Published on 26 September, 2014 in Mint
New Delhi to host Stamp World 2014, seeks to revive interest in philately
Emails may have replaced handwritten letters. But the history of stamps that carried our letters to faraway countries remains worthy of preservation—it’s a history that can be traced back to 1840, when stamps were introduced to the world as a prepaid token for a tax levied on letters. The first postage stamp was issued in the UK in 1840— it was called the “Penny Black”, and it carried queen Victoria’s profile. Twelve years later, Sir Bartle Frere, the British East India Company’s administrator of the province of Sindh, introduced the “Scinde Dawk” stamp in India.
The Philatelic Society of Delhi is organizing Stamp World 2014, a two-day event, which starts on Saturday, where historical stamps and significant philatelic material will be on display.
Founded in 2013 by a group of nominated members, the Philatelic Society of Delhi is a non-profit organization that aims to revive interest in philately. Stamp World 2014 is their first such exhibition. “There are two kinds of people—ones who collect a lot of stamps and others who know a lot about them. We simply decided to fill the vacuum. We hope to make this event an annual one and for now it stays in Delhi,” says Rajesh Mittal, president of the Philatelic Society of Delhi.
Stamp World 2014 will include some of the early published stamps from the top 50 collectors in India—including the embossed 19th-century issues of the “Scinde Dawk”, stamps featuring queen Victoria (the first to be used across India), and stamps of British India and princely states. The event, Mittal feels, will be of interest to all age groups.
One of the many highlights of the event will be an auction to be held on 27 September by Mumbai-based Todywalla Auctions, a numismatic firm and auction house. This will be its sixth philately auction. Kaizad F. Todywalla, who represents the second generation of Todywalla Auctions, says: “Returns in philately are consistently positive…. We’ve seen many new entrants in the field in the last four years, both nationally and globally.”
Approximately 512 items are expected to go under the hammer—a pre-stamp cover (1825) with rare oval despatch “French India Chandernagore” stamp is estimated to be worth over Rs.2 lakh; the first stamp of Asia and India, a rare blue K Anna “Scinde Dawk” (1852), is expected to go for around Rs.2.8 lakh; the estimated value of a Mahatma Gandhi 1K Anna service stamp (1948) on cover sent by the Governor Generals Camp PO on 17 August 1948 is around Rs.10 lakh; and an unusual “error” stamp of 1977 “India Flowers” with “India” omitted from print is expected to sell for Rs.2 lakh. On Day 2, there will be a panel discussion on philately conducted by Markand Dave, the overseas representative for India at The Royal Philatelic Society London. Stamp World 2014 will be held from 27-28 September, 10.30am-6pm, at The Crystal, District Centre, Laxmi Nagar, near Nirman Vihar Metro Station, New Delhi. The auction is scheduled for 27 September from 6.30pm onwards and is open to all.