Tuesday, January 15, 2019

India Post Stamp Updates (2019)

Original Post (15 January 2019): Just beginning to build out the list of approved stamp subjects for the new year. It appears than India Post is continuing to use stamp subjects that were approved a couple of years back, especially the non-personality ones to plan new released. I actually don't mind this approach because it doesn't throw many surprises and relegate approved issues to the back burner. I know several stamp designers have been working on these remaining stamp subjects, so let's hope these come to light. On the other hand, stamps on personalities have been added as the years have gone by, with no particular bias toward the ruling federal government. It has generally been an even distribution for various states and types of personalities.

I've seen some social media posts with a definitive stamp on Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Rupees 2) being sold in some post offices. This is a welcome move. The stamp was possibly released on 25th December 2018, but that's yet to be confirmed.

Do share your thoughts about stamp subjects and releases for 2019. Happy New Year!

Non-personality Stamp Issues
Birds: Endangered & Critically Endangered
Boats of India
Bridal Costumes of India
Four Dhamas (Char Dham)
Fragrant Stamps (Chocolate, Strawberry, Fruits and Vegetables)
Historical Gates of Indian Forts
Indian Fashion (Series 2)
Indian Perfumes
Jataka Tales
Mehandi (Lawsona inermis)
Minerals of India
Musical Instruments (Chimta, Dotara, Ektara, Khartal, Tumbi)
Palace on Wheels
Shaktipeeth Temples (Kalighat, Kamkhya, Meenakshi, Vaishno Devi)
Terracotta Temples of India
Traditional Embroideries of India
Tribes of India
UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Series 2)
Wildlife – Flora & Fauna

Aga Khan Foundation
Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (60 Years)
Eastern Naval Command (50 Years)
HMS Minden & HMS Trincomalee (1810-1811)
Jallianwala Bagh Incident Centenary
Jamshedpur (India's First Industrial City)
India’s Participation in World War I
India-South Korea: Joint Stamp Issue
Induction of Pilatus PC-7 Mk II
University of Mysore

Acharya Bodhihdharma & Efflorescence of Zen Culture
Acharya Konda Laxman Bapuji
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Dr. B. P. Radhakrishna
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
Girdharilal Bhargava
Guru Nanak Dev (550th Prakash Utsav)
Lala Thunthee Mull
M. Balamuralikrishna
Mahamati Prannath
Mahatma Gandhi (150th Birth Anniversary)
Pandit Savai Gandharva
Professor Ram Chand Paul (Possibly in late-February)
Raja Todarmal
Sant Pipaji Maharaj
Swami Karpatri Ji
Vedanta Desikan

Sunday, January 6, 2019

BetterPhilately Wishlist for India Post Stamps

Original Post (04 Oct 2018): This post will be a source to aggregate stamp subject suggestions or ideas that India Post can use to design stamp programs for future years. I have posted some of this information in couple of other posts and on the twitter feed as well. The list is simply organized by year, and separately lists some other personalities, events and themes that I'd like to see being issued as postal stamps. Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments section below. When I make modifications, those will all be mentioned at the bottom of this post.

19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche
Acharya Bodhidharma
Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh
Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Special definitive stamp approved)
B. K. S. Iyengar
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (Approved)
Chandrakant T. Patel
Dhanraj Bhagat
Mahamati Prannath (Approved)
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi
Ramanand Sagar
Sikander Bhakt
Siyaram Sharan Gupt
Srimant Sankardev
Vedanta Desikan (Approved)
Vinda Karandikar

100 Years of Kheda Movement
100 Years of Sabarmati Ashram
The Maihar Band (100 Years)
The Yoga Institute, Mumbai (100 Years)

Amrita Pritam
Chandrashekhar Saraswati Mahaperiyavar
Guru Nanak Dev (550th Parkash Utsav)
I. K. Gujral
Maharani Gayatri Devi
Maniram Dewan
Queen Heo Hwang-ok (Korean queen from Ayodhya)
Raja Todarmal
Rana Kumbha (600th Birth Anniversary)
Shivmangal Singh Suman
Sudhir Phadke

50 Years of Commercial Nuclear Power – Tarapur
50 Years of Rajdhani Express
50th International Film Festival of India
150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (1869-2019)
Accessible Elections (Election Commission)
Auckland House School, Shimla
CMC Ludhiana
Doordarshan (60 Years)
High Court of Punjab & Haryana Centenary
ISRO - Golden Jubilee (Magalyaan, Chandrayan and Vikram Sarabhai)
International Labor Organization Centenary
Jallianwala Bagh Incident Centenary (Approved)
La Martiniere Girls’ College, Lucknow (150 Years)
Margazhi Music Season (Brahma & Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabhas)
Rajkumar College, Rajkot (150 Years)
Sherwood College, Nainital

Pandurang Shastri Athavle
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
36th International Geological Congress
Modern School, New Delhi
Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee

