Sunday, September 25, 2016

MyStamps: Personalized & Customized Stamps of India

Update (07 Jan 2017): The updated list of MyStamps for covering all of 2016 is posted below. In the last quarter of 2016, seven new MyStamp sheetlets were put for sale. Among them was the first MyStamp on a personality (V. Ramakrishna of KCP Limited, Chennai). Majority of the rest were corporate institutions, barring the one on World AIDS Day 2016. The MyStamp on ECGC and Indian School of Business was released by the President of India, the one on World AIDS Day 2016 by the Health Minister of India, V. Ramakrishna by the Urban Development Minister of India, National Insurance Company and State Bank of Mysore by the respective companies' leadership. The cost of collecting one sheetlet of each kind in 2016 exceeded Rs 10,000 and will likely deter stamp collectors from purchasing these stamps if the cost and number of issues remain similarly high in 2017. Let's wait and see what the cataloging companies list for these new MyStamps.
Click on the image to enralge
Update (25 Sep 2016): Quite a few MyStamp sheetlets have been issued in  the last few months. Most of these stamps have been made available for purchase on ePostOffice. Prices for these sheetlets vary between Rs 300 and Rs 1000, with most of the customized sheets being sold for Rs 500. The list below is now being categorized as Personalized and Customized along with the known sale price. Curiously, the Western Union MyStamp was released in May 2016, but not made available for sale until July and the design on the sheetlet being sold is different from what was published in news articles back in May. Customized MyStamps are here to stay. In reply to a question in Lok Sabha, MoS Communications informed the house that this was a planned scheme introduced by India Post to allow corporate and educational institutions to order a minimum of 5000 MyStamp sheetlets with a logo or design of their choice. No wonder a spate of customized sheetlets have been released this year. Collecting MyStamp sheetlets is indeed an expensive affair, so hopefully collectors can buy individual MyStamps from the secondary market to complete their collections. Linn's that publishes the Scott catalog has listed MyStamps with catalog numbers. See below for the catalog numbers.
Scott Catalog Numbers for India's MyStamps (Linn's Stamp News)
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Western Union MyStamp - Original design (left) and stamps sold on ePostOffice (right)
Update (26 Mar 2016): MyStamps have all been issued in sheetlet format. Some of the sheetlets contain more than one design as well, forming se-tenants of 2 or 4. Each of the MyStamps released so far have been in Rs 5 denomination. MyStamps are sold as complete sheetlets only, individual stamp are not sold by the post office. Price of each sheetlet ranges from Rs 240 to Rs 300,  rendering cost of each stamp to be between Rs 20 and Rs 25. Most of these stamps released after 2012 have been made available only in the relevant postal circles. For e.g. Ajanta Caves (2014) sheetlets were available only in Mumbai Maharashtra Circle, Red Fort (2014) in Delhi Circle and so on. This poses a challenge for philatelists to complete their Republic India collection. Now that ePostOffice is working well, it would be ideal to put up these sheetlets for sale online making it much easier to purchase MyStamps.

On a different note: Although, the Avila Convent, Coimbatore MyStamp release was delayed from 21 Mar, it was issued the very next day on 22 Mar 2016, by the Postmaster General and Jagat Shah (Mentor on Road) in Coimbatore. The school is selling the sheetlet in two different packs for Rs 1000 and Rs 2000. Similar to the recent Hindustan Aeronautics MyStamp sheetlet, this is also a customized stamp sheetlet and surprisingly contains Avila's email and website as well.

This approach of issuing customized MyStamps can be clearly seen to be going the Customized Greeting Card route that India Post had ventured in the early 2000s. Given that the MyStamps are actual stamp and not just pre-paid envelopes, it is important for India Post to restrict the total number of such customized postage stamps being released in a year. It is highly recommended that these stamps be made available to a stamp collectors at a minimum price and online.

Original Post: y now all philatelists with interest in Republic of India (Post-independence) stamps would be aware of MyStamps that India Post has been issuing since early 2011. The first set of stamps were released during the Indepex 2011 International Stamp Exhibition held in February 2011 in New Delhi. After success at this premier stamp show, other regional stamp exhibitions asked for the same stamps to be distributed in other cities as well. Since 2012, other philatelic events and even philatelic bureau have been providing there personalized or customized stamp sheetlets for collectors.

MyStamps have blank space next to an official India Post stamp. The post office upon submission of a photograph prints the image in the empty column of stamps on the sheet of MyStamps. Initially, it was unclear whether the MyStamp themes were modifications to previous issues or were new stamp releases. Over the last few years, it has become clear that one needs to collect MyStamps in order to have a complete collection of Republic India stamps.

Below is a list of MyStamps issued by India Post. Recently, the first customized MyStamp sheetlet was released to celebrate 75 years of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Sunday, September 18, 2016

India Post 2016 Stamp Program

Click on the images below to enlarge.

Update (19 Jan 2017): Here's the final update for stamps issued by India Post in 2016. This update was slightly delayed because details for many of the stamps released in late-December was still unavailable. All attempt has been made to provide accurate information, but drop a message if there are any errors or if you have any questions. The issues highlighted in yellow have relatively low print runs and it is suggested that collectors attempt to buy these and keep in their collection.
Update (17 Dec 2016): An update will be posted either in the last week of December or at the beginning of January 2017. Given that some pending issues for 2016 are yet to be released and India Post has not provided any information on the issue dates for the remainder for the stamps, it is difficult to provide accurate information.

Update (18 Sep 2016): Here's another update including India Post's stamp releases from  January to August 2016. There will likely be a barrage of stamps released in the last quarter, so keep checking the blog and our tweets to stay updated. It's been an interesting year for philately, to say the least. On a positive note, very few personality stamps were released while picking up some old stamp series like Orchids. On the other hand, limited release of stamp sheetlets and high denomination stamps have struck the wrong chord with a majority of the philatelists. Let's hope these issues get addressed soon. Until then, keep collecting.
Update (16 Jul 2016): Updating stamp releases for the first two quarters of 2016 covering January to June 2016. 

 
Update (07 May 2016): Updated stamp releases from January to April 2016.
 
Here's the list of stamp issues from January to March 2016. New additions will be made close to the end of each month. Enjoy.

O. P. Jindal stamp scheduled for release in March 2016 has been postponed.