Sunday, January 28, 2018

India Post Stamp Subjects for 2017 (Jul-Dec 2017) - Archived

Update on 28 Jan 2018: This will be final addition to this post for last year. I'd been meaning to write a few details for three stamp issues from December. The first one was the joint issue between Papua New Guinea & India. I have another post on this joint issue, which can be found here. The stamp issue was on the theme of National Birds of both the countries and was overall well designed, but poorly planned execution. This joint issuance had been in works for over two years and India Post kept delaying for unknown reasons. Stamps for both the countries were printed at the Security Printing Press, Hyderabad and PNG Post had a hard time locating some of the stamp supply boxed sent to Port Moresby from India. Given that the stamps were already printed, and no proper release event was organized, India Post decided to issue the stamp on 30th December, before the year was over and the stamps would have had to be re-printed. The print quantity of the Indian stamp is quite low (0.21 Million stamps each) and if I may suggest, a full pane of 45 stamps for both the denomination may be a good buy for the future.

Two other stamp sets, one on Stepwells and the other one on Indian Hand Fans were hurriedly issued in December as well. The Hand Fan stamps were printed and were illegally being sold on eBay since September. So it was no surprise that the stamps were put for sale before 2017 was over. Jatin Das who owns a vast collection of Indian Hand Fans (his collection is called Pankha, which is Hindi for fan) designed the stamps. The entire set of Hand Fans stamps consists of 17 designs. It's a bit confusing, but let me try to explain. The main set comprises of 16 designs (square stamps), and one of these designs is on Embroidered Hand Fan from Gujarat. This same Embroidery Hand Fan stamp is also printed in portrait format in a miniature sheet with just one stamps. That's how a total of 17 designs were designated. One other design, Painted Hand Fan from Rajasthan was also released as a single stamp miniature sheet, but the same stamp is also included in the set of 16 designs. I will be writing more about this issue in details in another post, so do check back on the blog.

The final stamp set that I wanted to mention is the one on Stepwells (or Step Wells) of India. Brahm Prakash designed the stamps (like most other large set of stamps in 2017), which is not among my favorite, because these stamps just use edited images and no new art work to prepare the stamps. This set of stamps also contained 16 stamps, depicting stepwells from different states of India. While I will try to write a separate post on these stamps as well, it's worth mentioning that the stamps were printed in three different formats - a miniature sheet of 16 designs, mixed sheetlets and individual sheetlets. The problem lies with the individual sheetlets because only 3150 sheetlets of each design were printed and one is not able to find this set anywhere in the post offices or ePostOffice. The entire set of sheetlets from 2017, which had the scarce sheetlets as well, were made available for a few days on ePostOffice. As more orders started coming in, the postal officials in all their wisdom combined the 2017 set of sheetlets with the largely unpopular set of sheetlets from 2016 to try sell deadstock. This new combo set has remained for sale for almost two weeks now, with no signs of selling out. So, this brings and end to an uber-expensive year in Republic of India stamps. Here's hoping that 2018 will be better planned, with fewer stamps and lower denominations.

Update on 21 Jan 2018: My apologies for delays in posting details for stamps released in December 2017. I'd mainly been waiting on accurate printing information to share and it took longer than expected. India Post also issued excessive number of stamps in the last week of December and it's been difficult to figure out the basics of collecting all of these issues. Anyways, given the number of stamps issued in the last few weeks, I will likely write this in two parts. First up, see the list of stamps issued in December 2017.

Recent Stamp Issues (November/December 2017)
29 Nov - MyStamp - Brihadeeswarar Temple (Dr. MGR Birth Centenary)
Nov - Happy Anniversary
Nov - Happy Anniversary
Nov - Happy Birthday
Nov - MyStamp - Pushkar Fair
Nov - MyStamp - Dargah Sharif, Ajmer
07 Dec - INS Kalvari (Indian Navy Submarine Arm Golden Jubilee)
08 Dec - MyStamp - NMDC Limited
15 Dec - Centenary of 'Mahasamadhi' of Shirdi Sai Baba
18 Dec - MyStamp - Banarsi Dass Gupta Birth Centenary (1917-2017)
23 Dec - MyStamp - Shri Sai Baba Samadhi, Buti Wada
26 Dec - Dr. Shambhunath Singh
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
29 Dec - Dadabhai Naoroji
29 Dec - Stepwells (16 designs)
30 Dec - India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue (2 designs)
30 Dec - Indian Hand Fan - Embroidery (Gujarat) - 1 design in Miniature Sheet
30 Dec - Indian Hand Fans (16 designs)
31 Dec - Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan
Dec - MyStamp - Indian Space Research Organization

I'd thought November was over, but it turned out that many MyStamp sheets (mostly personalized) were put for sale towards the end of the month. Most of these are not on sale in ePostOffice, reasons for which I don't clearly understand.

