1989. The FRAMA issue

Cyprus Post Office, the postal administration of this Mediterranean resort island, became interested in the benefits of automatic distributors of variable value stamps or ATMs, and in 1989 purchased and installed 2 vending machines, type FE 2510, from the Swiss company Frama. One distributor, number 001, was installed in the capital, Nicosia, and the other, number 002, in Limassol.

These distributors did not have buttons with programmed basic postage values. The user inserted coins to the face value of the stamp required. If the stamp was overpaid, the machine did not return any coins, but issued an ATM as change.
Frama distributors did not issue a receipt.

The ATM design printing came in different shades of pink-violet, and the distributors had the design on fixed print head plus 4 wheels of digits for the face value.
The user could obtain ATMs with any face value between 0.01 and 99.99 CYP, in steps of 0.01 CYP. The Cyprus philatelic service sold 5-value sets with the basic franking values: 0.05, 0.07, 0.15, 0.18 and 0.20

The first day of issue of the only Frama design was May 29th 1989. The gummed paper has a background security design depicting the Kyrenia, a 4th century BC Greek merchant ship. The rolls were manufactured in Switzerland, from a design by George Simonis.

Official first day covers. The philatelic service produced two illustrated covers depicting the Frama distributor. One for Nicosia (Eleftheria Sq. Post Office Nicosia No. 001) and another for Limassol (District Post Office Limassol. No. 002). Both covers includes the respective postmarks dated on the first day of issue.

1999. The AMIEL distributors. The ATM issue 'Cyprus moufflon'

After 10 years in service, the Cyprus Post Office decided to replace the older Frama distributors with the new SIMA 1020 vending machines, made by the French company AMIEL ELECTRONIQUE.
These distributors were installed outside different post offices, and were accessible 24 hours a day, offering a very simple operation. The user selected a language (Greek, French, English or German) and the small upper screen showed 1- selection of the value or values required from the programmed basic postage rates (usually 6 or 8), and 2- the quantity required (1 or 5 units). The screen then showed the total amount payable in coins. After issuing the ATMs, the distributor provided, on request, a receipt printed on thermal paper, and the change in coins or, if the machines did not have the necessary change, an unusual 'credit note' (see images below) also printed on thermal paper, encashable at the post office.
AMIEL distributor type SIMA 1020 installed at Ayia Napa (number 004)

Distributor number 004
Credit note for 0.01 CYP
Distributor 004
ERROR - Credit note for 995.00 CYP
(¡¡ 1740 EUR !! ) - Distributor 005

The first Amiel vending machine was put into service on May 12th 1999, coinciding with the opening of the new Postal Museum in Nicosia. On the date of issue, the distributor was programmed with 8 basic postage values: 0.11, 0.16, 0.21, 0.26, 0.31, 0.36, 0.41 and 0.75 CYP.
The face value was printed with blue-violet ink in the upper right corner, but the impression did not include the number of the distributor
AMIEL distributor number 003 in the Philatelic service, Nicosia (2.1.2002)

The first ATM issued by the new Amiel distributor is dedicated to the Cyprus moufflon (Ovis gmelini ophion), with a picture of the animal in a forest and, in the background, Mount Olympus.
The labels were manufactured on self-adhesive paper. The size is 50 x 24 mm. (53 x 27 mm. with the backing paper).

The 8 rolls of 1,500 labels (12,000 labels in total) manufactured with this first design were quickly sold out on the first day of issue, so today this issue can be considered a 'modern rarity'.
First day cover. The envelope was produced for the Europe 1999 stamp issue, but the illustration was also used with the new Amiel issue. It includes the postmark commemorating the inauguration of the new Postal Museum - 12.5.1999.

Having exhausted the rolls for the first issue, on the same day, May 12th, the Amiel distributor was fitted with new rolls but with some variations. The design is similar to the previous one, but it has a black frame edge and the sky is coloured blue, unlike the previous one which was white.

