Friday, December 23, 2016

Can Philatelists help India Post plan for 2015-2022?

Update on 23 Dec 2016
Update on 03 Dec 2016
Update on 26 Nov 2016
Update on 17 Nov 2016
Updated on 10 Sep 2016
Updates on 20 Aug 2016 (Pink font)
Updates on 06 Aug 2016 (Red font)
Updates on 16 Jul 2016 (Purple font)
Updates on 15 May 2016 (Green font)
Updates on 16 Mar 2016 (Orange font)
Updates on 14 Feb 2016 (Blue font) 

Update (10 Sep 2016): A sub-section has been added toward the end of this post to list all the stamps that eventually get released from the proposals listed below. A few minor updates to some stamp subjects have been added as well. Appreciate the feedback and comments from all the readers. Keep'em coming.

Update (06 Aug 2016): Just re-organized this post while keeping all the information unchanged. Dates and colors indicated below will allow easy navigation.  Black font was the original post and additions or updates are in different colors and each color represents a specific date. Post a comment if there's a question. Enjoy.

There are numerous stamp issues that were put out by India Post for release in a particular year, but have not yet been released. Since the subjects were shared with the public, I am assuming these issues were approved for release. Many of these morphed into different stamp subjects. There could be various views about the list below, but one can be objective about it to help increase accountability and transparency in the process of selecting and issuing stamps.

I will try provide perspective to some of the stamp subjects hoping that these stamp releases languishing in Dak Bhawan (India Post HQ) will see the light of day. The stamp for Mumbai Stock Exchange was to commemorate 125 years of the stock exchange. Was this pulled out because it could be seen as an anti-poor move? Other issues for 2001 should be brought back, redesigned and released. Especially, the Jataka Tales and Hitopadesha stamps. The Panchatantra Stories stamps released in 2001 were quite popular and I remember hearing from our philatelic bureau those stamps being the highest seller for 2001. The Jataka Tales and Hitopadesha stamps can be released in two sets and complete a Folktales of India series (comprising of all these three folktales).

Joint issues were planned with Oman (2005) and Peru (2013), but were never released. I believe the issue with the Peru joint issue was that Peru released their stamp in March and India Post was not ready with its version. Although planned to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations, the joint issue with Oman was also not released as planned.

SAARC could have had two stamp issues - one for 20 years celebration in 2005 and the other one for South Asian Postal Union. SAARC has had a troubled history with little progress made on the ground. It would not be surprising if the Charter Day issue was abandoned due to political reasons. The SAPU stamp was overcast with the Wild Flowers of India issue during the APPU Congress in New Delhi (2013). In the past some SAARC stamps had good themes and designs - Year of Youth (1995), Year of Shelter (1991), 10 year celebrations (1996). Planning to release the pending issues will add to the new vigor with neighborly relations.

Pramathesh Barua was part of the Legendary Filmmakers series planned for release in 2006. Neither was this series started, not was a stamp released on Barua. Instead, stamps on  most other filmmakers were released individually (A. V. Meiyappan, Bimal Roy, Mehboob Khan, Ritwik Ghatak, L. V. Prasad).

On the other hand, the Himalayan Lakes, Landmark Bridges and Horses of India series were put in place, but some of the originally included subjects were not released. It would be ideal if these series can be continued with newer additions along with the ones that were intended for release but not included in the first issuance. A similar issue existed with stamps issues under the Festivals of India and Textiles of India stamp series. Honest opinion for Textiles stamps - Tat and Chanderi textiles were dropped to include Kalamkari (Andhra; Panbaka Lakshmi was MoS Textiles in 2009) and Apa Tani textiles (Arunachal; attempt to include North-East India).

A large set of stamp subjects (Calendar Stamps) were publicized in 2009 in the short lived Phila Post magazine. None, make note, none of these stamps have been released so far. Like the India Post-PCI collaboration on the magazine, PAC's idea of Calendar Stamps did not take off. The stamp subjects were terrific and would have done yeomen service to spread Indian culture across the world, but sadly nothing was achieved.

This post is getting quite long. I will rest my case here. This list should be used for furthering discussions with India Post and Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad (MoCIT) about stamp issues and recommendations for future releases. These stamp subjects alone should provide enough material for the next few years, leading up to the 75th Year of India's Independence (Amrut Mahotsav in 2022).