The month of December began with a much awaited stamp to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Indian Navy's submarine arm. The President of India dedicated one stamp on INS Kalvari, in two formats (full pane and sheetlet of 3). The stamp and sheetlet were well designed and it's no surprise that most good designs come from Kamleshwar Singh (and Sankha Samanta often as well). Honestly, there was no need for a sheetlet, it could have been a miniature sheet with single stamp. It was likely a commercial decision, to sell more stamps.

Until the very end of the month, there was long lull of almost three weeks before commemorative stamps were issued again. In the meanwhile, three MyStamps were issued. Its a coincident that all three of the MyStamps were dedicated by the Vice-President of India. The one on 60 years of NMDC was dedicated in Hyderabad on 8th December, whereas the one on Basarsi Dass Gupta and Shirdi Sai Baba were issued on 18th and 23rd December in New Delhi and Shirdi, respectively. 

A few personality stamps were also issued in December. The one on Hindi poet and freedom fighter, Dr. Shambhunath Singh was originally scheduled for issuance on 09th November, but MoS Communications, finally issued the stamp in Varanasi in late December. The stamp on Dr. Shivajirao Patwardhan was issued on its scheduled date in Amaravati. I had shared the issue date many months back and it turned out to be accurate. Two other stamps, both nicely designed by Sankha Samanta were issued as well. The stamp on Dadabhai Naoroji was scheduled for issuance much earlier, but after all the delays it was finally dedicated at an event in Ahmedabad. The stamp on Justice Mahajan was the last stamp of 2017, which was issued in New Delhi by the Finance Minister of India.

This leaves some notes about the Stepwells, India-Papua New Guinea joint issue and the Indian Hand Fan stamps. I will try to make time this coming week to post these and close out 2017. Even though, this past year was tremendously expensive and somewhat unnerving for Republic of India collectors, there were many more stamp issues that were discussed and eventually not issued. Many of these have been moved to the forthcoming months and years. I've already posted several details for 2018, and I've moved many of the remaining stamp subjects to that post as well. I can confirm that the MyStamp on BHU/Madan Mohan Malaviya that MoS Communications had promised in June 2017 is not being planned. The stamps on ICAR-CPCRI and Goan Tiatr were likely withdrawn and will be re-printed before release in 2018.

Other stamps like the MyStamp on Indian Journal of Ophthalmology was printed but never put for sale in 2017. Barring this, the stamp on Raja Todarmal and GG Joshi Dhumketu were also not issued. I'll move most of these to the updates for 2018.

Update on 03 Dec 2017: I've waited a few days for India Post to share information for forthcoming stamp issues in December, but given their slowness, here's the update from November, including possible stamps that could be released in the last month of this year. 

The first stamp was issued on 01st November in Bengaluru to commemorate a Kannada poet, a Telugu poet and a temple in Andhra Pradesh. Even though, I was unable to establish any connection between the three stamps, the designs by Kamleshwar Singh were well planned (as always). Each stamp showed important facets of the subject. Members of Parliament from Karnataka dedicated the stamps, which were originally planned for issuance by a Federal Cabinet Minister (Ananth Kumar).

Then came a mega stamp issue, the largest set of stamps this year celebrating Indian food. The Prime Minister of India dedicated a miniature sheet containing 24 stamps showing popular Indian dishes on 03rd November at World Food India Conference in New Delhi. Foods shown on the stamps were randomly picked from all over the country and categorized in four groups. This mega stamp issue also consisted of four more miniature sheets (6 stamps each) and four sheetlets (24 stamps each). I've listed the dishes on the stamps below.
Two other stamps that were known before, Children's Day and Mahabharat were issued in November as well. Two stamps and two miniature sheets (each Rs 15) were issued on Nest theme to celebrate Children's Day. Honestly, these crowdsourced stamps have become excessive each year, and I wish this would be limited to one design and smaller denominations. The second mega stamp issue this past month was the one to commemorate another Indian epic, Mahabharat. Bharati Mirchandani designed three miniature sheets in collaboration with Santok Ba, Lakshmikanta Dash and Meena Mani. The stamps were dedicated at a conference on Bhagvad Gita in Kurukshetra by MoS Communications and Governor of Haryana on 27th November. If I can get clear images of the stamps, a blog dedicated to the Mahabharat and Ramayana stamps designs can be easily written for the readers.

