Sunday, June 28, 2015

Half-way There?

July is about to set in with the customary long weekend celebrating the Independence Day. Just a few thoughts before crossing over to the second half of the year.

India Post: Highlights
- A set of two stamps and a miniature sheet were released to celebrate 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi's return from South Africa. Prime Minister Modi released this set of stamps in Gandhinagar during the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas. There was a different version of the miniature sheet that was designed by India Post and shared on this blog.

- Another MyStamp sheet, 'Gujarat' with three different stamp designs was released during the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Gandhinagar (January 2015). This MyStamp sheet is probably available in Gujarat only. Not sure how collectors from other regions of India can get access to this stamp sheet.

- Swachh Bharat stamps (3 stamps in individual sheets of 45 and a miniature sheet) were released on 30 Jan 2015 to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's martyrdom day. There was a good bit of confusion regarding the total quantity of stamps printed and India Post has still not obliged the philatelic community with any clarification! No wonder price of a set of 3 sheets (45 stamps each design) has risen to almost threefold the cost price.

Fact Check on Swachh Bharat stamps
Total # of stamps printed - 5 lacs
Total # of stamps (each design) - 1.67 lacs

Compare this with the 1 lac stamps printed to commemorate Raj Kumar Shukla in the year 2000. If prices of Raj Kumar Shukla stamp are any indication, it would be prudent to buy a few sets before the prices go any higher.

- Look out for the India-France Joint Issue miniature sheet as well. Although the face value is relatively higher when compared with the Swachh Bharat stamps, lower print quantity (1 lac) could lead to stocks running low in the post offices.

The year has been lackluster, so far as Indian Philately is concerned. Swachh Bharat and India-France stamps did provide some excitement, but the lack of a fixed stamp program, lack of clarity for future stamp releases and an unresponsive postal department act as dampeners.

Looking forward to the stamp releases to commemorate Nabakalebara, Women empowerment, BHEL Limited and Emperor Ashoka. That's it for now.