Saturday, 14 January 2012

Postal History of India in Brief:

                The postal history of a country is more important for a philatelist than its political history. India is one amongst the richest countries of the world who provides for a vivid, varied and wealthy postal history material for an ardent student of philately.

In India, during the administration of Warren Hastings (1774-1785), the postal system maintained by the East India Company was made available for transmission of private communications. Before the introduction of postage stamps, prepayment of postage was indicated by hand struck stamps known as Bishop-mark, named after Henry Bishop, Postmaster General of Great Britain. In India, it was in all probability first introduced in Calcutta Post Office in January 1774, when Warron Hasting allowed carriage of mail of private individuals on payment of fee through the Ease India Company's postal network. Small copper tickets or tokens valued at Anna 2(1/8th of a rupee) were generally the medium for payment of postage. Single letters up to 2-1/2 tolas (29grams) weight charged at the rate of annas 2 for every 100 miles (160Kms.). These copper tickets were reported to have been withdrawn by the Government on 14th September, 1784.

                Sir Ronald Hill (1795-1879) introduced the Penny Postage stamps in England on 6th May, 1840. The first postage stamps issued in India were in 1852 in the province of Sind under the Bombay Presidency. Sir Bartle Frere, than Chief Commissioner of Sind, was asked by the Bombay Government to undertake the upkeep of the postal services of the province and also to popularize it among the public. He was a great admirer of Sir Rowland Hill and his Penny Postage Scheme. With the help of Edward Less Coffery, then Postmaster of Karachi, Sir Bartle issued the postage stamps on 1 July, 1852. They were embossed pieces of paper with a circular design in red, with or blue, 'Scinde Dawks' as they were known, were of the denomination of 1/2 Anna. The number of stamps per sheet was probably 64, 8 row stamps. However, the exact number is not known. They were used in the Province of Sind as well as on the Karachi-Bombay route. Though these, embossed stamps were recalled in September 1854, but the order was not apparently carried out till June 1866.

After 13 years of the use of postage stamps in England, the Government decided to extend their use in India. In 1853, the first design was prepared in the Mint at Calcutta and the stamps were struck under the guidance and supervision of (later on General) Sir Henry Thuillier, then Deputy Surveyor General of India at Calcutta. The stamps were issued in July 1854.


The most common hobby is collection. Collection of any things like: stamps, coins, currencies, bank notes, postal stationery, logos, vintage cars, bikes, matches labels, boxes, cards, watches, sunglasses, articles, antiques, buttons, stickers, nail polish, photos, stories, books, umbrella, software’s, songs, records, cassettes, CD’s, DVD’s, movie, ribbons, pens, pencil, bottles, wallpapers etc. The list is going on even we can’t think what kind of stuff people collects. The collection is depends on that persons interest. Just for an example: can you imagine that I meet a person during my one train journey and he collects shoe lasses. Even funny collections like nail polish and ribbons.
           But all in this collection hobbies and among other hobbies the first and bests are stamps, coins & currencies collection. It was called as “KING OF HOBBIES” or “HOBBIES OF KINGS”. 

How to start collection:

                It’s a basic question which first comes to mind that “How should I start my collection”? And the answer is also very simple; just think of your interest that what are the thing which attract you very much. And then it’s easy to start collection those items.

For example: I was very much attracted about stamps, coins. So whenever I found any letter, post cards I just keep it with me. I borrow it from my friends, neighbors. After knowing my interests my friends, family members, relatives etc all support me. So if they found any stamps, postcards etc they give that to me. And day by day my interests grew up. I started taking more ideas from books, senior regarding developing the collection. I started making pen friends and request them to send theirs used stamps. Then I contacted stamps dealers, philatelic bureau and my collection grow day by day. I spend my free time in that. I study about stamps, the history of stamps. How to take care of your stamps and coins?