75 Years of India's Independence
India-Bangladesh: Joint Issue (50 & 75 Years of Independence)

Other Events & Organizations
Bishop Cotton School, Bengaluru
Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

Thematic Issues
Ancient Universities - Nalanda, Vikramshila, Taxila
Art & Culture
Caves - Ajanta, Borra, Ellora, Elephanta, Kanheri, Badami, Bhimbhetka, Kandagiri, Undavalli, Udayagiri
Dams and Reservoirs
Famous Libraries - Allahabad Public, Saraswathi Mahal, Amar Mahal, Asiatic Society Mumbai; Goa, Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana State Central libraries
Festivals - Kullu Dussehra, Holi, Chhath Festival, Janmashtami (Krishna Jayanti), Baisakhi, Raksha Bandhan, Ganesh Utsav, Eid Mubarak
Horses - Spiti and Kati
Iconic Railway Bridges
Indian Lakes - Bhoj Tal, Chilika, Dal Lake, Damdama, Hussain Sagar, Loktak, Naini Tal, Nal Sarovar, Pichola, Pushkar Lake, Sambhar, Suraj Tal, Vembanad, Wular
Indian Traditions
Joint Stamp Issues with Australia, Bhutan, Germany, Nigeria, Oman, Switzerland, UK, UAE, USA
Jyotirlinga Temples (12 designs)
Landmark Bridges - Dhola Sadiya, Bogibeel
Luxury Trains - Palace on Wheels, Deccan Odyssey, Golden Chariot, Maharajas Express
Master Healers of AYUSH - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Hakim Md. Ajmal Khan, Vaidya Shastri Shankar Daji Pade, Vaidya Bhaskara Vishwanath Gokhale, Vaidyabhushanam K Raghavan Thirumulpad, Rajvaidya Shri Brihaspati Dev Triguna, Dr. Babu Rajendra Lal Dutta, Swami Kuvalayananda, Hakim Md. Abdul Aziz Lakhnawi, Vaidya Yadavji Trikamji Acharya, Dr. Dinshaw Mehta, T. V. Sambasivam Pillai
Museums of India
Natural Heritage - National Parks and Tiger Reserves
Post Office Heritage Buildings
Railway Station Buildings
Social Causes - Blood donation, Organ donation, Heart health, Child safety, Prevent child mortality, Epilepsy awareness
Textiles - Chanderi, Maheshwari, Paithani, Jamdani, Kota, Sambalpuri, Angami Weaves, Tat
Toy Trains - Neral Matheran Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Other Personalities
Ashok Singhal
Babasaheb Apte
Banda Singh Bahadur
B. D. Jatti
Balasaheb Thackarey
Balasheb Deoras
Balraj Madhok
Chinmayananda Saraswati
Dattopant Thengadi
Dadu Dayal
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy
Dayanand Saraswati
Eknath Ranade
Gopal Swarup Pathak
J. Jayalalithaa
Kaka Hathrasi
K. R. Narayanan
Khushabhau Thakre
Madhukar Rao Bhagwat
Makhanlal Chaturvedi
Marnopant Pingley
Mohammad Hidayatullah
M. S. Golwalkar
N. Sanjeeva Reddy
P. V. Narasimha Rao
Rajendra Singh
Ramchandra Das Paramhans
Sachchidananda Vatsyayan 'Agyeya'
Satguru Ram Singh
Shivmangal Singh Suman
Sita Ram Goel
Siyaram Sharan Gupt
Swami Abhedananda
Swaraj P. Gupta
V. P. Singh
Jnanpith Award Winners
Cartoonists - Sudhir Pillai, Abu Abhraham, Mario Miranda
Musicians/Singers - G. M. Durrani, Mahendra Kapoor, P. B. Sreenivas

Issued by India Post
150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (02 Oct 2018)
200 Years of Paika Rebellion (24 Dec 2018)

Saturday, January 5, 2019

India Post Pending Stamp Proposals

Update (15 Jan 2019): Now showing the stamps on Greeting (2001) as issued in 2001 itself. Blog reader had pointed out, and I'm in agreement with the suggestion.

Update (05 Jan 2019): Added the list of approved stamps (2017-19) from the last PAC meeting of India Post in 2017. Many of the approved subjects were issued in 2017 and 2018, but the remaining subjects could be used for issuance in 2019 and beyond. I've included stamps on Jamshedpur and CIPET that were recently approved as well.

Original Post: I will post details for stamp subjects and proposals that have been submitted to India Post over the last two decades. This can be used as a source to track approved stamp subjects and dead issues.

