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An issuer is anything that produces and distributes stamps.
Issuers include countries, governments, postal administrations, states, occupations, companies, charitable organizations, and even individuals - for instance forgers.
An issuer has several properties:
Name: The name should be unique among issuers.
Type: (or 'what', for 'what it is')
Region: a sub-country region to which the issuer belongs. Example: Hupeh
Country: the country to which an issuer belongs. This is empty for issuers that are themselves countries.
Occupier/Host: In the case of occupations, this is the country doing the occupying, while for post offices, this is the country in which the office is located.
Description: a textual description of the issuer. This is a brief summary of what the issuer is/was, its origins, relationships, and ultimate fate, if it no longer exists. 1-3 paragraphs is good, for more depth there should be links to Wikipedia or other sites with more detail.
Area: Collecting areas to which the issuer belongs.
To 1940: the number of stamps issued up to and including 1940. This number is preferred to be exact, but may be approximate.
To 1990: the number of stamps issued up to and including 1990.
To 2010: the number of stamps issued up to and including 2010.
First stamps: the year in which the issuer issued its first stamps.
Last stamps: the year in which the issuer issued its last stamps. The value is 0 for entities that are presently issuing stamps. Note that the last day of validity may be several years after the last new stamp issues.
Sortname: this is used to establish the standard sort order for issuers. Filename: this is a legacy property referring to an old storage format.