As has been the trend over the last few months, several MyStamp sheetlets, consisting of two personalized sheetlets on Vaishno Devi Temple and Wedding wishes as well as two customized sheetlets on NBCC (India) Limited and Maluti Terracotta temples were released. The Vaishno Devi stamp was released by the Governor of Jammu & Kashmir in Jammu, the NBCC stamp by MoS Communications in New Delhi and the Maluti temples sheet by the President of India in Ranchi. Even though the customized sheetlets have been put on sale, the two personalized MyStamps have not been made available on ePostOffice at the time of writing this update. There has been some news about potential MyStamp sheetlets on Ananada Nilayam Vimana (Tirumala) and Sabarimala Temple, but these have not been confirmed.

Recent Stamp Issues
01 Nov - Adikavi Nannaya, Draksharamam Temple and Kavi Muddana
03 Nov - Indian Cuisine (24 designs)
08 Nov - MyStamp - Vaishno Devi Temple
14 Nov - Children's Day: Nest (2 designs)
15 Nov - MyStamp - Terracotta Temples of Heritage Village Maluti (Jharkhand Tourism)
15 Nov - MyStamp - NBCC (India) Limited
17 Nov - MyStamp - Wedding Wishes
27 Nov - Mahabharat (18 designs)

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
07 Dec - Indian Navy Submarine Arm (Golden Jubilee)
12 Dec - Gurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
18 Dec - Babu Banarsi Dass Gupta
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
Dadabhai Naoroji
Dr. Shambhunath Singh
Goan Tiatr: 125th Anniversary (2 designs)
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue (2 designs)
Indian Hand Fans (more than 16 designs)
Step Wells of India

Uncertain Stamp Issues
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Pilatus Induction
Raja Todarmal

Update on 29 Oct 2017: First off, some updates for the next several weeks. India Post has yet to issue several stamps like Mahabahrat, Hand Fans, Step Wells, India-Papua New Guinea joint issue and other personalities and there are only two months left in the calendar year. The next two months could turn out to be quite expensive, so be prepared to shell out a few thousand bucks to keep the collections updated. In early November, India Post will issue stamps on Indian Cuisine, which appears to be a set of 24 designs. Let's see what foods make the cut and what designs are in store for the collectors. 

I've also gathered that another joint issue, this one with Armenia, could be released in December and possibly again on the theme of dances. If this comes true, it would be the sixth joint issue this year and the third on dances.

No jumbo stamp issues were released by India Post this month, and that could provide a breather to collectors before the last two months of the calendar year begin. Several of the best designed stamps of the year were released in October; all by Kamleshwar Singh. A stamp on the Silver Jubilee of the Rapid Action Force of the CRPF was issued in Meerut by the Home Minister of India on 07th October. A stamp was also issued to commemorate the centenary of the 3rd battalion of the Kumaon Regiment on the 23rd October. General Bipin Rawat of the Indian Army dedicated this stamp in Pithoragarh, the battalion's home base. 

One of the stamp that I had been requesting for issuance was on Nanaji Deshmukh. This stamp was finally issued by India Post on 11th October. The Prime Minister of India dedicated the stamp at a function held in New Delhi.

A beautiful set of two stamps was quietly put for sale to commemorate 70 years of diplomatic relations between India and Russia on 26th October. The stamps depict Bhavai and Beryozka folk dances; one from each country. Russia issued stamps in two designs on the same date, albeit in a different design. Kamleshwar Singh designed these stamps, as well as the ones on Rapid Action Force and 3 Kumaon (Rifles). All these three stamp issues are among the most intricately planned and created. Kudos to the designer for using this medium to truly miniaturize art work and showcase the theme to its full potential.

Two stamps were also dedicated in Mumbai to celebrate 75 years of operations at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Officials from India Post and the Mumbai Airport took part in the event held on 15th October. This was the same date when JRD Tata flew the first international flight in India from Karachi to Mumbai in 1932. This is when Air India or Tata Airlines was born. The stamps were unimpressive. I was expecting the stamps to show some history and the transition from a military base to the current world-class airport terminal, but instead the stamp designer chose to ignore the history and used glossy images supplied by the current operator to advertise the new terminal. Truly, a wasted opportunity.

