Postal History of Indian Stamps

PDF Print E-mail
Indian philatelic collections are usually divided into two broad categories: pre – and post - independence stamps.

The first postage stamps ever to be issued in India were the Scinde District Dawk – four special issues of 1st July 1852 for Sind District. These were ‘embossed stamps’ for ½ Anna issued during the East India Company days by the authority of Sir Bartle Frere, the Commissioner of Sind, and printed by M/s De La Rue & Co. of England. Theses stamps were imperforates that are stamps without perforations on their sides. Each stamp was to be cut out from a sheet of stamps using any sharp instrument. They were issued in white, blue and scarlet colours and depicted East India Company’s broad arrow. However they soon became obsolete. Fascinatingly, one of the series was embossed on sealing wax-scarlet colour on shellac wafer, but these often got cracked, though I have seen an intact one displayed in an exhibition.

The Scinde District Dawk stamps were most unique because they were not only India’s first but also Asia’s first stamps, and they were also the ‘first round stamps’ ever to be issued in the world.

The postage stamps depicting the Head of Queen Victoria for ½ Anna in blue colour were the first general issues starting from April 1854 onwards, initially issued as imperforates and without gum. Interestingly, by an error of printing, some sheets of stamps bore the Queen’s head upside down – called an ‘invert error’- thereby creating the first ever printing error on stamps. These are invaluable collections and are philatelic items since they were useable as postage stamps.

After the assumption of the governance of India by the British Crown in November 1858, Queen Victoria stamps continued to be issued, but it is captivating to see that India was name as East India in these stamps-printed as ‘East India Postage’, a continuation of the East India Company nomenclature. Queen Victoria assumed the title of ‘Empress of India’ in January, 1877, and since then the Queen Victoria stamps bore the words, ‘India Postage’.

Queen Victoria’s reign was the longest for any British Monarch (1837 – 1901) and one can see the change in the youthful face of the queen of 21 years in the Penny Black and early Indian stamps, changing into that of a maturing empress in the issues around 1891 and thereafter.

After Queen Victoria, came the stamps depicting the Head of King Edward VII from May 1901, the Head of King George V from May 1911 and King George the VIth from December 1936. These pre-independence stamps are mostly definitives and were printed in England.

India began printing its own stamps from 1926. The India Security Press, Nasik prepared the designs for the Head of King Edward the VIIIth, the eldest son of George the Vth, to time its issue with the king’s coronation, but Edward acceded the throne in January 1936 and abdicated it in December 1936 in preference to marriage an American lady and the crown passed over to his younger brother, George Vth. These essays i.e. preliminary designs are very interesting besides being of priceless rarity.

- Mrs. Nagalakshmi Tadakaluri, Philatelist.

Bookmark with:
Digg!Reddit!!Google!Live!Facebook!Netscape!StumbleUpon!Spurl!Newsvine!Furl!Blogmarks!Yahoo!Ma.gnolia!Free social bookmarking plugins and extensions for Joomla! websites!
< Prev   Next >

We Buy Stamps and Collectables

Collection Valuations with the Ten O'Clock ShowAre you looking to sell your stamps or collectables? We offer a free valuation service, throughout the UK. We guarantee to make an offer on any collection we view.

Click here for further details.

Contact Us

The Ten O'Clock Show Ltd
Bay Tree Cottage
47 Lutterworth Road, Burbage
LE10 2DJ
Tel: (44)01455 202525 (Mon-Fri 10am-5pm)