Standardization of Philatelic Material in India-A View Point By Vinod Sabharwal

Standardization of Philatelic Material in India

India Post releases different types of Philatelic material through its Philatelic Bureaus in the country. It is estimated that there are about 40 lakhs (4.0 Million) collectors in India. This article is a result of interaction with a large number of Philatelists whom I have come across at various forums during my visits and tours all across the country. After discussing with the Philatelists from all age groups, all stratas of Society , Beginners to Advanced collectors etc it was decided to write this article to bring forth the view points of Philatelists. I am sure people at the helm of affairs on this issue shall take it as  constructive suggestions.

The article shall cover all Philatelic materials being presently marketed by India Post.

Stamps,Brochures,Postal Stationery, Presentation Packs, Booklets



    Stamp, Se tenant, First Day Cover , Miniature sheet,set of Stamps,Sheet let, Sheet, Quantity


Size ,Quantity

Stamps  :Commemorative

    The commemorative stamps are being issued in various sizes and  shapes , this has resulted in storage problems for Philatelists. It is recommended that  all commemorative stamps must be issued in 2-3 standard sizes and the designer has the liberty to design the stamp  and of any shape within this size only. It will go a long way in promoting this hobby. This standard size can be decided by Department of Posts. This is also linked to the FDC size. The number of stamps in a sheet of all types of sizes must be 30 only.

Se Tenants

    As of late we have se-tenants of different types namely standard se-tenants, se-tenants in block of four, se –tenants in horizontal and vertical strips of three/four. This has created confusion in minds of collectors specially beginners. It is recommended that a limited number say 4-5 Se-tenants must be issued per year and restricted to pair / block of Four. Se-tenants must also conform to the standard stamp size.

First day Cover

    The first cover must be of 2-3 standard sizes based on standard stamp sizes, some of covers released are too big to store or keep. If possible all FDC’s must be numbered.

Set of stamps on Themes

    The set of stamps to released on any thematic themes must be 4/6 as otherwise the FDC / Sheet size becomes too large. It is also recommended that a maximum of four sets per year only must be released.

Miniature Sheets

    A large number of miniature sheets released  can not be put on FDC’s and hence no cancelled FDC’s could be made. The miniature sheets should be of 2 sizes and conform to FDC sizes. A maximum of six miniature sheets must be issued per year to keep the interest and value in the item. All miniature sheets be serially numbered.

Sheet let

    A large number of sheet lets have been issued in various sizes which has created problems of storage, packing , use and dispatching in mails. The sheet lets should contain only 16 stamps in pure sheet let form and in case it  mixed sheet let for set of stamps where set size is 4/6 stamps per set then the mixed sheet let should contain 16/18 stamps only (Four sets of four stamp sets or three sets of six stamp sets). The mixed sheet lets should be on themes and pure sheet lets should be on National / International events and organizations.


    All personalities stamps should be in sheets and all sheets to contain 30 stamps only. It will also ease accounting problems for staff at Philatelic bureaus.

Definitive Stamps


    All definitive stamps of a particular series must be of same size. The denominations in a particular series must conform to prevalent postage rates for example as on date definitive stamps should be of   25p, 200p , 500p, 1000p and 5000p only.

Quantity per Die Plate

    The quantity per die plate must be fixed and known to the Philatelists by means of Brochure/ Circular to Philatelic Bureau.

Quantity per sheet

    There could be two types of sheets, one containing 50 stamps for Philatelists and for sale through Bureaus and second containing 100 stamps per sheet for sale through normal counters at all Post offices.

First Day Cover and Cancellation

    A philatelic event without day and date stamp/ cancellation is incomplete. No study or historical records can be kept. Hence all definitive issues should be released with FDC, First Day Cancellation and Brochures.


All Brochures released alongwith the commemorative and definitive stamps should be of same size containing all the technical details and details about design on FDC also.

Postal Stationery

Commemorative Stationery

    Apart from the normal  Postal stationery with advertisements , some Commemorative stationery must also be issued but restricted to 10 per year on various themes like art, sports, cultural heritage, wild life ,fauna & Flora, tourism etc. The print quantity of such stationery items could be 5.0 lakhs or 0.5 million for all issues.
    First Day Cancellation and cover
    All Postal stationery must be provided with First day Issue cancellation and cover.

Meghdoot Post Cards

These post cards have lost their charm as no records of issue are available /known

    And have been released in such large numbers that it is humanly impossible for any Philatelist to procure or possess all of them. Hence only a limited number  may be up to 48 per year @ scale of 4 per month should be only issued and should be broadly on social themes on which stamps are not possible .

