- International reply coupon
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 be able to send someone in another country a letter, along with the cost of postage for them to reply. If the addressee is within the same country, there is no need for an IRC because a
self-addressed stamped envelope(SASE) will suffice; but if the addressee is in another country an IRC removes the necessity of acquiring foreign postageor sending appropriate currency.
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 airmailservices. As of 2006 an IRC is exchangeable in a UPU member country for the minimum postage of a priority or unregistered airmail letter to a foreign country.
As of February 2007, the current IRC is called "Beijing Model No. 2" and is available from post offices in more than 70 countries. They have an expiry date of
31 December 2009. IRCs are ordered from the UPU headquarters in Berne, 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.
Prices for IRCs vary by country; as of August 2007, the price was $2.00
USDwithin the United States. In the United States, the IRCs issued in any foreign country can be exchanged toward the purchase of postage stamps and embossed stamped envelopes at the rate of $0.90 USD per coupon. [cite journal |url=http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immc3_025.htm |journal=Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service - International Mail Manual|publisher= United States Postal Service|title=International Reply Coupons |issue=34 |date= 19 July, 2007|accessdate=2007-08-07]
IRCs are often used by
amateur radiooperators 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. [cite web |url=http://www.n6hb.org/s-a/irc.htm |title=International reply coupons |publisher=Amateur Radio Station N6HB |date= 2007-07-28|accessdate=2007-08-07]
The Ponzi scheme
The profit that 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 to a larger value in another country was the intended profit generator for a scheme operated by
Charles Ponzi, which became the fraudulent Ponzi scheme; in practice the overhead on buying and selling the very low-value IRCs precluded profitability.
The selling price and exchange value in stamps in each country were since adjusted to remove the potential for profit.
* [http://www.upu.int/irc/en/index.shtml UPU IRC main webpage]
* [http://www.n6hb.org/s-a/irc.htm IRC info]
* [http://www.para.org.ph/IRC Amateur Radio Hams IRC info]
* [http://www.ad1c.us/upu_rules_irc.htm Some IRC illustrations and exchange guidelines]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
international reply coupon — ˌinternational reˈply ˌcoupon also ˌinternational ˌpostal reˈply ˌcoupon noun [countable] a piece of paper that you can send when you write to someone in a foreign country and which they can use to buy stamps to pay for the postage needed to… … Financial and business terms
international reply coupon — A coupon that is exchangeable for postage (representing the minimum postage on an unregistered air letter) at post offices in member countries of the Universal Postal Union. The coupon is sold by post offices worldwide … Glossary of postal terms
International Reply Coupon — Muster IAS aus Italien neuer IAS, aus der Schweiz Ein Internationaler Antwortschein (IAS) (CRI, französisch: Coupon réponse international) (IRC, engl: International Reply Coupon) ist ein Kupon, der in Länd … Deutsch Wikipedia
international reply coupon — noun A prepaid international postage voucher … Wiktionary
International Reply Coupon - IRC — A coupon that can be exchanged for the adequate minimum postage required for unregistered priority airmail weighing up to 20 grams. Mail items utilizing IRCs must be sent only to another Universal Postal Union (UPU) member country. Although UPU… … Investment dictionary
International Response Coupon — Muster IAS aus Italien neuer IAS, aus der Schweiz Ein Internationaler Antwortschein (IAS) (CRI, französisch: Coupon réponse international) (IRC, engl: International Reply Coupon) ist ein Kupon, der in Länd … Deutsch Wikipedia
international postal reply coupon — /ˌɪntənæʃ(ə)nəl ˌpəυst(ə)l rɪ plaɪ ku:ˌpɒn/ noun a coupon which can be used in another country to pay the postage of replying to a letter ● Shee enclosed an international reply coupon with her letter … Marketing dictionary in english
coupon — The interest rate on a debt instrument expressed in terms of a percent on an annualized basis that the issuer guarantees to pay the holder until maturity. Chicago Board of Trade glossary coupon, coupon rate (1) The rate of interest received by… … Financial and business terms
Coupon — The periodic interest payment made to the bondholders during the life of the bond. The New York Times Financial Glossary * * * coupon cou‧pon [ˈkuːpɒn ǁ pɑːn] noun 1. [countable] FINANCE a small piece of paper attached to certain types of bond,… … Financial and business terms
Международная почтовая валюта — Образец лицевой стороны международного ответного купона с надписями на французском языке: юбилейный выпуск к 100 летию существования Международного ответного купона (Италия, 2007) Оборотная сторона купона Международный ответный купон,… … Википедия