Stamp Issues Approved, but Not Released
Set of 4 stamps on Dances of India
Set of 4 stamps on Hitopadesha and Jataka Tales (Approved)

India-Oman Joint Issue
SAARC Charter Day

Himalayan Lakes – Loktak, Suraj Tal, Naini Tal
Landmark Bridges – Coronation Bridge, Kandrour Bridge, Laxman Jhula, Godavari Bridge
Pramathesh Barua

Battaqh Ali Ansari

Festivals of India – Kulu Dussehra
Infantry Soldier – Year of Infantry
Jammu & Kashmir Light Regiment
Maulana Atikur Rehman Alvi
Mahanamrata Brahmachari

Architectural Splendor – Ujjayanta Palace, Patwon ki Haveli, Mattancherry Palace
Buddha Jayanti
Caves (Tracing Civilizations) – Bhimbetka, Barabar, Udaigiri, Nagarjuna
Children’s Fables – Vikram & Betal, Mogli, Tenali Rama, Birbal
Hill Stations (Colonial Heritage) – Gulmarg, Darjeeling, Ooty, Shimla
Endangered Species – Ganges River Dolphin, Nilgiri Tahr, Lion Tailed Macaque, Himalayan Musk Deer
Greetings – Christmas, New Year
House Boats – Kerala, Kashmir
National Gallery of Modern Art
Seasons of India
Shakti Temples – Kalighat, Meenakshi, Vaishno Devi, Kamakhya (Approved)
Unique Villages of India – Toda, Kutch
UN Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities

Asiatic Black Bear and other wild animals (Set of 4 stamps)
Boats of India (Set of 4 stamps)
Flowers of India (Set of 2 stamps)
Government College, Ajmer
Railway Bridges of India (Set of 4 stamps)
Traditional Embroideries of India - Chikankari, Kutchi, Kashmiri, Phulkari, Kantha
Tribal Dwellings (Set of 4 stamps)

Dr. Nilratan Sircar
India-Peru Joint Issue
South Asian Postal Union

Machali, The Tigress

Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu' (Approved)
Raja Todarmal
Sant Pipaji Maharaj
Swami Karpatri Ji

Birds: Endangered & Critically Endangered
Boats of India
Bridal Costumes of India
Four Dhamas (Char Dham)
Fragrant Stamps (Chocolate, Strawberry)
Historical Gates of Indian Forts
Indian Perfumes
Jataka Tales
Mehandi (Lawsona inermis)
Minerals of India
Musical Instruments (Chimta, Dotara, Ektara, Khartal, Tumbi)
Palace on Wheels
Shaktipeeth Temples (Kalighat, Kamkhya, Meenakshi, Vaishno Devi)
Terracotta Temples of India
Traditional Embroideries of India
Tribes of India
Wildlife – Flora & Fauna

Other Issues
Jamshedpur (India's First Industrial City)
Aga Khan Foundation
Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (60 Years)
Eastern Naval Command (50 Years)
HMS Minden & HMS Trincomalee (1810-1811)
India’s Participation in World War I
Induction of Pilatus PC-7 Mk II
University of Mysore

Acharya Bodhihdharma & Efflorescence of Zen Culture
Acharya Konda Laxman Bapuji
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Dr. B. P. Radhakrishna
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
Girdharilal Bhargava
Lala Thunthee Mull
M. Balamuralikrishna
Pandit Savai Gandharva
Professor Ram Chand Paul
Raja Todarmal
Sant Pipaji Maharaj
Swami Karpatri Ji
Vedanta Desikan

Pending Stamp Proposals
2018 Proposals
36th International Geological Congress (IGC)
60 years of Doordarshan
70 years 1st Olympic Hockey Gold Medal of Independent India
Accessible Elections by Election Commission India
Aero India 2019
Akhil Bharatvarshiya Jaiswal Jain Mahasabha
Centenary of International Labour Organization
Dhola Sadiya Bridge of Assam
Golden Jubilee of Howrah Rajdhani Express
Honey Bee
Kolkata GPO
Kumbh Mela 2019
Master Healers of AYUSH
Queen Pineapple (Tripura)

2017 Proposals
All India Management Association
Architectural Heritage of Pune
Bangiya Sahitya Parishad
Blue Star Limited
CMC Ludhiana
Erani Martyrs
Federation of Gujarat Industries
Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (50 years)
Guntur Municipality (150 years)
Haifa Victory
Institute of Company Secretaries of India
Madras High Court Heritage Building (125 years)
Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain
Musical Instruments Payed by Datta Peetham
National Commission for Women
National Housing development
Nilgiri Mountain Railway
Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana (50 years)
Rann Utsav
Sangam (Prayagraj)
St. Michael High School, Patna
World Blood Donors Day
World Thalassemia Day

Stamps Eventually Issued
2001 - Set of 2 stamps on Greetings (Issued on 18 Dec 2001)

Dead Stamp Issues
O. P. Jindal
Devaraj Urs
Jyoti Basu
Bhupesh Gupta

Sunday, November 25, 2018

India Post Stamp Updates (Oct 2018 onward)

Click here to the first half of 2018

Last Update (05 Jan 2019): This will be the final post for 2018 stamp issues. India Post delivered a surprise December with 10 stamp issues, majority in last two weeks of the month. After the stamp on Sabri Khan, the ones on Rajkumar Shukla and Gulabrao Maharaj were issued in quick succession. The stamp on Rajkumar Shukla was prematurely available since April 2018 and I'd shared images of letters posted with this stamp much earlier than the issue date on Twitter. MoS Communications dedicated the stamp on Shukla in New Delhi. A stamp was issued on Raj Kumar Shukla in 2000 as well. Print quantity of that stamp in 2000 was only 0.1 million and currently sells at a high premium. 