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

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
Maulana Mehmood Hassan
Mahanamrata Brahmachari
Textiles of India – Tat and Chanderi

Architectural Splendor – Ujjayanta Palace, Patwon ki Haveli, Mattancherry Palace, Rani ki Vav
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
Horses of India – Spiti and Kati
House Boats – Kerala, Kashmir
National Gallery of Modern Art
Seasons of India
Shakti Temples – Kalighat, Meenakshi, Vaishno Devi, Kamakhya
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)
Step Wells of India – Maharaja Agrasen Baoli and other (Set of 4 stamps)
Traditional Embroideries of India - Chikankari, Kutchi, Kashmiri, Kantha
Tribal Dwellings (Set of 4 stamps)

Dr. Nilratan Sircar
India-Peru Joint Issue
Means of Transport through the Ages
South Asian Postal Union
Traditional Indian Handfans

Jyoti Basu
Machali, The Tigress

Bhupesh Gupta (Likely to be released in 2016)
D. Devaraj Urs (Likely to be released in 2016)
Mahabharata & Ramayana

The following subjects should be/are being considered for release in the next few years as well:
Banaras Hindu University
Balasaheb Deoras
Bhisham Sahni
Banda Singh Bahadur
Bishop Cotton School, Bengaluru
Delhi High Court - Golden Jubilee
Eknath Ranade
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
International Year of Pulses
Mathura Refinery
Nanaji Deshmukh
St. Mary's School, Pune
St. Mary’s Convent Inter College, Allahabad

70 Years of Independence
100 Years of Champaran and Kheda Movement
Amritlal Nagar
Auroville (Golden Jubilee)
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai
FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017
Hindu School, Kolkata
India-Armenia: Joint Issue (Approved for release in 2017)
India-Russia: Joint Issue
India-UN Joint Issue: International Day of Yoga
Lions International Centenary
Montfort Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School, Yercaud
Presidency University, Kolkata
Srimad Ramanujacharya
Srimad Rajchandra
Swami Abhedananda

Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Rajkumar School, Rajkot
Sikander Bakht
Nelson Mandela
Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha
Srimant Sankardev
Vinda Karandikar

150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi
CISF - Central Industrial Security Force
High Court of Punjab & Haryana Centenary
Sherwood College, Nainital
St. Aloysius Senior Secondary School, Jabalpur
Amrita Pritam

Modern School, New Delhi
36th International Geological Congress

Stamps Released, Eventually
2001 - Mumbai Stock Exchange (To be released in July 2016; released on 09 Jul 2016)
2012 - Indian Metal Crafts (Set of 2 stamps) (To be released in Aug 2016 as a set of 6 stamps, released on 26 Aug 2016)
2015 - Fire Services in India (Released on 14 Apr 2016)
2016 - Singers of India (To be release in 2016 as Legendary Singers of India) -  Issued 31 Dec 2016
2016 - Acharya Vimal Sagar (Approved for release in 2016) - Issued on 14 Dec 2016
2016 - Samrat Vikramaditya - Issued on 22 Dec 2016
2013 - Headgears of India - Issued on 10 Feb 2017

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Legend in the Making: Legendary Singers of India Stamps

Update (22 Dec 2016): The last word on this story had yet to be said. India Post will release the Legendary Singers of India stamps on 31st December 2016. Sheets of 45 stamps for each singer is being sold on ePostOffice for pre-booking. This does again raise the question about commemorating the same singers with a second stamp (six out of 10). We highly recommend that the list at the end of this post must be considered for issuing stamps on India's well known singers.

Here begins another saga with recalling of Indian postage stamps from all philatelic bureaus (after Guru Granth Sahib stamps in 2005). This current one dates back to July 2015. After a meeting of the Philatelic Advisory Committee of India Post, it was announced that series of stamps would be released on singers, writers, dancers, painters and freedom fighters. The first series of stamps were to be released on legendary singers of India. The Minister along with senior department officials must have decided on a set of names of playback singers of Indian cinema to be commemorated with a set of stamps. The following ten singers were chosen:

Shamshad Begum
Manna Dey
Geeta Dutt
Bhupen Hazarika
Hemant Kumar
Kishore Kumar
Talat Mahmood
Mohammed Rafi
T. M. Soundararajan
BetterPhilately had reported this on 04 April 2016 (, while pointing out that stamps had been previously released on 6 out of 10 (highlighted in blue) personalities selected this time around. Within a few days, some other options for famous playback singers was provided on the BetterPhilately twitter feed ( Now it has been reported on Facebook that these stamps along with the miniature sheet of 10 designs have been recalled by India Post. All philatelic centers have been asked to send the stamps back to New Delhi. What led to this adhoc decision?

- Was there a realization in India Post that these stamps do not well represent all regions of India?
- Were these postage stamps released prematurely by some philatelic offices and this recall will help identify the culprits? Returns from whichever post office do not match the quantity originally sent could be easily found.
- Are there some errors in printing or logistical issues behind the release?
Stamps recalled: Legendary Singers of India (Source: Pan India Pictorial Place Cancellations Facebook Page)
We recommend this series of stamps be re-considered and the following singers be instead commemorated on Indian postage stamps:
Shamshad Begum
Manna Dey
G. M. Durrani
Mahendra Kapoor
Talat Mahmood
T. M. Soundararajan
P. B. Sreenivas

Sunday, December 18, 2016

India's XI Definitive Stamp Series - Makers of India

Update 5 on 18 Dec 2016: It's been quite a while since this post was last updated. The key points to note is that most of the stamps, except four of the planned 27 stamps have been issued and available for purchase on ePostOffice or at the local post offices. The stamps that were put on sale in the second and third quarter of 2016 are listed below along with the ones that are yet to be issued. We urge India Post to put the remaining four stamps in circulation as soon as possible, to complete this new definitive series.

