Sunday, November 26, 2017

Canada-United States Joint Issue: History of Hockey (2017)

I've finally got to writing about the surprise joint stamp issue between United States and Canada to celebrate 100 years of National Hockey League. Coincidentally, it was exactly a century ago on this day, 26th November, when NHL was launched in Montreal, Canada.

The joint issue was launched at a ceremony on 20th October 2017 in Detroit, Michigan, where officials from both USPS and Canada Post were present for the dedication. An announcement for this stamp was first made by USPS on 28th September in a press release. No prior information was available from either postal organizations. The stamp was issued in two designs, both countries using the same design. It is understood that the stamp set was designed by Subplot design, Inc (Roy White and team) with images supplied by K. C. Armstrong. Both countries deployed their art directors to guide preparation of the stamps viz. William J. Gicker (United States) and Susan Gilson (Canada). Canadian stamps were printed by Lowe Martin and the American stamps were produced at Ashton Potter. First day cancellations were provided in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.

The two stamps were designed in a tete-beche format, where both the stamps are vertically connected. Each stamp shows a hockey player in action, one in modern hockey gear and its reflection on the other stamp in historical clothing that players must have worn in older days. This design concept was shown in full on the souvenir sheets issued by both countries. In addition to the players on a frozen ice pond, a man and young girl are also shown playing hockey. Hockey has been a favorite sport for a vast majority of North Americans and this stamp design seeks to convey that message.

Canada Post issued the two stamps in a booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps (5 of each design) and the souvenir sheet containing both the stamps in water-activated format. On the other hand, USPS issued the stamps in a pane of 20 stamps (10 of each design) and a souvenir sheet with both the designs. United States Postal Service only prints self-adhesive stamps. All Canadian stamps were sold as 'Permanent' rate stamps (currently C$ 0.85) and all States stamps as 'Forever' stamps (current rate $ 0.49). Quantities for stamps and other products are listed below. Stamps can be purchased from USPS and Canada Post.
Canada-United States Joint Stamp Issue: History of Hockey (2017)
Background on Hockey (or 'ice' hockey): Hockey was likely developed as a sport in the 1800s in Canada as an alternate to field hockey. Two teams (six players each) attempt to score goals in their opposing ends using curved flat wooden hockey sticks and a flat rubber puck. Professional hockey leagues were organized in early 20th century, culminating in formation of the National Hockey League in 1917. Hockey is now played all across North America with local pick up leagues as well as NHL teams spread all over the continent. NHL currently has 31 teams on its rosters, divided in Eastern and Western Conferences, each with two divisions.

While writing about this stamp issue its worth mentioning that Canada and United States have issued several other joint issues, beginning in 1959. Sometimes there are different interpretations of the joint character of stamps between two countries, so leave a message below if there is some other information to share.
Original post (29 Oct 2017): Canada and United States recently issued joint stamps on the History of Hockey. Stay tuned for an update on the stamps and other products. I will add details as soon as I receive the stamps.

Can Philatelists help India Post plan for 2015-2022? (Archived)

Update (21 Jan 2018): This post has outlived its utility and I'm planning to move to a new version soon. I'll archive this one and create a similar post with the remainder of the proposed stamp subjects and add whatever I learn from 2018 onward. Happy collecting.

Click here for the new version of this post.

Update on 26 Nov 2017
Update on 29 Oct 2017
Update on 10 Sep 2017
Updates on 01 Jul 2017
Updates on 28 May 2017
Updates on 01 April 2017
Updates on 23 Dec 2016
Updates on 03 Dec 2016
Updates on 26 Nov 2016
Updates on 17 Nov 2016
Updates 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 (Approved for release in 2017)

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
Mahanamrata Brahmachari
Textiles of India – Tat, Chanderi, Ikat, Paithani, Maheshwari, Jamdani, Kota, Sambalpuri, Angami Weaves

Architectural Splendor – Ujjayanta Palace, Patwon ki Haveli, Mattancherry Palace
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 (Approved for release in 2017)
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)
Traditional Embroideries of India - Chikankari, Kutchi, Kashmiri, Phulkari, Kantha (Approved for release in 2017)
Tribal Dwellings (Set of 4 stamps)

Dr. Nilratan Sircar
India-Peru Joint Issue
South Asian Postal Union

Jyoti Basu (Uncertain for issuance)
Machali, The Tigress

Bhupesh Gupta (Likely to be released in 2016) (Uncertain for issuance)
D. Devaraj Urs (Likely to be released in 2016) (Uncertain for issuance)

The following subjects should be/are being considered for release in the next few years as well:
Balasaheb Deoras
Banda Singh Bahadur
Bishop Cotton School, Bengaluru
Delhi High Court - Golden Jubilee
Eknath Ranade
Gaurishankar Govardhan Joshi 'Dhumketu' (Approved for release in 2017)
International Year of Pulses
St. Mary's School, Pune
St. Mary’s Convent Inter College, Allahabad

