15 June 2014

Herbs on stamps…



Date of Issue : 11 June 2014

Chunghwa Post ( Taiwan) is issuing  set of four stamps, featuring Foeniculum vulgare, Perilla frutescens, Lavandula angustifolia, and Ocimum basilicum. These four fragrant herbs are extensively used for flavoring and medicinal purposes. The designs follow:

1. Foeniculum vulgare (NT$3.5): A perennial herbaceous plant of the family Apiaceae, it is known for its yellowish green, pinnate and finely dissected leaves. Its flowers are a delightful yellow.

2. Perilla frutescens (NT$5): A perennial herbaceous plant of the family Lamiaceae, it has heart-shaped leaves, with serrate edges. Its flowers are dark pink in color. The plant is reddish purple throughout.

3. Lavandula angustifolia (NT$12): A woody plant of the family Lamiaceae, the edge of the leaf is smooth. Younger, newer leaves are covered in dense white tomentose hairs, which would fall off as the leaves age, and their green tint become visible. The flowers are blue, pinkish or white.

4. Ocimum basilicum (NT$25): A perennial herbaceous plant of the family Lamiaceae, the surface of its leaves is either smooth or slightly puckered. The flowers are white or pinkish.

Club News

World's most valuable stamp to go under the hammer



The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta, which is billed as the 'world’s most famous stamp, will go on sale on June 17.

158-year-old stamp which is one of the rarest stamps of the world, British Guiana One-Cent Magenta  is in the news these days as it is expected to fetch $20 million in 17th June auction at Sotheby's New York .

The Unique British Guiana 1856 One-Cent stamp, printed on magenta surface-colored paper, is currently on display at the exclusive auction house's London branch before going on sale in the US on June 17.

Billed as ‘the world's most valuable stamp', the piece was first purchased either on or before April 4, 1856. It was discovered by 12-year old schoolboy Louis Vernon Vaughan in 1873, as part of his uncle's stamp collection.

It was sold later that year and turned up in Paris in 1878 before being passed on to Austrian nobleman Count Philippe la Renotiere von Ferrary, a famous stamp collector. In 1922 ‘the world's rarest stamp' was sold for a record amount of $32,500.

It went under auction again before finally breaking a new record in 1980, when John E. du Pont paid $935,000. The iconic talisman is now returning to the market, and Sotheby's predicts that it will sell for anywhere between $10 million and $20 million.

Read More….


Errors Get the Stamp of Approval

By Shampa Dhar Kamath

They used to say the most interesting thing about a postage stamp was the persistence with which it stuck to its job. I would say the perseverance with which it clings to life is even more remarkable.

Reports of the death of philately appear to be greatly exaggerated. Stamp collecting as a hobby is floundering for sure, but dying, apparently not. After June 17, it could be most definitely not. That’s the day a 158-year-old stamp from British Guiana goes under the hammer at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. The ‘Unique One-Cent Magenta’ has done the auction circuit before: it sold in 1922 for the then record amount of $32,500 and in 1980 for $935,000. This time, Sotheby’s expects it to fetch between $10 million and $20 million.

A printing mistake in publishing can cost you your job. In the world of stamps, it simply gets you more money. Consider the Swedish Treskilling Yellow, which has become one of the world’s most precious bits of paper just because it is in the wrong hue. (A normal three-skilling stamp in Sweden should be blue-green; this one was erroneously printed in yellow). The stamp sold in Zurich in 1996 for $2.3 million; it exchanged hands for a larger sum last year but all the auctioneer would say is that the buyer believes it to be a “solid investment in these turbulent times”.

Not all stamps have that exciting a career graph, but that doesn’t seem to affect 60 million people around the globe from collecting them. At last count, 200 countries were still issuing stamps and at least 9,000 new ones were being printed every year. India can lay claim to at least 60 sets of those, with many of our sets containing more than just one coloured bit of paper.

Not that it’s just about collecting— analysts say stamps are among the top four investments of the 20th century and produce an average return of 11 per cent per annually. Like everything else, many of the new stars—both stamps and their collectors—come from China. A set of 1967 stamps featuring Mao Zedong greeting crowds with quotes from his Little Red Book is already worth $53,000.

But India is not completely out of the picture. By making our own share of printing errors, we’ve managed to enter the history books too. There’s a four-anna stamp from British India, with Queen Victoria’s head printed upside down. That error is worth at least Rs 1 crore today. A stamp from a 1948 set of Rs 10 stamps bearing the picture of Mahatma Gandhi, with the word ‘service’ stamped across his chest, sold in 2011 for $205,000 (Rs 1.2 crore at today’s rate).

Those who can’t afford such errors may like to take up India Posts on its ‘My Stamp’ offer. For a while now, the department has been offering individuals the facility to convert their personal photographs into legally-valid stamps. All you need to do is show up at the post office carrying valid identification papers and a good-quality photograph of yourself. You will be handed a selection of backgrounds to choose from—such as flowers, zodiac signs, flowers, wildlife—to use alongside your picture. Choose whichever visual you like best, cough up Rs 300 and, voila, your face can be the stamp on the next letter you post.

They say the President of today is the postage stamp of tomorrow. Maybe your career could go in reverse.

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