Released Q2 2016 onward
Bhimsen Joshi
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Jawaharlal Nehru
Maharana Pratap
M. S. Subbulakshmi
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Subhash Chandra Bose

Pending stamps
Gopinath Bordoloi
Mother (Saint) Teresa
Rabindranath Tagore

Update 4 on 01 Apr 2016: A lot of the definitive stamps in this series are now available across many post offices and even online at ePostOffice. Just posting an update to the grid/list below. Green indicates that the stamp has been sold at at least one post office in India. Although not technically sound, it appears to be an overall good decision to have started a new definitive stamp series. It has a much needed freshness to it. Happy Collecting!
Update 3 on 23 Jan 2016: Sharing an image for 19 of the definitive stamps for this new stamp series. Only a handful of them (8 more) remain to be seen. Some of these might be available soon. Let's go looking for these stamps on mail or in local post offices.

Update 2 on 18  Dec 2015: Here's a major overhaul of the Makers of India Stamp Series. Below is a final version of the stamp series with a total of 27 personalities and one Yoga stamp. The denominations for all the stamps is shown as well. Better Philately is most likely the first source of this information for philatelists. Happy Holidays!

A few points of note: 
1. Gopinath Bordoloi has been included in the stamp series, so have Srinivasa Ramanujan, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Thiruvalluvar. 
2. Karpuri Thakur no longer features on the final list.
3. An additional stamp on Yoga (25 Paise) will also be released along with the personality series. There was even a mention of inland letter cards or airmail letter cards with the Yoga theme as well.
4. There will be no 2 Rupees or 15 Rupees stamps in this definitive series.
5. Removed references to release dates. Neither official dates for first day of issuance are being announced nor first day covers are being provided. So, it doesn't provide a fair opportunity to know the stamp release date for this series.

Update 1: Added Bhagat Singh, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Moulana Abul Kalam Azad and Ram Manohar Lohia stamp date and denomination. Appears to be an odd move to release a bulk of the new stamps in 5 rupees denomination.

As a response to the less representative Builders of Modern India stamp series, a new one is being put in place. As of early December 2015, seven 5 Rupees stamps have already been released. This new list has not been put out officially, but is a guess based on news information in the last few months. Mainstream media had enjoyed a week long spectacle when the Indira and Rajiv Gandhi stamp sales were halted in July 2015. Government officials presented their case during this time and provided insight into this new stamp series as well. Three of the guesses have so far been accurate based on this list. Additional updated for first known sale date will be added as it becomes available. There will be no first day covers (FDC) or an official release date for this series of stamps, so one has to be content with approximate release dates based on first availability of the stamps in post offices.

The number of personalities, presumably to be honored with the new stamp series is more than twice the previous definitive stamp series, but appears to cover a wider range of historical figures, political, social and spiritual leaders. Although more representative it is still missing a sports personality, a representative of North-East India and and an industrialist. If given a choice, the following should be included as well:

Dhirubhai Ambani, Aurobindo, G. D. Birla, Gopinath Bordoloi, Dhyan Chand, Satish Dhawan, Tenzing Norgay, Dadasaheb Phalke, Munshi Premchand and Vikram Sarabhai.

Although, not ideal, the best way to enable a larger series of stamps could be by printing limited quantities for each personality. This would prevent from a glut of the definitive stamps in post offices and could end up adversely impacting sale of commemorative stamps as well. Many post offices tend to sell overstock commemorative stamps along with the definitive stamps to remove dead stock and also provide variety to customers. Anyways, given that the new stamp series was initiated so soon after the public discussion, a blog post for initial thoughts and a way to track progress of the Makers of India stamp series seemed appropriate.