Presentation Packs

As on date the issue of Presentation packs suffers from lack of information. No Publicity/ date of issue/ quantity issued  etc is known to Philatelists or the Public. This can be made attractive for collectors in the following manner

Issue on International Themes/ Sports/ Wild Life Conservation

Standard Contents  ( MS + Brochure + Cancelled FDC)

Standard Pricing

Only for Miniature sheet issues.


The issue of Booklets by the Regional Postal Circles is the biggest sore point. It is resulting in malpractices and unfair trade practices. Some of the smaller Postal Circles are issuing Booklets on various themes in liaison with local dealers as commercial ventures resulting in unfair pricing , hoarding , black marketing and cheating the philatelists. A small quantity is being printed and issued and that too is being issued and procured by a handful of  people and thus denying large number of Philatelists a chance to procure them. India Post must immediately issue instructions to all Postal Circles that the minimum acceptable Print quantity of any Booklet should be 20000, keeping in view the size of Country , No of Postal Circles and No of Collectors . Each of the booklets must be serially numbered to give them Philatelic value as also transparency in its distribution. The Booklets issued by all Postal Circles should be available at all Philatelic Bureaus of the Country.

Visit to Philatelic Bureau

A Visit to Philatelic Bureau is not a pleasant experience because of the uncertainty involved. A philatelist does not know – What will he get- a sheet or sheet let or MS or FDC? What will it be its size, does he have the right kind of packing material to carry this material?. In today’s World of High –Tech environment we are still groping in dark on many such issues.


These articles are written with a view to make this Hobby attractive to the Youth and prevent those collecting from getting disgruntled and disheartened. It is hoped that it shall provide a inside view to India Post  about wants, requirements and difficulties of common average  Philatelists of the country who travel  a long distance , spend lot of time , energy , money and resources to make a visit to the Philatelic Bureau and yet  return from the Bureau unable to get what they wish to collect. The aim is not to criticize any individual/ organization but a request to all like minded people to help us in Promoting and saving this hobby.

Contributed by: Vinod Sabharwal, New Delhi

Promotion of Youth Philately in India-A View Point by Vinod Sabharwal

Promotion of Youth Philately in India

Philately undoubtedly is one of the most popular,informative and educative hobbies. It has involved millions and millions of People all around the World. It is instrumental in forging bonds between people irrespective of Nationality, caste, colour, creed or religion. It is a language onto itself which requires no script. In fact the script is common all across the Globe.

It is perhaps  the only hobby which gives joy and happiness to people at all ages – be it a child of 10, a young person of 25, a middle aged person of 40, a mature adult at 55 or an old person at 75. The pleasure derived by each one of them from this hobby is immense.

It is thus a duty of all those at the helm of affairs  related to this hobby to ensure the hobby survives and reaches new Pinnacles of glory. Like every Plant requires water, sunlight and fertilizers to grow similarly Indian Philately requires more and more young people for this hobby to grow in India.

In order to lure Youth to take on this hobby the controlling agencies viz India Post and PCI  need to take some steps . Few suggested steps in this direction have been discussed by  me in succeeding paragraphs which  could perhaps generate some brain storming at a suitable forum.

Youth Wing in PCI Philatelic Congress of India must have a working Youth wing to oversee the development  of Youth Philately I the Country. The  elected members must be Young renowned Philatelists who have achieved  laurels in Philately at National/ International Level.

Revitalize the Countrywide Network This Youth Wing at PCI  must revitalize the countrywide network of similar Youth Wings at State/Region? Zone levels. The state Philatelic bodies ? organizations  must promote and encourage Young Philatelists to take charge of Philatelic activities and promotion of Youth Philately.

Interaction with Ministry of Youth Affairs The PCI and especially its Youth Wing must  have more interaction with Dept Of Posts to devise ways and means to promote this hobby among the youth of the country. The Ministry of Youth Affairs could be approached to include Philately as afield which requires youth involvement and more so for allocation of funds .A lesson on Philately could be included in CBSE syllabus at secondary school level.

Grass root level Promotion. The promotion has to start at grass root levels for Youth Philately to flourish and take roots. The most important aspect is ‘ Catch them Young ‘ i,e school level children be involved to participate and take on this hobby.

Nodal Philatelic Centers The PCI and State Philatelic  bodies should identify active school / cities wherein this hobby is already having a base . To start with even 10 Tier II (satellite town/Cities) cities of the country and about 20 Schools / colleges could be identified and developed as ‘ Nodal Philatelic Centers’.