Later I started attending and participating Stamps and Coins exhibitions. Meet new philatelist and share each other’s ideas, knowledge and experience. I started organizing workshops for school children’s and guiding them. I found myself very happy by attending those events. When you involved in a work in which you have interest then that works became fun for you and then you performed your best in that.

To start stamps collection, you will need only few small things.

   v  Stamps

   v  A glass soaking dish
   v  Scissors
   v  Water
   v  Paper towels
   v  A stamp drying book
   v  Weights

Finding Stamps for Your Collection

    ·         Ask friends and family members to save up old envelopes and     
              interesting stamps for you.
   ·         From your neighbor, relatives, friends house you found stamps.
   ·         New stamps can be purchased at the post office.
   ·         Buy stamps packets at hobby stores.
   ·         Dealers sell stamps.

Sorting, Soaking, and Drying Stamps

       Most stamps you can get easily and cheaply will be on paper—on old letter envelopes. Sort them before you take them off the paper to keep from tearing them. You must get them loose from the paper without damaging them.

Trim the Stamps

        Never tear them off. This can destroy a wonderful stamp. This hobby requires patience. Cut carefully around each stamp leaving all the serrated edging plus about an inch or so space around the stamps.

Soak the Stamps

         Put a half inch of slightly warm water in a glass baking pan or a glass pie pan. Don’t use hot water as it will make ink run or the stamp start to disintegrate. Lay the stamps face up in the water. They will need to soak for from 15 minutes to as long as 2 hours. (The new self adhesive stamps are the tough ones.)

         Stay close by and watch the stamps. The ink of the postmark or the color of a colored envelope paper may begin to run and could ruin your stamp. If this happens remove the stamp and blot it dry and then try floating it lightly on cold water shallow enough so only the paper is in the water. Do only one at a time to avoid ruining the batch. This should minimize the damage.

Lift the Wet Stamps

         Use your fingers rather than a tool, like tongs, to handle the wet stamps as they may tear easily. When the paper is loosened enough to lift the stamp, carefully pull the stamp off the paper. Clean any remaining glue from the back of the stamp by rubbing your fingers gently over the glue. If it clings to the backing, soak longer. Don’t go off and forget your stamps. Set a timer or stay close by to keep your eye on them.

Drying Process

         Lay the wet stamps carefully face down on a paper towel. Blot gently with another paper towel. Don’t use newspaper because ink in the newspaper may leech onto the stamp and spoil it.. Next lift the stamp and place it in your drying book.

Stamp Drying Books

         Inexpensive stamp drying books can be purchased at the hobby store and consists of alternating blotter paper pages and plastic pages. You can make your own with absorbent paper and plastic sheets and some big books for weight. Dry the stamps in the drying book overnight.

Air Dry

          Take them out of the dryer book and lay them face up on a paper towel again to air dry for a hour or more.

Arrange in Album

          When the stamps are thoroughly dry and nice and flat, put them into your collecting book. Hobby stores and the Post Office sells such books. If you choose a photo album be aware that the plastic sheets may stick down to the stamps and that they may discolor the stamps over time. They can usually be found at teacher stores and book stores also. Dover books carry some stamp collecting books.

Saving Postmarks

           In many cases the postmark or cancellation mark since it bears a date and the name of the city where it was mailed may be as interesting as the stamp. When you trim the paper from the stamp, record the date and city name, if they will not show on the face of the stamp. When you add the stamp to your book, jot the postmark facts with it. Many Philatelists also collect postcards.

Clubs for Collectors

            The American Philatelist Society is a nationwide club for stamp collectors. Your local postmaster may have a listing of local stamp clubs. You can start your own Philatelist Club with friends who are interested in stamps. Meet once a month and show the new stamps you have preserved. It is fun to trade duplicates too. Learn together about stamps, stamp collecting methods, and products.

Philately is a great hobby. As I write above that its 'KING OF HOBBY' or 'HOBBY OF KINGS'

So why not start today?

For any suggestion, question or help needed then please write to me. 

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