Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Philately- 1948, The year of the Mahatma

If 1947 was a year to cheer, then 1948 was the year to mourn. Mahatma Gandhi, was murdered by a nut-head. Hence on 15 August 1948, on the first anniversary of Independence, the postal department released 4 mourning issues of the Mahatma.
A total of 5 stamps were released n 1948, other than the 4 mentioned above, on 29th May 1948 a Stamp featuring a Lockheed Constellation aircraft was released. This stamp was meant for one day use only i.e. for the first flight of India-U.K. on 8th June 1948. A total of 0.57 million of these were printed and the once that have cancellation, are quite treasured by stamp collectors and history buffs. Being a small collector, I have only managed to get an un-cancelled issue, nevertheless its quite a treasure for me.

On 15 August 1948, 4 stamps featuring the Mahatma were released as mentioned above. They were printed by Courvoisier, La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. Today these are the most treasured stamps of any collector. These 4 stamps in any condition can cost between 10,000 to 20,000 Rs. If they have the words 'specimen' overprinted on them then the cost is not less than 5 lakhs. These stamps prepared by the Indian embassy in Switzerland were mounted on a golden foil and presented in a black velvet folder.

The first is a 1.5 anna Brown stamp, 25 million of these were printed. This is the most common of the 4 stamps.

These 3.5 anna Violet is quite a pretty shade and 2.5 million of these were printed.

3.75 million of these 12 anna Grey-green stamps were printed.

Now for the most soth after stamp, the jewel of a philately collection, the apple of my stamp collection. Since  it was a 10 Rs stamp, the sky high cost of the stamp automatically put it out of reach of most Indians.

The stamp had the words 'bapu' printed in hindi and urdu as a symbol of communal harmony. The stamp created a bit of controversy anyway, since bapu was not shown in his customary dhoti.
100 such stamps had the words 'SERVICE' overprinted on them. These became the worlds least printed stamps. They were meant for the use of C Rajagopalachari, the governer general of India. Today it is estimated that only 18 such stamps exist in the world.
On 5th Ocotober 2007 it was auctioned for 38,000 Euros and on May 19th 2011 re-auctioned and sold for a world record price of 1,44,000 Euros making it the most expensive modern stamp.
Unfortunately my collection does not have the 'Service' overprints, but at least, I feel good to own the 10 Rs Gandhi stamp.
Any of you, who collected stamps in childhood, or acquired a collection or know any one who has a collection of stamp- do keep a look out for the precious 1948 Gandhi's .

1 comment:

  1. Great information... I too have some stamps from childhood, but none like this..