Friday, February 9, 2018

Viet Nam - India: Joint Stamp Issue

In a surprise move, India and Viet Nam released a joint stamp issue on 25th January, 2018 in New Delhi showcasing two historical monuments associated with Buddhism. Sanchi Stupa from India and Pho Minh Pagoda from Viet Nam were depicted on the two stamps, which were issued from both countries in identical designs. Viet Nam and India celebrated 45 years of diplomatic relations, 10th anniversary of Strategic Partnership and 1 year of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2017. I tried to find the genesis of the joint stamp issue and it turns out that these stamps were planned for issuance since early March 2017, but were never really reported in Indian news. I found several news briefs from Viet Nam that describe cooperation between the postal authorities during the visit of the Vietnamese Communications Minister to India early last year. That this stamp was finalized in 2017, was partially confirmed with images of the Indian souvenir sheet that were dated 2017 and have minor design changes in the final stamp issued in late-January (see below).

These stamps were dedicated at a joint ceremony on 25th January in New Delhi by postal officials of both the countries. The Indian stamp was designed by Brahm Prakash and the Pho Minh Pagoda stamp by Nguyen Du & Do Lenh Tuan. India Post issued the two stamps in panes of 45 stamps each and a souvenir sheet of 2 whereas Viet Nam issued the two regular perforated stamps, a set of imperforated stamps and a set of stamps overprinted as Specimen. Both the countries issued first day covers cancelled in New Delhi & Ha Noi.

Viet Nam & India have enjoyed warm ties since ancient times, going back 2000 years. Trade, cultural and religious connections have led to flourishing relations since time immemorial. Buddhism has played a vital role in bringing both the nations closer and it makes sense to have chosen monuments associated with Buddhism to commemorate on joint stamps.

The Pho Minh Pagoda/Temple is located in North Viet Nam, about 100 kms south of Ha Noi. The stamp specifically shows Pho Minh Tower, which is a lotus shaped monument built in 1305 during the rule of the Tran Dynasty. The top of the tower is believed to connect earth with the rest of the universe. This temple complex consists of a pond and other buildings built in the 12th century during Ly and Tran Dynasty rules. The Indian monument of Sanchi Stupa is the oldest stone building in India, built in 3rd century BC by King Ashoka. The Stupa complex comprises of the main structure, which is a hemispherical dome, but several smaller temples and monuments are present on this UNESCO World Heritage (1989) site as well. The main stupa is surrounded by a circular wall and four gateways in four directions. The monuments in Sanchi are located on a small mountain, and the area is quiet, ideal for solitude and for monks to pray.

One can purchase the Indian stamps from ePostOffice (online) and by contacting Vietnam Stamp Company on Facebook, which is selling Vietnamese stamps close to face value.
Identical stamps for Viet Nam-India Joint Stamp Issue (2018).
India Miniature Sheet for the joint issue with Viet Nam. Check out the design version from 2017 (above).
Specimen & Imperforate stamps from Viet Nam for the joint issue with India.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Papua New Guinea - India Joint Stamp Issue

Update (04 Feb 2018): Papua New Guinea stamps finally arrived in late-January. PNG Post is selling individual stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers along with stamps from India as well. I've noticed several different images of the Indian version of the stamps, mainly differences in denominations that may have been planned earlier. This joint stamp issue had been pending issuance for almost 2 years prior and it's possible that PNG Post had some old images of the Indian stamps. Anyways, see all the images below.
India-Papua New Guinea: Joint Stamp Issue (2017). The stamp designs appear to have been finalized in 2016 with various different denominations for the two stamps (Top and middle). Finally, the stamps were printed as shown above (bottom)
Papua New Guinea stamps from PNG-India Joint Stamp Issue (2017). The Bird of Paradise stamp was issued in two denominations.
Update (15 Jan 2018): As many of you may have noticed, the joint issue between Papua New Guinea and India Post was hurriedly issued on 30th December 2017. Since the stamps were already printed, it looked like India Post went ahead and put them out for sale before end of the year. I've also learned that the Indian government printed stamps for Papua New Guinea Post as well, but as of 15th Jan all the stamps haven't arrived in Port Moresby yet and that's why not made available for purchase. Stamp designs that were first reported on BetterPhilately in November 2016 have not changed and are a good set for thematic collectors as well. I'm posting an image of the Indian version below as well.
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 -

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 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.

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