Saturday, January 9, 2016

Spelling Bee in Postage Stamps

It's been a while since the last blog post discussing errors in spelling on Indian postage stamps. Here are a couple recent ones. Both these stamp subjects were recognized in the new definitive stamp series, Makers of India. One of them, Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1901-1953) was also honored with commemorative postage stamps in 1978 and 2001. The first stamp in 1978 had English rendering of Mookerjee's name in a signature form, but the second one in 2001 showed his name typo-graphed in English and Hindi. It appears that Mookerjee's name in both the commemorative stamps is spelled similarly, but the new definitive stamp (2015) is quite different. So, now there are two variations of Syama Prasad Mookerjee's spelling. Why can't India Post use information from official documents such as Parliament records to confirm this prior to printing postage stamps? As far as the Hindi (Devanagiri) spelling goes, it is a well known tradition where the Mookerjee last name can also be replaced with Mukhopadhyaya as well. The problem here is that India Post puts this flexibility to full use. The stamp issued in 1978 and the new definitive stamp (2015) use Mukhopadhyaya, but the one from 2001 has Mookerjee on it. The Great India Post Confusion.

English renderings:
Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1978 and 2001)
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (2015)

Vernacular Hindi spellings:
Syama Prasad Mookerjee (2001)
Syama Prasad Mukhopadhyaya (1978 and 2015)

Another stamp released as part of the Makers of India definitive stamp series, is to honor Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. There have been two postage stamps released in his memory (1966 and 1988) prior to the most recent one last year (2015). The first stamp in 1966 shows Azad's name as Abul Kalam Azad, not using the Maulana title. The next one to celebrate his birth centenary in 1988 shows his name as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, but the one in 2015 changed the spelling for his title from Maulana to Moulana. This change not be a significant one, but the issue is about consistency. Firstly, India Post must try refrain from repeating stamp subjects, but if pressed, stamp designers on its artists panel should at least attempt for uniform naming convention for well known personalities, institutions or events. Here's hoping things will be better in 2016.

English renderings:
Moulana Abul Kalam Azad (2015)
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1988)
Abul Kalam Azad (1966)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

It's a wrap! Brief notes for stamp releases in 2015

Now that the calendar year is over, a rundown of some stamp facts seems in order.

India Post

Stamps: A total of 56 commemorative/special stamps were released in 2015. This marks an increase of 20 stamps over the last year (2014). This total of 56 stamps includes a set of 6 hot foil embossed stamps issued as a miniature sheet format only to commemorate the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit and one Indian stamp issued in a souvenir sheet format by Singapore Post to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and Singapore. 

Miniature Sheets: 11 miniature sheets including the hot foil embossed miniature sheet (3rd India-Africa Forum Summit) and the Siamese twin souvenir sheet issued by Singapore Post. It is not clear if some of the major catalogs will include this souvenir sheet, but it appears to include a valid Indian postage stamp and thus important for India stamp collectors.

MyStamps: A total of 4 MyStamps including 3 in the Gujarat theme and one to commemorate Godavari Pushkaram in Rajahmundry were issued in 2015.

Sheetlets & Se-tanants: The 2 sheetlets that were made available were both for the MyStamp issues (Gujarat & Godavari Pushkaram 2015). Only two se-tenants, both were from the Gujarat MyStamp sheetlet.

United States Postal Service

Stamps: A total of 81 commemorative, definitive and special stamps were released in 2015. Face value of commemorative stamps was approximately 13 dollars whereas the cost to procure one of each definitive and special stamp was 26.1 dollars. If there are discrepancies in the total number of stamps and their face value, leave a comment below.

Se-tenants:  The following 12 stamps were issued as se-tenants. Forever Hearts (2); Water Lilies (4); Martin Ramirez (5); Civil War 1865 (2); Gifts of Friendship (2 x 2); Medal of Honor: Vietnam War (3); Coastal Birds (4); Summer Harvest (4); 2016 World Stamp Show NY (2); A Charlie Brown Christmas (10) and Geometric Snowflakes (4)

Booklets: Only 4 booklets (each containing 20 stamps) were issued. These were Water Lilies, Summer Harvest, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Geometric Snowflakes.

Print quantities: This was seemingly an important feature of U. S. postage stamps in 2015. There were 10 stamp issues that were printed in quantities less than 20 million. Smallest quantities were printed for $2 patriotic wave stamp (10 million) and the largest quantity was printed for the Stars & Stripes Presorted standard Coils of 10,000 (1 billion stamps).

Friday, January 1, 2016

2008 Miniature Sheet MIA?

Source: Delhi Heritage Photography Club Facebook Page

Two miniature sheets, one each in 2008 and 2009 have yet to be released by India Post. Design for one of the two miniature sheets, to commemorate the Dilwara and Ranakpur temples (2009) was recently found on a social media platform. The stamp designer, as indicated on the miniature sheet and the information brochure was Sankha Samanta. One wonders why these miniature sheets were not put for sale. Anyway, let's try figure the design for the other stamp issue, the Aldabra Giant Tortoise (2008), which was designed by Suresh Kumar.

Dilwara & Ranakpur Miniature Sheet (2008), India Post
Information Brochure. Note the quantity of miniature sheet is given, but no credits for the designer