Youth Philatelic Festivals / Stamp shows Youth Philatelic Festivals , State Youth stamp shows and one frame exhibit shows should be organized during the months of May/ June and December (vacation season ) to promote this hobby . Youth icons in different fields should be invited for such shows.

Young Jury Apprentices Apprentice Jury at National level and below  exhibitions  should have Young apprentice jury as it will give exposure to Judging and seeing exhibits from a different angle thereby making them mature Philatelists. PCI should have even Youth National Commissioners  for International Youth Exhibitions.

Sponsoring Young achievers Once Young philatelists are identified and they achieve  laurels at National/ International level  they must be sponsored ( financially , Guidance from experts in the field etc ) by PCI / state level bodies and their entries for higher level of competition must be fully supported and ensured.

Youth Stamps India Post can issue at least  two sets of stamps every year on Youth Philately/ Themes wherein a surcharge could be levied which could be used for promotion of Youth Philately in the country.

Stamp collecting be made affordable The Dept Of Posts and Philatelic advisory Committee needs to ponder that I order to attract youth to this hobby the number of stamps per year must be restricted to 35- 40 to make this hobby affordable. The flooding of issues mean that a school and college going Youth cannot afford to buy stamps from his/her pocket money or savings  and hence loses interest in the hobby.

Stamps on Youth Icons We as a nation must bring out stamps on Youth icons like Sachin , Dhoni, Rathore Sania Mirza , Saina Nehwal , Abhinav Bindra etc  to attract youth to this hobby. These icons are their idols and definitely they be get attracted to this hobby. These icons can be great motivators.

Philatelic Dealers and Phila boutiques I believe that this hobby strives on three pillars – Firstly The Dept of Posts and PCI, secondly collectors or philatelists and thirdly the Philatelic dealers. The third Pillar i.e the philatelic dealers must make available genuine material to young philatelists at affordable prices and must not misguide them or overcharge them. That must be taken as a social responsibility and duty rather than making fast bucks.
It is estimated that  India has 40 million collectors , over 1500 Philatelic Clubs and Societies., 1.75 lakh Philatelic deposit account  holders , 68 Philatelic Bureaus and 1138 Philatelic counters. The infrastructure and main ingredients are in place it only requires guidance, effort , push and channelization.



Contributed By Vinod Sabharwal,New Delhi

News-Post Offices Start Selling Gold Coins from 15.10.2008

Post Offices have started selling 24-carat gold coins from today. The coins will be available in over 100 India Post outlets in Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat in the pilot phase.

The gold coins are in the popular denomination of half gram, one gram, five grams and eight grams. The prices of these coins will be competitive based on the prevailing prices of gold.Later on Post Offices will be selling gold coins with India Post logo.

India Post has launched this pioneering venture in association with World Gold Council and Reliance Money.

The gold coins will be packed in a sealed cover with the certification from Valcambi, Switzerland.

Add to your Gold collection during the Festival season.

We wish all the best to India Post on this new venture.

News – eMOs

News – eMOs

Post Offices have also entered the hi -tech era by launching electronic money orders (eMOs). The electronic money orders will be booked at the prevalent normal rates and no extra money will be charged.The Postal Department is also likely to launch sales of Gold Coins up to 5gm from Oct 15,2008.

Readers Desk

Gandhi, a clever auctioneer of his autographs?

Press Trust of India – New Delhi, India

New Delhi, Sept 14 (PTI) – Always open to ideas, Mahatma Gandhi was a clever auctioneer of his autographs for raising funds for the Congress, says Jawaharlal Nehru’s niece Chandralekha Mehta.
“Unlike the pictures of the serious Father of the Nation spinning the charkha that adorn public buildings, Gandhiji had a ready smile, twinkling eyes and a smooth complexion. He was a formidable walker and a very clever auctioneer of his autographs, which he sold to the highest bidder to collect money for the Congress’ fund,” Mehta writes in “Freedom’s Child: Growing up During Satyagraha”, published by Penguin.

Writing about her early years spent in Anand Bhawan, Allahabad, which was an important seat of political activity at that time, Mehta, daughter of Vijaylaxmi Pandit, gives us a peek into the momentous years of the freedom struggle.

“People remember him (Gandhi) for different reasons. For our family, and many others, he was the elder to whom one went for counsel and comfort. What I find endearing about him, especially in the context of our present intolerant climate, is that he was open to ideas,” the book says.

The author recounts myriad events and experiences of her childhood years — birthdays, family vacations, elections, picketing, Congress sessions, wearing khadi for weddings and waiting outside jail for her loved ones. Through an engaging narrative, she shares some of the little-known facts about her family, and cherishes her long association with remarkable men and women like Nehru, Gandhi, Maulana Azad and Sarojini Naidu.

