonial.


Angola, issued in Luanda 1981. IRC Model Lausanne-C22.


Albania, issued in Tirana 2020. IRC Model Istanbul.


Armenia, IRC Model "Abidjan". Not used yet.


Australia 1957 Spit Junction PO N.S.W. IRC model "London".
Australia 2013. Model Nairobi.
Australia 2014. Model Doha.
Australia 2019. IRC model "Istanbul" Sent from Bright (Australia) to Riga (Latvia).
Australia, Issued in Canberra GPO at Dec 30, 2021. Model "Abidjan" of 2021.


Austria Issued at Feldkirch 1970. IRC model "Vienna".
Austria 2004. IRC model "Beijing".
Austria 2018. Issued in Wien (Vienna). IRC model "Istanbul".
Austria 2021. Issued in Salzburg. IRC model "Abidjan".


Bangladesh 1973 বাংলাদেশ (Bengali) Bangladesh Overprint on Pakistan IRC, issued at Dacca G.P.O.
Bangladesh Model Istanbul


Belgium IRC Model Rome
Belgium, used 1967. IRC Model London
Belgium 1970. IRC Model Vienna
Belgium 1977. IRC Model Lausanne, code C22
Belgium 2000. IRC Model Seoul, code CN01
Belgium 2005 Issued Vosselaar. IRC model Beijing.
Belgium not used. IRC Model Doha
Belgium not used. IRC Model Istanbul

Belgium under German Occupation

Germany 1915 issued in Brussels during occupation. IRC model "Rome".


Issued in Belarus in 2018. IRC Model Istanbul.
Issued in Belarus in 2019. IRC Model Istanbul 145 years of UPU Overprint
IRC 2021, not used yet.


British Honduras 1970 issued in Belize City Post Office.


Brasil 1948 R- Sa. SEC TESORARIA - DF BRASIL Rio de Janeiro
Brasil 1953 JR- Sa. SEC TESORARIA - DF BRASIL Rio de Janeiro
Brasil 1983. Used in Botafogo. IRC model "Lausanne".


IRC Bulgaria 2021, model "Istanbul". Emission of Sofia.


Cambodia 1960 (Cambodge)Issued in Phnom Penh Cambodge


IRC issued in Chili, not used. Model "Istanbul".


Cyprus 2019. Sent from Cyprus to Latvia. IRC model "Istanbul".
Sent from Cyprus 2021 (place not readable). IRC model "Abidjan".


Denmark 1970. IRC model "Vienna".
Denmark 2002. IRC model "Beijing".
Denmark 2003. IRC model "Beijing".
Denmark 2022. IRC model "Abidjan". Sent from Torshavn (Faroyar)


Estonia 1935 - See also Paris and Tallinn Estonia


France. Issued in Epinal, no date. IRC model "Vienna".
France 2006. IRC model "Beijing".
France 2007. Issued in Chamalieres, model "Beijing-2".
France 2014. Issued in Monte-Carlo 2015. Model "Doha".
IRC issued at Paris-Madeleine in 2021. Model "Abidjan".


Finland 2013. IRC model "Nairobi".
Finland 2017. IRC model "Doha".
Finland 2019. IRC model "Istanbul".
Finland. Not used yet. IRC model "Abidjan".
Finland. IRC model "Abidjan", used in Aland 14/7/2022.

Germany-Bohemia and Moravia Protectorate

German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia 1940 IRC issued in Prague redeemed in Quito, Equador


Cologne/Köln, Germany 1928. IRC model "Stockholm".
Chemnitz, Germany 1939. IRC model "London".
Used in Mannheim, Germany 1983. IRC model "Lausanne".
IRC issued in Berlin 2015. IRC model "Beijing".
IRC issued in Witzenhausen 2018. IRC model "Istanbul".
IRC issued and used in Adelebsen in 2020. IRC model "Abidjan".