70 Years of Independence
100 Years of Kheda Movement
100 Years of Sabarmati Ashram
200 Years of Paika Rebellion
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-UN Joint Issue: International Day of Yoga
Laxmanrao Inamdar
Lions International Centenary
Presidency University, Kolkata
Queen Heo Hwang-ok (Korean queen from Ayodhya)
Swami Abhedananda
Patna University
Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Rajkumar School, Rajkot
Ravenshaw University, Cuttack (150 Years) - MyStamp
Osmania University, Hyderabard (100 Years) - MyStamp
Sikander Bakht
Nelson Mandela
Dakshin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha
Srimant Sankardev
Vinda Karandikar
50 Years of Commercial Nuclear Power - Tarapur
Maharshi Mahesh Yogi
Bose Institute
Ramamand Sagar
Chandrakant Patel
B. Nagi Reddi
Oliver Reginald Tambo
Maniram Dewan
The Yoga Institute, Mumbai (100 Years)
Jyotirlinga Temples
The Maihar Band (100 Years)
ISRO - Golden Jubilee

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
Maharani Gayatri Devi
Guru Nanak Dev - 550th Parkash Utsav
International Film Festival of India (Golden Jubilee)

Modern School, New Delhi
36th International Geological Congress
Pandurang Shastri Athavle
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

India-Bangladesh: Joint Issue (50 & 75 Years of Independence)
75 Years of India's Independence

BetterPhilately Wish List
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
V. P. Singh

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
2013 - Means of Transport through the Ages - Issued on 25 Mar 2017
2017 - Montfort Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School, Yercaud - MyStamp issued on 11 Feb 2017
2017 - 100 Years of Champaran Movement - Issued on 13 May 2017
2017 - Srimad Ramanujacharya (Approved for release in 2017) - Issued on 01 May 2017
2017 - Banaras Hindu University (Approved for release in 2017) Issued on 28 Jun 2017
2017 - Srimad Rajchandra (Approved for release in 2017) Issued on 29 Jun 2017
2017 - Survey of India (250 Years) Issued on 22 Jun 2017
2017 - Bhisham Sahni (Approved for release in 2017) Issued on 31 May 2017
2015 - Ramayana - Issued on 22 Sep 2017
2017 - Mathura Refinery - MyStamp on sale in Sep 2017
2017 - India-Russia: Joint Issue (Approved for release in 2017) - Issued on 26 Oct 2017
2016 - Nanaji Deshmukh - Issued on 11 Oct 2017
2008 - Maulana Mehmood Hassan (Released as Silk Letter Movement) - Issued in Jan 2013
2015 - Mahabharata (Approved for release in 2017) - Issued on 27 Nov 2017
2018 - Shirdi Sai Baba - Samadhi Centenary - Issued on 15 Dec 2017
2013 - Traditional Indian Handfans (Approved for release in 2017) - Issued on 30 Dec 2017
2012 - Step Wells of India – Maharaja Agrasen Baoli and others (Approved for release in 2017) - Issued on 29 Dec 2017
2009 - Rani ki Var (Issued on 29 Dec 2017 in Stepwells issue)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

India Post Stamps on Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport 2017

Update on 05 Nov 2017: Here's what I thought about the stamp issue on the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai. The key issue was with the stamp design. These stamps were intended to celebrate 75 years of operation of the airport and not to showcase the new airport terminal. The stamp designer, obviously under pressure from the airport operator used images from Terminal 2, which was only completed in 2014. Even if only Terminal 2 images were planned to be used, and given that it's an operational airport teeming with passengers and airport staff, the stamps could have depicted the terminal and gates with people using the facilities. The souvenir sheet also shows the terminal schematic on the bottom right. I understand that it was only a graphical representation, but the south pier of the airport looks different than what's shown here. The logo used on the miniature sheet was also modified to remove the Hindi text from original. Lastly, why was the English title above the Hindi text? This is among the rare stamp issues where the English title is so prominent, when compared with the vernacular description. See the images below that show these oddities.

My first recommendation for the stamp design would have been to expand this set to have at least 4 of the oldest operational airports shown on stamps. I'd have incorporated a transition from the oldest to the new terminal in a graphical manner (Civil aviation set from 2012 was a good design). In case of Mumbai airport, a glimpse of the Jaya He Museum could have been used more emphatically. Anyways, I was expecting more from the stamp designer, Brahm Prakash. Some of his designs (Metal Crafts stamps in 2016) were acceptable, but majority of them have been hit or miss. This was a missed opportunity, which could have led to creation of a simple set of 4 stamps with four different airports.
CSIA images likely supplied by the airport operator to India Post. Note the stamp denomination and bold text in Hindi title
Update on 29 Oct 2017: India Post had issued stamps in two designs on the Mumbai International Airport on 15th October. I will provide some details on the stamp designs and other information in the next few days.