A stamp on philosopher and saint Gulabrao Maharaj was dedicated at a ceremony in Amravati district in Maharasthra. This stamp was approved and issued with no unexpected delays or problems. I'd shared issuance date of this stamp in late-September itself (click here).

Prime Minister of India had dedicated the National Police Memorial to the country on 21st October this year. This day is celebrated as Police Commemoration Day (Customized MyStamp was issued in Oct 2017). Within two months of inauguration of this memorial, the Prime Minister dedicated two stamps on the National Police Memorial at a Police officials conference in Kevadia Colony (where Statue of Unity is situated), Gujarat. The stamp was designed by Alka Sharma and is probably among the only decent design by this artist in the last several years.

A stamp on Paika Rebellion (Paika Bidroha) to celebrate its 200 years was issued on 24th December by the Prime Minister of India in Bhubaneswar. The bicentenary was actually completed in March 2017 itself, so the stamp issue was about 1.5 years delayed. Subir Das designed the stamp, which will likely be his last (information sheet shows his name as Late Subir Das). Alka Sharma helped design the first day cover. The stamp and FDC used images from a memorial in Odisha, and wasn't creatively the best. The stamp Vellore Mutiny (2006) was rather nicely done.

Another two personality stamps were issued last month. One on spiritual duo of the Swaminarayan-Gunatit sect of Hinduism, Kakaji and Pappaji Maharaj and the other on Maharaja Suheldev. Stamp on Kakaji and Pappaji was diamond shaped and dedicated at an event in Vadodara district, Gujarat during Kakaji's birth centenary celebrations. India Post had issued a stamp Kakaji Maharaj in March 2003 as well. This new stamp now includes Pappaji as well. India Post officials were present at the event in Gujarat. Prime Minister of India also dedicated a stamp on King Suheldev in Ghazipur (UP). Issuance of this stamp was announced by MoS Communications in February this year.

Now about the blockbuster stamp issues. It began with initiation of a new stamp series on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The first issue in the series was on Hill Forts of Rajasthan including Amer, Chittorgarh, Gagron, Jaisalmer, Kumbhalgarh and Ranthambore forts. Brahm Prakash designed the stamps in his classical style that uses photos of places/objects. The miniature sheet was in the stamp of UNESCO's logo, becoming the second odd-shaped sheet from India Post. The previous one was on Hockey World Cup in November 2018.

Prime Minister of India dedicated a record fourth stamp in December. This one was a set of three stamps to commemorate 75 years of first flag hoisting in Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar islands) by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The stamps were appropriately done by Sankha Samanta, depicting several details of the events that may have occurred in 1943 when Netaji visited Port Blair. The first stamp shows his arrival at the airport and receiving a guard of honor. The second stamp shows Netaji saluting the Indian flag and the third stamp has Cellular Jail as the main subject. Netaji had visited Cellular Jail in 1943 and this national monument has remained important for Indian freedom struggle. Similar to the Gandhi 150 stamp issue in October, denominations of these three stamps total to Rupees 75 symbolic of the 75th anniversary of this event. 

Yet another series of stamps appeared to have begun. This one on Indian Fashion. Suresh Kumar designed the first set of four stamps titled Indian Fashion - Through the Ages. The stamps show clothing and fashion from Harappan age to the Indian princely states. The stamps cover Harappa, Mohenjo-drao, Mauryan, Sunga, Mughal (Nur Jahan), Awadh (Ghazi-ud-din Haider) periods and Indian princely states.

The final commemorative stamps for the last year were a follow up on the Geographical Indication (GI) stamps. This set of stamps were on Handicrafts of India. All the five stamps show GI registered handicraft products. These along with the Handlooms of India stamps (August 2018) are probably among my favorite of 2018 and were designed by my favorite stamp artist, Kamleshwar Singh. Layout of these five stamp miniature sheet was identical between the Handicraft and Handloom stamps. Blue pottery of Jaipur, Palakkad Maddalam, Karnataka bronzeware, Kutch embroidery and Sikki grass products of Bihar are the five products shown on the handicraft stamps. 

Couple of other customized/corporate MyStamp sheetlets were issued as well. This wraps up another mega year in Indian philately. The year saw 117 commemorative stamps totaling to Rupees 1068 were issued. Along with these, 23 miniature sheets (Rupees 876) and 20 sheetlets (Rupees 2295) were also issue. The year saw only 5 se-tenant stamps being issued (CISF, Safdarjung Hospital, Prithviraj Chauhan, MyStamp-Andhra Tourism and MyStamp-IIT Bombay). Let me know if you need any additional information; I will try to find. Happy New Year.