Ghana 1972 Issued in Accra

Great Britain

Great Britain 1912 Weston-super-Mare
Great Britain 1927 London SW (GB) 87 to 135 BROMTON RD SW the address of the post office in Harrods in London
Great Britain 1939 6d Margate
Great Britain 1950 London W (GB) issued at Mount Street W1
Great Britain 1952 - Britannia IRC issued by Brecon PO
Great Britain 1952 - Britannia IRC issued by Bournemouth PO
Great Britain 1953 - Sloane square B.O. S.W.1
Great Britain 1955 issued Birmingham
Great Britain 1967 Exchange Buildings Newcastle-on-Tyne
Great Britain 1970. Issued Stevenage. Version "Vienna, model
Great Britain 1991. Issued Oxford. Version "Lausanne, model
Great Britain 2003. Issued Brixham, Devon Version "Beiijng, model 1"
Great Britain 2005. Issued Edinburgh. Version "Beiijng, model 1"
Great Britain 2008. Issued Patchem Brighton. Version "Beiijng, model 2"


Commonwealth Coupon - 26th November 1969
IRC 'Vienna Model" - 29th January 1970
IRC 'Lausanne' Model" - 16th July 1995

Hong Kong

Hong Kong 1972 Issued in Hong Kong and Cashed in in Paris France.
Hong Kong 2021 Issued in Chine - Hong Kong GPO, not cashed yet.


Iceland 2021. Issued in Kopavogur 2021. Model "Abidjan".


India 1965. Issued by the Ludhiana office. Model "London".
India 1974. Issued by Bombay 1974. Model "Vienna".

Indonesia and Dutch East Indies

Dutch East Indies 1931 Tjireungas on the Island of Java.
Dutch East-Indies 1940 (Netherlands-Indies) MALANG Variety IRC with missing dot in border at top left
Indonesia 1956
Indonesia 1957 IRC, London type 16n, issued in Probolinggo, Indonesia.


IRC issued in Tabriz, 2022. IRC model "Abidjan".


Baghdad 1949 (بغداد) type Lo-XIVo with Baghdad in Arabic script.


IRC model London, Issued Dublin 1959

Isle of Man

Commonwealth Coupon - 1st July 1973
IRC 'Vienna Model" - 21st May 1975
IRC 'Lausanne Model' - 26th May 1977


Israel 1960
Israel 1976. Issued in Tel Aviv, model "Lausanne".


Italy 1959. Model "London". Issued in Venezia.


Japan 1931 issued in Shimanto (JP)
IRC Japan 2003 issued in Yokohama. Model Beijing.
Japan 2021 issued in Tokyo. Model Abidjan.


Commonwealth Coupon - 1st July 1971
IRC 'Vienna Model'(Pre-Decimal) 1st October 1969
IRC 'Vienna Model'(Decimal) 1st July 1971
IRC 'Lausanne Model' - 1st July 1981
IRC 'Beijing Model' - 2nd March 2004


Jordan 1953 IRC issued in Jerusalem. IRC model "London"
Jordan 1954 IRC issued in Amman. IRC model "London"
Jordan 2004 IRC issued in Irbid. IRC model "Beijing"
Jordan 2011 IRC issued in Amman. IRC model "Nairobi"
Jordan, issued at International Exchange Center P.O. 2020. IRC model "Istanbul"


Kenya. IRC issued in Eldoret 1968. Not used yet. IRC model "Vienna".


1960 Issued in Pohang (South Korea) Model "London"
2020 Issued in Guangju (South Korea) Model "Istanbul"
2021 Issued in Gwangju (South-Korea). Model "Abidjan"


KUT 1940 Imperial Reply Coupon of Kenya, Uganda and Mandated Territory of Tanganyika type Im 3 (watermark B), issued in Mombasa (Kenya)
KUT 1965 Kampala Uganda


IRC issued in Riga (Letland-2019), used in Toompea (Estland-2020), model "Istanbul"
IRC issued in Riga (Letland-2021), Used in Berlin (Germany). Model "Abidjan"


Luxembourg-2, 2019. IRC model "Istanbul"
Luxembourg-4000, 2021. IRC model "Abidjan"


issued Rua do Campo (Macau) 2024. IRC model "Abidjan"


Madagascar 1956 Tananarive

Malaysia (and Malaya)

Federation of Malaya 1959 Issued in Kuala Lumpur


Mauritius 1959 Issued in Port Louis. IRC model "London".
Mauritius 2006, "Beijing Model No 2", not used.
IRC Mauritius model "Istanbul". Sent 2018 from Port Louis (Mauritius) to Istanbul (Turkey).