After this first successful test, 3 new Amiel distributors were installed on September 30th 1999 outside the post offices in Ayia Napa -number 004, Limassol - 005 and Paphos - 006, right picture-. These distributors were added to the machine in service in Nicosia -number 003-, which was moved to the capital’s main post office on June 23rd 1999, just a few weeks after the inauguration of the Postal Museum.

Distributor 004 - Ayia Napa Distributor 005 - Limassol

Taking advantage of the introduction of the new ATM vending machines, all of them using the same ATM design, the imprint finally changed, on September 30th 1999. The imprint in blue-violet ink was moved to the empty upper left corner of the label, and the distributor code number was added (003 in the picture).

First day cover with the final imprint, moved to the left. The illustrated envelope includes ATMs with 4 of the programmed values, and postmarked NICOSIA, CYPRUS 30. SP. 99. (Note the error: Vending Machine Postage Lapels).

On March 1st 2001 there was a change in postal rates, reflected in the values programmed into the distributors. From that date, the basic postage rates were reduced to 6 values. A - 0.14 (lowest possible value for printed papers to Cyprus and Greece), B - 0.21 (letters and postcards to Cyprus and Greece), C - 0.26 (Airmail postcards to all countries, and printed papers for zone A'), D - 0.31 (Airmail letters to zone A' -Europe and Mediterranean countries- and printed papers to zone B'), E - 0.41 (airmail letters to zone B' -rest of the world-) and F -1.00 CYP (additional value for express shipping).

Although rare, there are cutting and printing errors, as well as special imprints with the value shown as 0.00 and X.XX (impressions at the end of the rolls).

ATM with value 0.00 ATM stained with ink Cutting error - Continuous strip

2002. ATM issue 'Wild flowers of Cyprus'

The first series of 5 ATMs, for the 4 Amiel distributors in service, were released on January 2nd 2002. The series is dedicated to the diverse wild flora of Cyprus, with 5 designs that appear consecutively on the rolls.
The self-adhesive paper labels are manufactured in Nicosia by Christos Papachristoforou Ltd., from photographs by Takis Demetriades (AFIAP

Cytinus Hypocistis Ranunculus Asiaticus Romulea Tempskyana Freyn
Silene Aegyptiaca Sarcopoterium Spinosum

As with the previous design, these ATMs could only be obtained with the 6 values programmed into the distributors, which make up the sets - 0.14, 0.21,0.26, 0.31, 0.41 and 1.00 CYP and, in turn, with the 5 codes of the ATM vending machines in operation (003 to 006, plus 007 - installed in September 2002, see list below).  
Official first day cover with 2 of the ATMs and first day postmark

ATM with value 0.00
Double impression on the ATM: X.XX + 0.14
Imprint value vertical displacement Leaflet of the new ATM issue, by the philatelic service Cutting error

6 new Amiel distributors were installed in May 2002 in post offices around the country, and yet another in Larnaca -number 007- on September 12th 2002. From that date, there are 11 Amiel ATM vending machines in service.
The code printed on ATMs is for the postal district where the machine is situated. All the distributors installed in the same district issue ATMs with the same code number

Post office District Code First date in service
1. Philatelic Service Nicosia 003 May 2002
2. District Post Office Nicosia 003 May 12th 1999
3. Eleftheria Square Nicosia 003 May 2002
4. Ayia Napa Famagusta 004 September 30th 1999
5. Paralimni Famagusta 004 May 2002
6. Limassol District Post Office Limassol 005 September 30th 1999
7. Limassol City Centre Limassol 005 May 2002
8. Germasoyia Limassol 005 May 2002
9. Kato Paphos Paphos 006 September 30th 1999
10. Paphos City Centre Paphos 006 May 2002
11. Larnaca District Post Office Larnaca 007 September 12th 2002

2003. The Amiel Top Stamp postal kiosk. The 'Postal emblem' ATM issue

A new Amiel postal kiosk, Top Stamp model, was installed in May 2002 in the Eleftheria Square post office, in Nicosia.
From July 1st 2003, this equipment used exclusively another type of roll of self-adhesive labels, with the postal emblem of the logo of Cyprus Post.