India Post Commemorative Stamps in Dec 2018:
18 Dec - Rajkumar Shukla
19 Dec - Gulabrao Maharaj
22 Dec - National Police Memorial
24 Dec - Paika Rebellion
28 Dec - Kakaji & Pappaji
29 Dec - Maharaja Suheldev
29 Dec - Hill Forts of Rajasthan (UNESCO World Heritage Sites)
30 Dec - 75th Anniversary of First Flag Hoisting at Port Blair
31 Dec - Indian Fashion - Through the Ages
31 Dec - Handicrafts of India (GI Registered Handicrafts Products)

India Post Customized/Corporate MyStamp issues in Dec 2018:
15 Dec - MyStamp - Bangalore Club
18 Dec - MyStamp - SBI Hyderabad Branch (150 Years)

Update (16 Dec 2018): The typical last-minute rush to issue many stamps in December is on again. This is quite typical with India Post, when several stamps are printed, but delayed in issuance. All these stamps end up being released in December, to avoid confusion in the following year.

Toward the end of last month, a set of five stamps was issued during the Hockey world cup that is being played in Bhubaneswar (Odisha). Kamleshwar Singh did the design, which had some elements of local temples, deities etc on the miniature sheet that was shaped like an Olive Ridley turtle. It appears to be the first odd shaped miniature sheet issued by India Post. The stamps were issued by the Chief Minister of Odisha with government officials.

The first half of December did not see much activity, but many issues are planned for the remainder of the month. It began with the issuance of a stamp on Sarangi musician, Ustad Sabri Khan on 13th December by MoS Communications in New Delhi. This stamp was proposed for issuance in July-August this year, and I'd shared two stamp designs by Kamleshwar Singh back then on Twitter. One of these designs was issued as the final design.

Several MyStamps were also dedicated or put for sale in the last few weeks. Prime Minister of India issued the corporate MyStamp on 75 Years of Dainik Jagran, a news daily in Hindi in early December. Coincidentally, commemorative stamps have been issued by India Post on two previous editors (Narendra Mohan and Puran Chandra Gupta) of the newspaper and the new MyStamp shows both the editors as well. Another corporate MyStamp was issued in New Delhi on Maulana Azad Dental Institute. I recently also found a personalized MyStamp on Red Panda being sent to post offices, but I'm yet to see completed sheets out with collectors.

India Post Forthcoming Commemorative Stamps in Dec 2018:
18 Dec - Rajkumar Shukla
19 Dec - Gulabrao Maharaj
22 Dec - National Police Memorial
24 Dec - Paika Rebellion
28 Dec - Kakaji & Pappaji
29 Dec - Maharaja Suheldev
30 Dec - 75 Years of Azad Hind Government (First Flag Hoisting in Port Blair)

India Post Commemorative Stamps in Nov-Dec 2018:
28 Nov - Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 (5 designs)
13 Dec - Ustad Sabri Khan

India Post Customized MyStamps in Nov-Dec 2018:
07 Dec - MyStamp - Dainik Jagran
11 Dec - MyStamp - Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences
November - MyStamp - TNPL - Paper from Bagasse
December - MyStamp - Red Panda

Update (25 Nov 2018): It's been a quiet period last two months for new postage stamps from India Post. Barely any new stamps were issued in most of October and November. It must be a good reprieve for stamp collectors that were inundated with new stamps over the last two years. There are scored of pending stamp issues, which have been delayed or postponed. Maybe some of these will be issued in December 2018, let's see. I'm hoping a properly vetted stamp issue program is put out for 2019 and shared with collectors. In the meanwhile, here's a list of the few stamps that were released recently.

India Post Commemorative Stamps in Nov 2018:
03 Nov - 3rd Battalion The Rajputana Rifles (1818-2018)
14 Nov - Children's Day - Communal Harmony (2 designs)

India Post Customized MyStamps in Oct-Nov 2018:
29 Oct - MyStamp - World Stroke Day
11 Nov - MyStamp - Union Bank of India
Oct - MyStamp - Hyundai
Oct - MyStamp - ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad 

Update (20 Oct 2018): Apart from the circular stamps to start Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary celebrations, not much has happened in October. India's Prime Minister dedicated stamps in 7 designs showing different facets of Mahatma Gandhi's life during a sanitation event on 2nd October. These were the first ever circular stamps issued by India Post. A miniature sheet comprised of all 7 stamps (denominations of stamps symbolically total to Rupees 150) and individual sheets of 20 stamps each were issued. Similar to the Ramayana stamp issue last year, these stamps were showcased at all of India's embassies abroad. 

Many new stamp proposals and subjects have been approved for issuance, but not much has been done about fixing release dates. In response to an RTI application earlier this year, India Post had indicated a tentative release plan for several stamps, but most of that has not been followed through. Instead of issuing well designed commemorative/special stamps, a steady stream of corporate MyStamps are being issued. These customized MyStamps are quite expensive, and are less likely to be listed in stamp catalogs.