Morocco, model "London". Issued in Casablanca - MAROC
Morocco, model "London". Issued in Kenitra - ROYAUME du MAROC
Morocco, model "Istanbul". Not used - MAROC


Mozambique 1954


Netherlands 1909, model "Rome"
Netherlands 1920, model "Rome"
IRC source Rotterdam, 1960, type "London".
Netherlands 1970 - Bussum, model "Vienna"
Netherlands 1972, model "Vienna"
IRC Hengelo issued in 1975, type "Lausanne" 110c 1975.
Netherlands, unused type "Seoul" (1998), which is a modified version of type Lausanne (1975), new code CN 01, 1998

New Caledonia/Nouvelle Caledonie


New Zealand

New Zealand 2014. Model 'Doha'. Sent from New Zealand, used in Riga (Latvia).


IRC Norway, issued in Hamar 2014. Model "DOHA/Nairobi".
IRC Norway, issued in Oslo 2021. Model "Abidjan".

Papua New Guinea

IRC Papua New Guinea, issued in Wewak 1993. Model "Lausanne".


IRC Poland 1938. IRC model "London".
IRC Poland 2014. Issued in Zgorzelec. IRC model "DOHA/Nairobi".
IRC Poland 2020. Issued in Lodz. IRC model "Istanbul".
IRC Poland 2022, issued in Warsaw. IRC model "Abidjan".


IRC emission in Lisbon 1995. IRC model "Lausanne".


2013 'Nairobi' Model
2018, model "Istanbul"
2021, issued in Tiong Bahru. Model "Abidjan"


2005, model "Istanbul"
IRC issued in Bosnavske 2021. model "Abidjan"

St Helena

St Helena 1962

South Africa

South Africa Issued in Durban 1927
Cape Town 1958, South Africa, Type London


Spain 1910
'Istanbul' Model Spain "Unused'


Suriname. Issued in Paramaribo 1992, used in Curacao 1993. IRC model "Lausanne".


Sweden 1909, IRC model "Rome".
IRC Sweden used Stockholm 1948. IRC model "London".
IRC Sweden used Stockholm 1975. IRC model "Lausanne".


Swaziland 1973


Switzerland, not used copy, Model "Abidjan" 2021


Damascus 1937. IRC Model "London".


IRC model Istanbul. Emission of Thailand 2017 (Bang Lamung), used in Letland 2019 (Riga).


IRC mode "London". Tunisia 1962 Tunis
Tunisia, Model "Beijing". Emission in Ben Arpous 2006. Not Cashed yet.
IRC mode "Abidjan", Not used.
IRC mode "Abidjan", issued in 2022.


IRC issued in Bursa (Turkey) 2017. Model "Istanbul".


IRC Ukraine 2021 (not used). Model "Abidjan".

United Nations

United Nations 1957 New York cancelled. The coupons are the same for USA and UN but the coupons of the United Nations are easily recognized by the postmark which are found in four different types. Coupons of United Nations are not only issued by UN´s post office in New York but also in Geneve, Schweiz and Vienna in Austria. This is US coupon, type Lo-16u, issued 17 July 1957.

United States of America

USA 1969 Decatur Illinous, model "London" (1930?)
USA 1972 Miami Post Office Issue, model "Vienna"
USA 1989 Wayne Post Office Issue, model "Lausanne"
model "Nairobi" Kansas City 2012

Vatican City

Vatican City, 'Doha' model Emission of 2014.
Vatican City, 'Istanbul' model Emission of 2018.


IRC South-Vietnam issued in Rach-Gia 1974. Model "Vienna".
IRC South-Vietnam, not used. Model "Istanbul. To be used before 2022.


Sold in 1937
Sold in 1997