This postal kiosk is identical to those installed in post offices in New Caledonia, with the exception of the credit card payment option, which is not available in Cyprus. The machine is fitted with a scale that allows the calculation of the postage rate for any shipment, and the issue of the stamp (ATM) with the appropriate value. ATMs can also be obtained from it with the different values of programmed basic postage rates.
Unlike other ATM vending machines installed in this country, this kiosk does not print the code on the ATMs

On January 1st 2008, the Cyprus pound (£), the Cyprus national currency, was replaced by the European currency, the Euro. Following this change, all the Amiel vending machines in service were adapted to the new currency, and they started to issue ATMs with the face value in Euros as of June 9th 2008.

2005. ATM issues 'Spring'

Following the magnificent releases dedicated to the flora of Cyprus, on March 3rd 2005, the Philatelic Service issued the Spring series - a new series with 2 floral designs.

The new issues, which appeared consecutively on the rolls, replaced the Wild flowers series that had been used in the Amiel distributors since January 2002.
The labels, on self-adhesive paper, were manufactured in Nicosia by Christos Papachristoforou Ltd., from great photographs by Glafkos Theofylaktou. The label size is 50 x 24 mm. (54 x 27 mm. with the backing paper).
The ATM distributors printed the face value and machine number with a dot matrix printer, using blue/purple ink.

The first design shows the apricot flower (Prunus armeniaca), a fruit tree native to China and India that has adapted very well to the climate of the Mediterranean countries.
The second design is devoted to the poppy (Papaver rhoeas ssp. Rhoeas), a wild plant with red flowers, very common in Mediterranean countries.

As in the Wild flowers of Cyprus issues, this new series could be obtained only with the 6 values programmed into the distributors, who make up the complete button sets: 0.14, 0.21,0.26, 0.31, 0.41 and 1.00 CYP and, of course, with the codes of the 5 Amiel distributors in service (003 to 007).
Illustrated official first day covers were also produced for this issue.

By adapting Amiel distributors to the new currency, this series could be obtained also with a face value in Euros as of June 2008.

The 6 new programmed values into the Amiel distributors were: 0,24 - 0,36 - 0,45 - 0,53 - 0,70 - 1,71 EUR.

2010. ATM issues 'Cyprus moufflon' (2010)

The Cyprus Philatelic Service launched two new ATM releases on January 27th 2010, to be issued from the Amiel - Sima 1020 distributors.

The series is again dedicated to the Cyprus moufflon (Ovis gmelini ophion), a recurrent theme not only for ATM issues, but also for other philatelic releases in this country (right picture, first day cover of the WWF stamp series, dedicated in 1998 to the Cyprus moufflon). Not surprisingly, the Αγρινό (Agrino) is an endemic species and, after reaching an extreme-danger-of-extinction in the early twentieth century, is the most significant representative of the Cyprus fauna.

The designs are by the artists Melanie Efstathiadou and Glafkos Theofylaktou, Nicosia. The rolls of self-adhesive labels were manufactured by Christos Papachristoforou Ltd.

On the date of issue, the Amiel Sima 1020 distributors were programmed with the 6 basic franking values 0,24 - 0,36 - 0,45 - 0,53 - 0,70 - 1,71 EUR, the only possible values for this issue until the next postage rate change.
It is possible to obtain these ATMs with 5 different distributor codes, corresponding to the district where the machine is located: 003 - Nicosia, 004 - Famagusta, 005 - Limassol, 006 - Paphos and 007 - Larnaca.

Official first day cover. Covers with the 6 values making-up the complete button set, and commemorative postmark

Maximum cards with the 2 ATM issues

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This page was created in February 2002 and last updated:  28.02.10 . English edition rewritten by S. Goodman (28.2.2010)