Several MyStamp issues were also released over the last few weeks. The Governor of Jharkhand dedicated the MyStamp on Central Institute of Psychiatry in Ranchi. The MoS Communications did the same for the sheetlet on Indian Buildings Congress and the Home Minister of the state of Telangana released the MyStamp on Telangana Police. Given that India Post has settled on Rs 500 for each of these customized MyStamp sheetlets, the cost for collecting all MyStamps is quite exorbitant.

Recent Stamp Issues
07 Oct - Rapid Action Force (25 Years)
10 Oct - MyStamp - Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi
11 Oct - Nanaji Deshmukh
15 Oct - Chharapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (75 Years)
17 Oct - MyStamp - Indian Buildings Congress (Silver Jubilee)
21 Oct - MyStamp - Telangana Police (Police Commemoration Day)
23 Oct - 3 Kumaon (Rifles)
26 Oct - India-Russia: Joint Issue (Bhavai and Beryozka dances)

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
01 Nov - Adikavi Nannaya Bhatta, Draksharamam Temple and Kavi Muddana
03 Nov - Indian Cuisine
09 Nov - Dr. Shambhunath Singh
14 Nov - Children's Day (Theme: Nest)
07 Dec - Indian Navy Submarine Arm (Golden Jubilee)
12 Dec - Gurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
Dadabhai Naoroji
Goan Tiatr (125th Anniversary)
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue (2 designs)
Indian Hand Fans (more than 16 designs)
Mahabharat (18 designs)
Step Wells of India

Uncertain Stamp Issues
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Pilatus Induction
Raja Todarmal

Update on 07 Oct 2017: Just a quick update on new India Post stamp issues in October. Several new stamps will be released in the next few weeks. Three of these were previously unannounced. A stamp will be issued on 07th October to commemorate 25 years of the Rapid Action Force, which is a specialized police force of the Central Reserve Police Force in India's Home Ministry. A stamp will also be issued on 23rd October on 100 years of 3 Kumaon (Rifles) regiment of the Indian Army.

A postal stamp will be issued on Nanaji Deshmukh on 11th October to celebrate completion of Nanaji's birth centenary. I've been asking for a stamp issue on this personality on Twitter for over a year now. Glad, it's finally approved.

A set of two stamps will also be issued 15th October to commemorate 75 Years of the International Airport in Mumbai. I've posted the stamp designs on BetterPhilately Twitter feed (see it here). The stamp designs are quite ordinary. Neither of the stamps depict the airport buildings in its entirety, and it's hard for me to believe that despite Kamleshwar Singh and Sankha Samanta being available as designers, but India Post keeps churning out some random stamp art. Let's see if the miniature sheet looks any better.

There will likely be other stamp issues in October, albeit unannounced.

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
07 Oct - Rapid Action Force (25 Years)
11 Oct - Nanaji Deshmukh
15 Oct - Chharapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (75 Years)
23 Oct - 3 Kumaon (Rifles)
08 Nov - Raja Todarmal
14 Nov - Children's Day
07 Dec - Indian Navy Submarine Arm (Golden Jubilee)
12 Dec - Gurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
Dadabhai Naoroji
Goan Tiatr (125th Anniversary)
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue (2 designs)
India-Russia: Joint Issue
Indian Hand Fans (>16 designs)
Mahabharat (18 designs)
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Pilatus Induction
Step Wells of India

Update on 01 Oct 2017: September turned out to be quite good with several new issues being dedicated and put for sale. The eagerly awaited stamp set on Ramayana (11 designs) was finally issued on 22nd September by the Prime Minister of India in Varanasi. India Post also sent the stamp set to more than 40 embassies around the world to sell the stamps to the Indian diaspora. Images of the stamps had been in circulation since June this year with several speculated release dates, but what came as a surprise was the issuance of the stamp set in two miniature sheets. The stamp set was printed in a sheet with green selvage and another one with a maroon background. India Post refers to the maroon one as a sheetlet, but that's an incorrect nomenclature. Anyways, the stamps were well  designed by Sankha Samanta and printed in ample quantity to reach all collectors.

Two joint issues were dedicated in the last month. I had wondered about this first during the last update. A joint stamp was dedicated on 12th September by the Prime Minister of India and the President of Belarus in New Delhi to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Both countries issued one stamp with the same design showing the respective national symbols. The stamp design was quite ordinary, similar to what Belarus has been issuing all of 2017, showing national symbols. Given the similarity of other Belarus joint issues, it's safe to assume the stamp was designed in Belarus. India also issued a miniature sheet, designed by Kamleshwar Singh. It depicts the Lotus Temple (New Delhi) and the National Library of Belarus (Minsk). The stamp designer's creativity was clearly visible, and I wish he had designed the stamp as well. This could have easily been among the better designs this year.

