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Postage Stamps & Stamp Collection
Postage Stamps & Stamp Collection
Postal service is accepted as a routine convenience. The posting and receiving of letters has become part of our daily lives but few of us have any idea of the vast system which has been developed over years to make this service available.
Birth of Stamps:
Till the postage stamp was introduced, postage on letters was either pre-paid in cash by the sender or collected from the person to whom the letter was delivered. The cost was calculated according to the distance the letter had travelled. Letters were defaced with different kinds of stamps to indicate whether postage had been paid or not.
History of Stamps:
In India, Mr. Bartle Frere, The commissioner of sind, introduced paper stamps in token of pre-payment of postage in the province of sind in 1852. These stamps, the famous “Scinde Dawks” were the first postage stamps brought out not only in India but also in Asia. The central design of the stamp was the East India Company’s broad arrow and the stamps were embossed in different colors. After the “Scinde Dawks” there was a general issue of stamps in India. The first design was the “Lion and the Palm Tree” made by Colonel Forbes of the Calcutta mint. But as he could not promise an adequate supply with the machinery he had, the design was never used.
Captain Thuillier, Deputy Surveyor-General, then took up the production of stamps by lithography. With his zeal and efforts he succeeded in bringing out the first all-India stamp in September 1854. The stamps were of ½ anna value, blue in color and had queen victoria’s head on them. Later, others of 1 anna, 2 anns and 4 annas value were also printed.
The first Indian pictorial stamp was issued in 1931 on the occasion of the inauguration of New Delhi. These stamps depicted scenes and landmarks of New Delhi. In 1937, stamps with pictures showing various aspects of carrying mail were issued. To commemorate the end of world war II a special issue of stamps was brought out in 1946.
The earliest story of stamp collection is that a young lady who had a strange fancy to cover her dressing-room with cancelled postage stamps. She collected 16,000 stamps herself. In 1841, She advertised in the London Times requesting readers to send her more stamps. This craze for collecting stamps was widespread in the early years of the postage stamp. Gradually indiscriminate and chaotic collection was replaced by careful and systematic collection. Stamp collection acquired a name ‘plilately’, which is made from a combination of the Greek words ‘philos’ meaning ‘fond of’ and ‘ateles’ meaning ‘exemption from tax’ .
What to Collect:
“What to collect” and “How to collect” are problems which face all beginners. With the growing popularity of stamp-collection, countries found stamps a good medium for publicizing their culture, industries, geography and achievements in various other fields. Some of the popular themes are butterflies, Communications, Fishes, Famous men and women, Railways, Religion, Sports, Ships etc. It is, therefore, desirable to decide what to collect before you actually start collecting. Whatever subject you choose, the collection should be as complete as possible. Haphazard collections should be avoided. Stamps on ‘India-Post Independence’ would be the best for the beginner to start with.
How to collect:
Start your collection by accumulating stamps. Plenty of them will be available. Check the mail coming to your house from friends or from the office. Don’t try to remove stamps from their covers by peeling them off. Cut off the portion of the envelope with the stamp leaving a good margin around. You may also buy a small packet of stamps from a stamp-store. You will also find that your school friends are eager to exchange their duplicates.
The greatest satisfaction of stamp-collection is exhibiting your collection. Stamp exhibitions at levels, district, regional, national and international are regularly organized. Once you have started stamp-collection, you should aim at building up a collection which can be displayed and evaluated at exhibitions. Stamp collection can also prove to be unexpectedly profitable. You never know if a stamp in your collection will not some day be priceless. But what is more important is the fact that stamp-collection teaches you so much about so manycountries.