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Queens and comets – stamps record world history Queens and comets – stamps record world history

Jan-17-2015 | 0 Comments


Bengaluru: It's a hall of fame of sorts: Queen Victoria is here, so is Indira Gandhi, Winston Churchill, even Halley's comet and some stray dinosaurs. It's here that philatelists simply lose themselves, among the rows and rows of history.

Walk into one stall to read Indira Gandhi's letter to her parents, stroll into another for stamps smelling of roses and chocolates. The stamps exhibited at Karnapex 2015 at Kanteerava Indoor Stadium is a big draw for stamp gazers, students, public and buyers too.

From a stamp that's worth a mind-boggling Rs 2.4 crore, to the recently released stamp of the Mars Orbiter Mission, the exhibition narrates history, and technological innovations at various milestones in the world.

It was a meet of philatelists from various parts of India. V Rajagopal, 45, from Coimbatore, has collected more than 20,000 stamps. "Whenever my friends came from foreign shores, I would request them to get some stamps. I had a passion for stamps right from my childhood," says Rajagopal, who hasn't yet thought of insuring his stamps. He has a wide range - from Winston Churchill to Halley's comet to Charles Dickens, and Thailand's stamps with rose fragrance safely preserved over the decades.

Saifuddin Patakwala, 64, from Pune, has spent over Rs 20 lakh so far on his unique passion. "I have over 50,000 stamps from over 200 countries," he says. His collection ranges from stamps from the UAE, Italy and even Liberia.

Another big attraction was the world's first embroidered stamp, published on June 21, 2000, from Australia, part of the collection of Akshay Borad, a city businessman. Stamps narrating the life of Mahatma Gandhi, collected by Jayprakash Sarda from Bengaluru, also drew the crowds.

There were many like MS Jaffer, a philatelist keen on buying stamps with historical significance. "I'm looking to buy stamps of the East India Company," said Jaffer, a senior citizen.


A special cover of India's pride Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) was released. "With this, the message of MOM is taken worldwide by India Post. It tells young children that anything is possible," said former Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah, who inaugurated the three-day event, said, "The government will look into India Post's suggestion to make use of 10,000 post offices for e-governance projects, especially in villages."

India Post released special covers for the 12 renamed districts of Karnataka.

Mistake fetches queenly Rs 2.5 crore

The world's first double-coloured stamp in 1854 was a royal mistake: Queen Victoria's face was printed inverted. It was quickly withdrawn, but a rare few did make their way out. One reached passionate collector Dr Sita Bhateja. The four-anna (25 paise) stamp is now worth Rs 2.5 crore. This stamp was reprinted from March 10 to April 2, 1855. "It's a very interesting stamp. Collecting stamps was a passion right from my school days. I think I have more than 1 lakh stamps. I had earlier insured my stamps, but now I've taken different measures to safeguard them," says Dr Sita. Her interest lies largely in the stamps of pre-Independence India.

Aam aadmi finds himself on stamp

Imagine flying around the country, sitting on a corner of an envelope... ITI employee NS Ramakrishna has done this countless times. Back in 1954, Ramakrishna was operating a machine at ITI when his picture was clicked, and later turned into a stamp. Ramakrishna, unaware of it, got the surprise of his lifetime when newspapers published the stamp in 1955. "That was the era of technological innovation and the Panchavarshika Yojana (five-year plan) focused primarily on technology. It was a surprise to see myself on the stamp," he says. Ramakrishna, 86, was at Karnapex on Friday with his personal India Post stamp. "I was 27 then. I used to operate switch adjustment machines. Nehru had visited Bengaluru then, it was the industrial boom," recalls Ramakrishna.

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