The other joint issue was the much awaited one between Canada and India, which was issued on 21st September in New Delhi and Toronto. The two countries had decided in February 2017 to prepare a joint issue on Diwali and keeping the plan unchaged, two stamps, one design each from India and Canada were issued to celebrate the festival of lights. Alka Sharma designed the Indian version and Gerald Querubin of Entro Communications designed the stamp from Canada. What made this joint issue special was the issuance of the Siamese twin miniature sheet - Canada Post printed a souvenir sheet that contains one Indian stamp and a Canadian stamp. India Post had done a Siamese twin issue for the first time in 2015 with Singapore Post. Kudos to the philately team that planned this issue. The only gripe with this stamp set was the Indian design on Diwali. This is the third stamp on Diwali (2008, 2012 and 2017) and could have easily depicted something more stylized or another feature of the festival. Alka Sharma had designed one of the other Diwali stamps (joint issue with Israel in 2012) and there are striking similarities in the Canada joint issue as well. I truly wish Kamleshwar Singh or Sankha Samanta had got this project.

Several days after two MyStamps were quietly released in Tamil Nadu in early-September, I found out that these were part of a series of customized MyStamp sheetlets to celebrate Dr. MGR Birth Centenary. So far, four such sheetlets have been issued (Kancheepuarm, Tiruvallur, Vellore and Nagapattinam districts). I'm curious if the state administration ordered the pre-requisite 5000 for each event or if all the sheetlets were in one order. India Post also put two other MyStamp sheetlets (Mathura Refinery and Sringeri Math) on sale on ePostOffice, but no dedication ceremonies have been held so far.

In other news, the joint issue with Russia is now certain to be issued, either in 2017 or next year, with folk dances being the theme. It would be a nice change if India Post considers a larger variety of topics for these joint issues. Fellow collectors have suggested ideas like monuments, prominent political or sports leaders, famous cuisines etc. and we hope to see a change next time around. 

Recent Stamp Issues
03 Sep - MyStamp - Pazhaverkadu, Tiruvallur District (Dr. MGR Birth Centenary)
09 Sep - Vellore Fort (Dr. MGR Birth Centenary)
12 Sep - India-Belarus: Joint Issue - National Symbols
18 Sep - Vulnerable Birds
20 Sep - MyStamp - Nagapattinam District (Dr. MGR Birth Centenary)
21 Sep - India-Canada Joint Issue - Diwali
22 Sep - Ramayana (11 designs)
Sep - MyStamp - Mathura Refinery
Sep - MyStamp - Dakshinamanya Sri Sarada Peetham

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
08 Oct - Pilatus Induction
08 Nov - Raja Todarmal
14 Nov - Children's Day
07 Dec - Indian Navy Submarine Arm (Golden Jubilee)
12 Dec - Gurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
Chharapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (75 Years)
Dadabhai Naoroji
Goan Tiatr (125th Anniversary)
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue
India-Russia: Joint Issue
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Step Wells of India
Traditional Indian Hand Fans

Update on 10 Sep 2017: Even though India Post hasn't announced dates for any new stamp issues, I've added a few more possible stamp issues in 2017. The President of Belarus will be visiting India on a state visit on 11-12 Sep 2017. Could the India-Belarus joint issue be dedicated during his visit? Belarus Post has announced issuance of one stamp, but there is no update from India Post.

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
21 Sep - India-Canada: Joint Issue - Diwali
08 Oct - Pilatus Induction
08 Nov - Raja Todarmal
14 Nov - Children's Day
07 Dec - Indian Navy Submarine Arm (Golden Jubilee)
12 Dec - Gurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu'
28 Dec - Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan 'Dajisaheb'
Birds: Vulnerable (Series 2)
Chharapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (75 Years)
Dadabhai Naoroji
Goan Tiatr (125th Anniversary)
India-Belarus: Joint Issue
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue
India-Russia: Joint Issue
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Ramayana (11 designs)
Step Wells of India
Traditional Indian Hand Fans

Update on 02 Sep 2017: There were no new stamps issued by India Post in July, but there were three commemorative and two MyStamp sheetlets issued in August. The first set of stamps was issued by the President of India to commemorate 75 Years of Quit India Movement. This set of stamps comprised of 8 designs by Sankha Samanta. Personally, eight designs for this event appeared excessive and several images on the stamps were did not appear iconic or necessary. A small set of two stamps could have been enough. After a long hiatus, these stamps were printed at the security press in Nashik, but seemed to have grey tones where black ink should have been used.