India Post Commemorative Stamps in Oct 2018:
02 Oct - 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

India Post Customized MyStamps in Sep-Oct 2018:
30 Sep - MyStamp - Dr. MGR & Selvi Jayalalithaa Memorial
04 Oct - MyStamp - Rayat Shikshan Sansthan
05 Oct - MyStamp - Narayan Seva Sansthan
12 Oct - MyStamp - National Human Rights Commission
Oct - MyStamp - Taj Connemara
Oct - MyStamp - Hyundai
Oct - MyStamp - ICMR - National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad

Update (14 Oct 2018): I'm back to add details for commemorative stamps issued in September and possibly cover MyStamps as well. The first stamp in September was issued in Bengalurur on freedon fighter Mahadevappa Mailar (1911-1943). Mailar was the only representative from Karnataka on Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi March in 1930. He was shot by the British along with two others while they were attempting to loot a temple in Haveri, Karnataka. The stamp was requested to be issued by Jagadish Shettar, former CM of Karnataka and MoS Communications obliged by being present at the dedication ceremony. Even though a sheetlet of 9 stamps has been issued, it doesn't seem to be available for sale on ePostOffice or many post offices. I wonder if SPP Hyderabad is still backlogged with this product like the Solar System miniature sheet, which has been unavailable for the last 7 months.

Yet another joint stamp issue was released in September - that's fourth straight month of joint stamps this year. Joint stamps between India and Serbia were planned to be released on 9th October, but then rescheduled for issuance in early September when India's Vice President was to travel to Serbia for an official visit. The trip was postponed due to the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and as a result the stamp was dedicated a bit later on 15th September when the trip finally happened. I've written a detailed post on these stamps showing Swami Vivekananda and Nikola Tesla, which was definitely a good choice by both the postal administrations. I don't really like the miniature sheet and first day covers prepared by India Post - there's not creativity in either. Gulistaan was the credited designer.

Two other stamps - Hislop College, Nagpur and Sant Ganinath were issued later in September. Minister of Shipping and Roads was present at the ceremony in Nagpur and MoS Communications dedicated the stamp on Ganinath in his parliamentary constituency, Ghazipur. The stamp on Ganinath was decently designed, showing the sage as an incarnation of Lord Shiva, but the one on Hislop College was among the worst stamp designs in recent times. I don't really understand why such low quality work is being approved for printing. Colleges typically have buildings that can be shown on stamps, worst just the logo may suffice. Vinita Sinha, who also did the stamp on Damodar Hari Chapekar designed this dull and lackluster stamp. It's quite disappointing that even though Kamleshwar Singh and Sankha Samanta work with India Post, but are not being engaged often enough to lead the design process.

On to MyStamps now. Let me make it clear that the customized corporate MyStamp sheetlets are probably not as important to collect, but the ones that can be personalized may be good to buy. India Post has been continually put both types of MyStamps for sale over the last few months. A series of 12 sheetlets, one each for zodiac signs was made available for purchase since early July. So was a sheetlet on the Ridge in Shimla. This is the second set of MyStamp sheetlets on Zodiac signs, after the first one in 2011 issued during Indepex 2011. August saw two personalized sheetlets being issued -  one on Kurinji flower and another one on Victoria Memorial, Kolkata. Kurinji flower blooms once in 12 years, and a commemorative stamp was released on its last mass flowering in 2006. This is also the second MyStamp on Victoria Memorial after the one in 2015, albeit a new design and a larger MyStamp this time around. For some unknown reason, ePostOffice has stopped selling personalized MyStamp sheetlets and is only selling the corporate ones with pre-printed tabs.

Lastly, the least interesting, customized MyStamp sheetlets. These are the expensive stamps issued at the behest of organizations or companies by making a payment to India Post. There is very little interest in stamp collectors to buy these and Scott catalog is not listing these either. I cover them, just in case some collectors plan to complete their MyStamp collection, given this is still valid postage. July saw a new size of MyStamp being issued. It was on Christ University Bangalore's golden jubilee. The sheet still contains 12 stamps, but the stamps are much longer than the standard size. Indian Paper Traders Association got a MyStamp printed and released on Paper Day, so did Ashok Leyland, the truck manufacturer. Lilavati Hospital got two types of MyStamp sheetlets printed and issued whereas Jharkhand Government paid to get a stamp on Karma Parab, a festival in Jharkhand.

This catches up to end of September for India Post stamps. Leave me a message below if there are any questions or comments. Apart from the circular stamps on Mahatma Gandhi, there hasn't been much activity to report in October.

Update (01 Oct 2018): Here you go. I'll start describing the stamp issues chronologically as they were issued from July onward. The stamp on ICAI - the organization dealing with certified accountants was nicely designed by one of my favorite stamp artists, Kamleshwar Singh. The stamp design clearly elucidates the role of ICAI and that occasion for issuance. It was issued in New Delhi by the President of India to celebrate 70 years of the institute. Will a stamp be issued on the Company Secretary Institute's golden jubilee as well?