Contributed By Prakash Mody-Canada

News-Our View-Let us Save Philately

Let Us Save Philately

It is nice to know that a number of Philatelists have sent us words of encouragement on our write up regarding philately. We shall continue to air our views to ensure that Philately as a hobby gets promoted and is not  exploited or hijacked by people professing themselves to be the saviours of this hobby.

We again wish to emphasize that constructive suggestions to popularize this hobby should be the aim and not professional or personal jealousy.

We wish to highlight the malpractices which are prevalent in Philatelic circles which are being put under wraps and  “NO ISSUES”  are being highlighted at the behest of few people who have professional and business interests at stake.

A recent issue was ordered by a so called Philatelist in bulk as it was commanding a premium in the market, the print quantity was low and this Philatelist cum trader was procuring it in bulk to dispose it to earn  a huge profit. It is worth mentioning that others were being given this at scale of two and in some parts of country it was not even available. It was a blatant misuse of Power, unethical and criminal. It  amounts to cheating a small boy who saves his pocket money  to buy this stamp thinking that is  going to be great addition to his collection only to be told that unknown quantity has also been sold to one/ few individuals; naturally his heart breaks? IS it not unethical, illegal , immoral and criminal.

Why are the quantities of various issues varying? It  seems vested interests have  financial stakes  in such issues otherwise why should Tarangini /Dandi March be cornered by a few and it should be issued in such less quantity whereas a popular theme like butterflies is lying unsold having being printed in huge quantities. It merits attention.

Special covers and booklets being printed and not coming to philatelic Bureaus but being cornered by so called lucky few within hours of release. These are then sold at high Premiums online and Offline .What will this be called? This is total injustice being done to Philatelists  to benefit a few individuals. What action is being taken against such individuals.?

A variety, error of any type will always command a price and a premium. That’s the fun of Philately. The oldest stamp is not the costliest it may be unique or rare. But what about the premium for creating artificial scarcity? Who is getting benefited ? A lucky few who can either afford, have right connections or have the capacity to order additional quantities and liquidate /sell  them in market at many times the face value .Is it not an offence ?

Another field of Philately thriving today is innovative creations ? An item not originally issued by Department of Post but some  smart people are creating it now and disposing them online/offline as original issues. Is it not Cheating an innocent collector or buyer?

A collector will pay whatever a dealer asks ,as he loves to collect and posses what he likes., but it is the moral duty of seller not to cheat, dupe him or overcharge him. In a healthy environment the hobby thrives, in polluted environment the hobby shall face a premature death and extinction. Choice is with us.

All this is happening because some persons are having unchecked access to Department of Post/ offices where a common citizen is not allowed to go but these persons manage to go because of their connections in corridors of power and have inside information about the release of issue and its likely market value and thereby they carry out a speculative trading.

Readers Desk-Mail Bag-Readers Forum

Hemant Kumar Jain

I am a Philatelist & want to subscribe as a member of your Club of Indian Stamp Ghar . My brief details are as below: –
I (Hemant Kumar Jain) aged about 48 years old .I am Civil Engineer got a Bachelor Of Engineering degree from Govt. Engineering. Collage Jabalpur (under Rani Durgavati University Jabalpur). Presently I posted at Mandla (M.P.) in Water Resources Department as an Assistant Engineer. My interest in Philately since childhood in year around 1970 when I was a ten years old boy. My Grand father & father was keeps old mail on mesh wired hanger. I picked up such mail & removed stamps from it & pasted on my notebooks. I have been seriously active for the past 28 years when I got a job & able to expend money to built my collection. I have work upon the Postal History i.e. Early Indian Cancellations & won bronze medal in M.P. State level Exhibition & gold medal in Jabalipex-2006. I also collect India Mint stamps, Sheetlets, F.D.C’s; all type of Postal stationary includes Greeting Imprinted Post Envelopes, Meghdoot Post Cards. I also create Maxim Cards for my own collection as well as few spare for exchange purpose.

My Postal Address are as follows:-
Er. H. K. Jain ( Assistant Engineer )
Water Resources Division,
Civil Lines, Mandla (M.P.)
PIN 481661
Contact No.cell:091-9425484703
Land Line:07642-251187


Indian Paper Money Guide Book-2009

Indian Paper Money Guide Book-2009 published by Philatelia and written by Manik Jain has hit the stands.It was on sale in Bangalore at “Nanydarshini-2008” organised by Karnataka Numismatic Society.

Printed Price : Rs.550

No. Of Pages :256

Period Covered : 1772-2008