India Post had organized a photography competition in July 2017 using the theme 'Beautiful India'. Three images were selected based on the entries received and issued as stamps in 2 designs along with a miniature sheet on 15th August, India's Independence Day. The stamps were quite ordinary with no specific mention of the locations or the photographers details. Other than the Taj Mahal on the miniature sheet, the two stamp designs can be easily mistaken for any other country.

The same day, on 15th August, India Post sprung a surprise with the issuance of stamps in 4 designs on Caves of Meghalaya. Suresh Kumar Achari designed these four stamps, which were issued as individual sheets of 45 stamps and as a miniature sheet as well. The stamps depict four caves of Meghalaya, but the stamp designs are quite hard to comprehend. It could be because photographs of the caves were used instead of paintings and printing quality of the Hyderabad security printing press is poor as well. The theme of these stamps was interesting, but better art direction and printing would have made these high quality products.

Other than these commemorative stamps, two MyStamp sheetlets were also issued. The first one was to celebrate 111 years of Indian Bank and the other one was to celebrate Kancheepuram District, Mahabalipuram Shore Temple and birth centenary of Dr. M. G. Ramachandran. The stamp on Indian Bank was dedicated at a ceremony in Chennai and the one on Kancheepuram was dedicated in Kilambakkam, near Chennai.

Towards the end of August, India Post just gave a vague update on several forthcoming stamp issues and these are listed below. Other than the date for India-Canada Joint Issue stamp on Diwali, no other stamp issue dates are known.

Update on 31 Aug 2017: It's been a couple months since this post was updated, but India Post appeared to be in a hiatus for several weeks in July-August as well. There was not much new information to share. Several new stamp issues are planned for issuance later this year. Here's a quick summary for stamps issued since July 2017. I will provide more details for each issue over the next few days in another update.

Recent Stamp Issues
09 August - 75 Years of 1942 Freedom Movement (Quit India Movement)
15 August - Beautiful India
15 August - Caves of Meghalaya
20 August - MyStamp - Indian Bank
30 August - MyStamp - Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram, Kancheepuram District (Land of Lakes)

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
21 September - India-Canada: Joint Issue - Diwali
Birds: Vulnerable (Series 2)
Chharapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (75 Years)
India-Belarus: Joint Issue
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue
Indian Hand Fans
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya
Ramayana (11 designs)
Step Wells of India

Update on 01 Jul 2017: This post will provide updates for India Post stamp issues from July to December 2017. News and information for the first six months can be found here.

Forthcoming Stamp Issues
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue
Ramayana (11 designs)
MyStamp - Indian Journal of Ophthalmology
MyStamp - Banaras Hindu University / Madan Mohan Malaviya

Stamps Approved for Issuance
Aquaculture
Birds: Endangered & Critically Endangered
Boats of India
Bridal Costumes of India
Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (ICAR)
Four Dhamas (Are these Char Dhams?)
Fragrant Stamps (Chocolate, Strawberry)
Goan Tiatr
Historical Gates of Indian Forts
Holiday Destinations
India’s Participation in World War I
India-Armenia: Joint Issue
Indian Fashion Industry
Indian Perfume
Jataka Tales
Mangalyan
Mehandi (Lawsona inermis)
Minerals of India (Innovative)
Musical Instruments (Chimta, Dotara, Ektara, Khartal, Tumbi)
Palace of Wheels
Pilatus Induction
Puppets
Shaktipeeth Temples (Kalighat, Kamkhya, Meenakshi, Vaishno Devi)
Solar System
Terracotta Temples of India
Traditional Embroideries of India (Innovative)
Tribes of India
UNESCO Heritage Sites
University of Mysore
Wildlife – Flora & Fauna

Acharya Bodhihdharma & Efflorescence of Zen Culture
Acharya Konda Laxman Bapuji
Bhupesh Gupta
D. Devaraj Urs
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi
Jyoti Basu
Lala Thunthee Mull
M. Balamuralikrishna
O. P. Jindal
Raja Todarmal
Sant Pipaji Maharaj

