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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.