Next was a stamp on the 90th birth anniversary of classical singer M. L. Vasanthakumari of the Carnatic music tradition. She was one among the trinity of modern Carnatic singers - other two being M. S. Subbulakshmi and D. K. Pattammal, both were earlier seen on stamps from 2005 and 2014, respectively. Sankha Samanta designed the stamp that was issued in Chennai Music Academy by India's defense minster and MoS Communications. Carnatic musician Sudha Raghunathan led the efforts to get the stamp proposal approved and issued. I remember Ms. Raghunathan also being present at the event for M. S. Subbulakshmi stamp release event at United Nations as well. Well done, madam.

The stamp on Damodar Hari Chapekar, freedom fighter from Pune was issued by the Speaker of Lok Sabha. This stamp along with one on Rajkumar Shukla were prematurely available in some post offices and I've seen several examples of these stamps being used on cover before official issue date. Surprisingly, the stamp on Rajkumar Shukla is yet to be issued and is being freely sold on eBay. I wish the stamp on Chapekar was issued as one that included all three Chapekar brothers and not just the elder one. Their heroic fight against the British rule was a combined effort and it would've been best to recognize them together, as previously done for Murmu brothers (2002) and Pandiar brothers (2004).

The second joint with South Africa within this year was issued in Johannesburg when the Prime Minister of India was traveling for the 10th BRICS Summit. The stamp sheet celebrates the birth centenary of Nelson Mandela and 125th year of Mahatma Gandhi's Pietermarizburg Station Incident. I've posted additional details for this and other joint issues with South Africa here, but here's another point to note. India Post's souvenir sheet for this issue is the size of regular printer paper, which is almost four times the size of South African sheet. I've also noted comments on Twitter about poor paper quality used by SPP Hyderabad. I really hope miniature sheet size is reduced in the future to make them aesthetically pleasing and friendly for stamp collection albums and stock sheets.

Hepatitis B and C are the major types of hepatitis and these two infections may not show for a long period. Timely testing and treatment are required to overcome potential threats from the disease. On World Hepatitis Day (28th July), India Post launched a stamp to create awareness about a new federal government program on Viral Hepatitis Control. The stamp deigned by Suresh Kumar shows a pair of hands acting as a protection for the liver and graphics depicting treatment and hygiene in the bottom half of the stamp.

August began with a set of stamps being issued on National Handloom Day (7th August). A well designed issue, again by Kamleshwar Singh, showed five textiles/products that have Geographical Indication registrations. Textiles/products included were Baluchari saree, Kashmir Pashmina, Ikat, Pochampally and Bhagalpur silk. The dedication ceremony was held in Jaipur, where the main event for Handloom Day was held. Initially the Textile minister, MoS Communications and Rajasthan Chief Minister were to attend, but none of them showed up and instead MoS Textiles came late for a brief stopover. So much, for weavers and artists.

India Post had solicited entries for a photography competition in June and July to showcase some holiday destinations in the country. Several thousand pictures were received and a two stamps along with a miniature sheet were issued on Independence Day (15th August). Crowdsourcing for ideas including the ones on stamps has been a consistent feature of this federal government and is a welcome change. The only gripe with these stamps was the denominations being high for no apparent reason and no mention of the actual placed shown on the stamps and philatelic products.

The stamp on Patna University, which was originally planned for issuance in January/February was finally released by HRD Minister in the centenary closing event in Patna on 25th August. Brahm Prakash designed the stamp exactly the same way as the one on Banaras Hindu University stamp last year - by creating a collage of university buildings. I don't mind this style, but once was enough. Anyways, this is an important school, and the stamp was worth the wait.

Finally, the much delayed joint stamp issue with Armenia was dedicated at an event in Yerevan on 29th August. After the delay in March and June, I was informed by the HayPost staff about a late-August release, and that turned out to be true. I was surprised to see that the Armenian dance form was changed last minute and that resulted in India Post having to redo its first day cover as well. The original plan was to include Manipuri and Berd dances, but eventually Aremnia decided to go with Hov Arek instead of Berd. I've posted details for the joint stamps here, go check it out.

That covers July and August commemorative stamps. I'll post more details for September issues as well as all the MyStamps shortly.

Update (30 Sep 2018): I know its been three months since this post was last updated, but I've been busy at work; also thinking of a couple of better ways to organize future stamp subjects and the BetterPhilately wish list. So here's the path I have in mind: I will continue to share information about the current and announced issues in individual posts, but maintain a separate post for wish list and another one for stamp proposals that have been submitted to India Post and may be considered pending. I have a list of over 500 stamp proposals that were given to India Post over the last decade. These can eventually all be categorized as dead proposals or the ones that still have potential. I will start doing this within 2018. Here's a quick list of stamps that were issued from July to September. I'll come back later and add some interesting details or anecdotes for each of the issues.