BetterPhilately Wish List
Amritlal Nagar
B. D. Jatti
Balasaheb Thackarey
Balasheb Deoras
Chinmayananda Saraswati (1916-1993)
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy
Eknath Ranade
Gopal Swarup Pathak
I. K. Gujral
J. Jayalalithaa
K. R. Narayanan
Khushabhau Thakre (1922-2003)
Mohammad Hidayatullah
N. Sanjeeva Reddy
P. V. Narasimha Rao
Shivmangal Singh Suman
Siyaram Sharan Gupt
Swami Abhedananda
V. P. Singh

100 Years of Kheda Movement
Auroville (Golden Jubilee)
Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
Bishop Cotton School, Bengaluru
Bombay Scottish School, Mumbai
Dayalbagh
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
Human Organ Donation Awareness Programme
Lions International Centenary
Presidency University, Kolkata

Stamps Issued from the Approved List
350th Anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh
India-Portugal: Joint Issue
Samrat Vikarmaditya
Headgears of India
Beetles of India
Yogoda Satsanga Society of India
The Poona Horse
Means of Transport through Ages
Republic Day (Nature India)
Deekshabhoomi of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Eminent Writers: Krishan Chander, Balwant Gargi, Kummari Molla, K V Puttappa, Bhisham Sahni, Viswanatha Satyanarayana, Srilal Sukla, Tarigonda Vengamamba
Srimad Ramanujacharya
Jhala Manna
Srimad Rajchandra
Fragrant Stamp (Coffee)
Banaras Hindu University
1942 Freedom Movement
Caves of Meghalaya
Independence Day - Beautiful India (Photography Contest)
India-Belarus: Joint Issue
Vulnerable Birds
India-Canada: Joint Issue
Ramayana
India-Russia: Joint Issue
Kavi Muddana
Nannaya Bhatta & Draksharamam Temple
Indian Cuisine
Children’s Day
Mahabharat
Dr. Shivajirao G. Patwardhan
Step Wells of India (Rani ki Vav, Agrasen Baoli, Chand Baoli, Adalaj ni Vav, etc.)
Dr. Mehr Chand Mahajan
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Issue
Traditional Hand Fans

Stamps Issued from BetterPhilately Wish List
M. G. Ramachandran (Birth Centenary)
Montfort Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School, Yercaud
100 Years of Champaran Movement
Nanaji Deshmukh
Submarine Arm of Indian Navy (Golden Jubilee)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Se-tenant Stamps of India

Update (21 Jan 2018): I've got around to update this list as well. Last year (2017) was so huge, but this list was relatively easily compiled. There were 11 true se-tenant issues, majority of them issued as miniature sheets only. There were no separate fill panes for these stamps and thus they were considered as se-tenant stamps. Two stamps, Deekshabhoomi of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Banaras Hindu University were the only issues that were issued as se-tenant full sheets. Overall, it was a good year for se-tenant stamp collectors. Do check the formatting rules for the table below in the previous update.
Update (07 Jan 2017): An updated list of se-tenant stamps of India from 1974-2016 is being posted here. This list should serve as a basic reference for se-tenant stamp issues for Republic of India stamp collectors. Specialized se-tenant collections will need additional details, but that's beyond the scope of this blog post. A few minor changes have been made to the format of the list as well. The list is separated in a few sub-sections by the year of stamp issuance, 1970-1989 is divided by each decade (1970s, 1980s etc) and then year-wise from 1990 onward. A quick break down for the 'format' column: Se-tenant implies a pair of 2 stamps, Se-tenant of 3 or higher could be in different formats such as vertical or horizontal strips, blocks etc. All care has been taken to provide accurate information, but as always, if there are any errors, just leave a comment and it will be fixed.
A list of se-tenant stamps of India from 1974-2015 is posted here. This list should serve as a basic reference for se-tenant stamp issues for Republic of India stamp collectors. Specialized se-tenant collections will need additional details, but that's beyond the scope of this blog post. The list is separated in two main sections: 1970 to 2000 is divided by each decade (1970s, 1980s etc) and then year-wise from 2000 onward. A quick break down for the 'format' column: Se-tenant implies a pair of 2 stamps, Se-tenant of 3 or higher could be in different formats such as vertical or horizontal strips, blocks etc. All care has been taken to provide accurate information, but as always, if there are any errors, just leave a comment and it will be fixed.The total number of se-tenants should also correspond to the list in another post.

MyStamps: Personalized & Customized Stamps of India

Update (28 Jan 2018): Two things I should have pointed out earlier - one for the LIC MyStamp and another for Indian Journal of Ophthalmology MyStamps. The MyStamp on Life Insurance Corporation of India was released in 2016, but I've recently learned that LIC may have ordered another print of 8000 sheets in 2017. I will confirm this soon, but this is likely to have happened. The second mention is for the IJO MyStamp, which was printed in 2017, but never issued by the proponent. Given that the stamp has not been made available for purchase or no release event has occurred, I may wait until 2018 or later to include on the list of MyStamps. That's all. There are new MyStamp sheetlets already being released, but that discussion is for a later date.