Makers of India – Eleventh Definitive Stamp Series (2015 onward)
Issue Description
Contribution to Making India
Mahatma Gandhi
Indian Independence
25 Paise
Subramania Bharathi
Writer & Poet
Indian Independence
50 Paise
Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Indian Independence – Home Rule League
Re 1
Bhimsen Joshi
Arts & Culture (Singer)
Rs 3
Bismillah Khan
Arts & Culture (Shehnai Player)
Rs 3
M. S. Subbulakshmi
Arts & Culture (Singer)
Rs 3
Ravi Shankar
Arts & Culture (Sitar Player)
Rs 3
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Rs 4
Bhagat Singh
Indian Independence – Socialist Republican Association
Rs 5
Deendayal Upadhyaya
Integral Humanism
Led Bharatiya Jana Sangh
Rs 5
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Indian Constitution
Modern Buddhist Movement
Rs 5
Gopinath Bordoloi
Indian Independence
Assam Chief Minister
Rs 5
Jayaprakash Narayan
Indian Independence
Total Revolution of 1970s
Rs 5
Jawaharlal Nehru
Indian Independence
First Prime Minister
Rs 5
Lal Bahadur Shastri
Indian Independence
Second Prime Minister
Rs 5
Moulana Abul Kalam Azad
Indian Independence
First Education Minister
Rs 5
Rajendra Prasad
Indian Independence
First President of India
Rs 5
Ram Manohar Lohia
Indian Independence
Socialist Leader
Rs 5
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Indian Independence
First Home Minister/Deputy Prime Minister
Integrated 600 Small States
Rs 5
Subhash Chandra Bose
Indian Independence
Pre-Independence National Army
Rs 5
Swami Vivekananda
Indian Philosophy – Vedanta & Yoga
Rs 5
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee
Indian Independence
Founded Bharatiya Jana Sangh
Rs 5
Ancient Tamil Poetry & Philosophy
Rs 5
Chhatrapati Shivaji
Warrior & Ideal Rule of Maratha Empire
Rs 10
Maharana Pratap
Gallantry Warrior & Rule of Mewar Empire
Rs 10
Mother Teresa
Catholic Religious Sister
Missionaries of Charity
Rs 20
Rabindranath Tagore
Indian Independence
Indian Writing & Poetry
India’s National Anthem
Rs 50

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Papua New Guinea - India Joint Stamp Issue

Original Post: India and Papua New Guinea (PNG) are likely to issue a joint stamp issue in the next few weeks. This stamp issue was originally scheduled for release in late September, but has been delayed numerous times. This stamp issue was rescheduled for release on 22nd November, but has likely been postponed again. The new release date is not known yet.

Both the countries will commemorate their relationship on two stamps by depicting the National Birds of Papua New Guinea and India; Peacock and Bird of Paradise, respectively. Artwork for the souvenir sheet from PNG Post Office can be seen below. PNG Post will also release two stamps along with the souvenir sheet. Details from India Post are still awaited.
Papua New Guinea-India: Joint Issue
PNG Post Souvenir Sheet
Update on 24 Nov 2016: Papua New Guinea will also release individual stamps for each bird. Denomination for the peacock stamp appears to be same (K1.45), but the Bird of Paradise stamp will likely be issued in two denominations (K6.60 and K10.00). Higher denomination stamp will be on the souvenir sheet and K6.60 denomination appears to be part of the stamp set.

Update on 14 Dec 2016: This joint issue is likely postponed to 2017 or indefinitely. Papua New Guinea has taken off the stamps from its pending released for 2016 and India Post has obviously not confirmed the issue date so far. Stay tuned for more on this.

Update on 17 Dec 2016: PNG Post has posted an update on its website rescheduling the release date for this joint stamp issue to 03rd April 2017. This happens to be exactly one year after the originally planned released for April 2016. See the links below for these updates.

PNG Post -
New article -

Monday, December 5, 2016

Philatelic Passport at World Stamp Show 2016

Finally! We can now share the completed Passport from the World Stamp Show 2016. A few cancellations from the last two days were pending and thus we were unable to share the details. A blank copy of the passport was picked up from the Linns Stamp News booth on the first day of the show, stamps and cancellations applied over the course of next four days at various country, organization and stamp dealers booths. Even though the overall number of countries participating at the show was huge, many of them were represented by Herrick Stamp Company, IGPC and Stamperija. Countries that were represented by their respective postal administrations are in bold below. In another update to this post, countries represented by large stamp dealers will be identified as well. In total, our passport contains 108 different stamps/cancellations! Here's a list of the cancellations that were obtained during the stamp show, which we attended from 28th to 31st May. Leave a message if you'd like to see any specific cancellations and we can post them here.

United States
First Day of Issue Cancellations
World Stamp Show-NY2016
Repeal of the Stamp Act, 1766
The Service Cross Medals
World Stamp Show - NY2016 - Official Passport
Pluto Explored!
View of Our Planets
Classics Forever
National Parks
Colourful Celebrations

Stamp Show Special Cancellations
The World of Stamps Day
Learning Never Ends Day
Armed Forces Day
Science Meets Stamps Day
U. S. Stamp Day
Beautiful Americas Day
United Nations Day
Children of the World Day
Topical Collecting Day

Other Sovereign Nations

Other Cancellations
American Topical Association

Linn's Stamp News Scott Catalogues

United Nations

Our Favorite Cancellations
Armenia - Austria - Germany - India - United States