India Post Commemorative Stamps in Jul-Sep 2018:
01 Jul - The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (70th Year)
03 Jul - M. L. Vasanthakumari
08 Jul - Damodar Hari Chapekar
26 Jul - India-South Africa: Joint Issue (Mahatma Gandhi & Nelson Mandela)
28 Jul - National Viral Hepatitis Control Program

07 Aug - Handlooms of India - Geographical Indication registered (5 designs)
15 Aug - Holiday Destinations in India (2 designs)
25 Aug - Patna University (1917-2017)
29 Aug - India-Armenia: Joint Issue (Manipuri and Hov Arek dances)

03 Sep - Martyr Mahadevappa Maliar
15 Sep - India-Serbia: Joint Issue (Swami Vivekananda and Nikola Tesla)
15 Sep - Hislop College, Nagpur
23 Sep - Sant Ganinath

India Post Personalized MyStamps in Jul-Sep 2018:
07 Jul - MyStamp - Zodiac Signs (12 sheetlets)
09 Jul - MyStamp - 'The Ridge' Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
15 Aug - MyStamp - Kurinji
Aug - MyStamp - Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

India Post Customized MyStamps in Jul-Sep 2018:
11 Jul - MyStamp - Christ (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India
01 Aug - MyStamp - Paper Day (1st August)
24 Aug - MyStamp - Lilavati Hospital (Purple background)
24 Aug - MyStamp - Lilavati Hospital (Blue background)
07 Sep - MyStamp - Ashok Leyland - Ennore Plant (70 Years)
18 Sep - MyStamp - Karma Parab

Stamps Approved for Issuance
Thematic Issues
Birds: Endangered & Critically Endangered
Boats of India
Bridal Costumes of India
Four Dhamas (Char Dham)
Fragrant Stamps (Chocolate, Strawberry)
Historical Gates of Indian Forts
Indian Perfume
Jataka Tales
Mehandi (Lawsona inermis)
Minerals of India
Musical Instruments (Chimta, Dotara, Ektara, Khartal, Tumbi)
Palace on Wheels
Shaktipeeth Temples (Kalighat, Kamkhya, Meenakshi, Vaishno Devi)
Terracotta Temples of India
Traditional Embroideries of India
Tribes of India
Wildlife – Flora & Fauna

Other Issues
Aga Khan Foundation
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (60 Years)
Eastern Naval Command (50 Years)
HMS Minden & HMS Trincomalee (1810-1811)
India’s Participation in World War I
Induction of Pilatus PC-7 Mk II
University of Mysore

Acharya Bodhihdharma & Efflorescence of Zen Culture
Acharya Konda Laxman Bapuji
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Dr. B. P. Radhakrishna
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
Girdharilal Bhargava
Lala Thunthee Mull
M. Balamuralikrishna
Pandit Savai Gandharva
Professor Ram Chand Paul
Raja Todarmal
Sant Pipaji Maharaj
Swami Karpatri Ji
Vedanta Desikan

Stamps Issued from the approved proposals
150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi (02 October)
3rd Battalion Rajputana Rifles (03 November)
Children's Day - Communal Harmony (14 November)
Utkal University - 75 Years (27 November)
Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 (27 November)
Ustad Sabri Khan (13 December)
Rajkumar Shukla (18 December)
Gulabrao Maharaj (19 December)
Kakaji & Pappaji Maharaj (28 December)
Maharaja Suheldev (29 December)
Paika Rebellion (24 December)
UNESCO Heritage Sites (29 December)
Indian Fashion Industry (31 December)

Monday, October 15, 2018

United States 2018 - Stamp Releases & Designers

Click on the images to and right click to save. Print quantities of 20 million or less are highlighted in yellow.

I've not been able to post much about United States postal stamp this year. It was a busy year with some unplanned travel and work, but given the regular and detailed updates on usps.com, Linn's and APS, collectors are always able to find the relevant information, unlike India Post stamps. I'm posting print quantities and stamp artist details for all stamps issued in 2018 in the table below. I've noticed that over the last few years the number of stamps with less than 20 million print run has increased a lot, likely reflecting reduced use of stamps and mail. Surprisingly there was no postal stationary released and a butterfly stamp that was previewed last year was not issued this year either. Has that series ended? We'll have to wait to hear from the post office for more details. Let me know in the comments below if anything is missing or you'd like to see something else posted on here.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

India Post 2018 - Stamp Releases & Designers

Click on the images below to enlarge and right click to save. Small print quantities are highlighted in yellow.

Update (14 Oct 2018): I've finally managed to get around posting details for commemorative stamps and MyStamps issued by India Post from January until September. India Post's philately department was posting regular updates on social media until March this year and has gone completely missing since then and that has made finding print quantities and stamp artist information much difficult. Information brochures don't reach post offices in time to gather this either. Anyways, the tables below cover most of the year, but I will likely add a couple more updates, depending on the number of stamp issues in the last quarter of this year. Until then, enjoy.