Update (21 Jan 2018): Given that most of the MyStamp issues from 2017 are known now, I've updated the list below. This past year saw further increase in the total number of MyStamp sheetlets put out by India Post, albeit one less personalized sheet when compared with 2016. Before I go further about some new things about the MyStamp issues from last year, let me make it clear that these are new and valid postal stamps and are likely to be part of a complete Republic of India collection. India Post is ripping off collectors by selling the sheets at such high premium. Now, for some new observations from 2017. The personalized sheet on Rose (issued on Valentines Day) had a floral fragrance embedded on the sheets, which was the first time on a MyStamp sheet. In order to celebrate Dr. MGR's birth centenary, Tamil Nadu state government ordered customized sheetlets for 4-5 events in various districts. The main stamps show monuments from these districts, but the blank label has an image of MGR. A complete collection of these sheets will be a good item for MGR fans. Yet another personality, second one after V. Ramakrishna in 2016, Banarsi Dass Gupta was depicted on a customized MyStamp sheet. Last point is about the design of MyStamps. Majority of these stamps were decently designed, but the Wedding wishes, Happy anniversary and Happy birthday stamps needed more thought than just printing in different fonts. I've started to collect data for print quantity of these stamps, which you can see below. If there is anything else that you'd like to share, let me know in the comments below.
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)
Click on the images to enlarge
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: By 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).

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

India Post 2017 Stamp Program (Archived)

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

Update (17 Jan 2018): I've finally managed to find information for November and December 2017 stamp issues. This covers details for stamp printing formats and design information for the whole entire year. I've highlighted some of the stamp issues that have relatively low print runs and may be good for collectors to keep an extra few copies for future. There were excessive number of stamps issued by India Post and if the images below are not clear, I'd recommend to save a copy on your desktop and then zoom in or print as needed. I've also included MyStamp sheets in the second image below. There are several MyStamps that may not have made it to ePost or the market, but were likely printed over the last year. If you find any errors in this post, let me know in the comments below. I try to provide accurate information, but I'll happily update if needed.
Update (28 May 2017): It's taken a while to get all information for stamp releases in March and April 2017. A few MyStamp sheetlets were issued in February and March, but not available for purchase until late April. Dates for these stamps have been included below.
Update (04 Mar 2017): Information on stamps issued in February is included in the table below. Several MyStamp issues were also issued over the last few weeks and have been updated as well.
Update (03 Feb 2017): Here are the details for stamps issued by India Post during January 2017. Information for all issues became available relatively quickly and thus I can share now. Quite a few stamp issues are likely to be released throughout the year, so keep checking back.

Monday, January 15, 2018

United States 2017 Stamp Program (Archived)

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

Update (15 Jan 2018): I've been remiss in updating this post for the last several months, but USPS does a good job in providing technical details in the Postal Bulletin so hopefully you've got most of the information from there. Details for all stamps and postal stationary from the last year are below. Three of the stamps issued in the latter half of 2017 were quite low in print run, and collectors may want to keep a few sheets/coils for future - Fr. Ted Hesburgh, National Museum of African American History & Culture and The History of Hockey. I will try to post 2018 details in another post within January. Enjoy.
 Update (10 Jun 2017): Here's an update for the second quarter of 2017. No new postal stationary was issued during the past three months.

Update (04 Mar 2017): Details for stamp issues in March 2017 are also available now. Two postal stationary items have been issued this year and design and print quantity for these two are also being shared below.
Update (18 Jan 2017): Here are details for stamps to be issued in Jan-Feb 2017. New information will be posted as it becomes available, likely in late February. Do check the other blog post for more regular updates and news on this year's stamp issues.
Note: Print quantities of stamp issues highlighted (yellow) are less than 20 Million.
Update (02 Oct 2016): So far, we've seen the release date for Ted Hesburgh stamp. It's supposedly going to be released on 01 Sep 2017. Let's wait and watch. Dates for no other stamps are yet known. We will be posting stamp subjects and relevant discussion in another blog post, but will share the stamp program at least once in a quarter starting Jan-Feb 2017.

Original post: USPS has announced quite a few stamp issues for 2017. More details coming soon!

Follow us on Twitter @betterphilately