12 April 2008

First stamp in Asia - The Scinde Dawk

India is the first country to issue the first stamp in Asia . These stamps are popularly known as the Scinde Dawks . It was July 1, 1852 when Mr. Bertle Frere , the commissioner of Sind ( now in Pakistan ) introduced paper stamps which were limited to Sind district only for circulation . The central design of the stamp was the East India Company's wide arrow and the stamps were embossed in different colours . The value of the stamp was 1/2 anna and the words 'Scind District Dawk' were printed on it in a circle . Vermillion stamps were issued first but they had a very short life because they were embossed on very fragile paper . White stamps were issued later on but embossing on white paper could not be seen clearly . So stamps were finally issued in blue colour on white paper . These stamps are famous among stamp collectors as Scinde Dawks were not only first in India but also in Asia . Scind Dawks were withdran by Sind Posts Department on September 30, 1854 because regular stamps of India were issued on October 1, 1854 . Scind Dawk is one of the rarest stamps of the world . India issued on October 19, 1977 a 100 paise stamp on the occassion of Asiana -77 depicting this famous Scind Dawk stamp .

MOST FAMOUS STAMP OF THE WORLD ( One cent British Guiana)

In the nineteenth century, the stamps of British Guiana were printed by a British printer, Waterlow & Sons. In early 1856, the stock of stamps was sold out before the fresh shipment from England arrived. The postmaster of British Guiana E.T.E. Dalton, needed stamps in a hurry so he asked the firm of Joseph Baum and William Dallas, publishers of the Official Gazette in Georgetown, to print an emergency issue. Dalton printed one-cent and four-cent stamps; the one-cent stamps were for newspapers and the four-cent stamps were for letters. On these stamps were printed the existing designs "the name British Guiana, the seal of the colon" a ship, and the Latin motto of the colony, "Damus Petimus que Vicissim", (translated as "We give and we seek in return"). Usually, stamps of different values of the same design were printed in different colours, but the printing firm did both values in black ink on coloured or "magenta" paper. Since the quality was very poor the postmaster, to prevent forgery, asked the post office workers to initial each stamp before selling it. Thus, as a security measure each stamp was initialed by a post office employee. (Known initials are "E.T.E.D." for Dalton, "E.D.W" for Wight, "W.H.L." for Lortimer and "C.A.W."for Watson).

In 1873, Vernon Vaughan, a 12-year-old Scottish schoolboy collector living in Georgetown, discovered the octagon-shaped one-cent "Black on Magenta", postmarked April 4, 1856, among some family papers. It was in poor condition, ink-smudged and slightly damaged and bore the initials "E.D.W". He soaked out the stamp and kept it in his album with his other stamps. Shortly thereafter, Vaughn decided to sell it in order to purchase foreign stamps. He sold it to N. R. McKinnon, a local collector, for six shillings, which at that time was less than one US dollar. Five years later, McKinnon sold his entire collection to his friend Wylie Hill who lived in Glasgow, Scotland. Some time later, a London stamp dealer, Edward Pemberton, studied the collection and identified the one-cent Black on Magenta as a rare stamp. Hill later sold it to Thomas Ridpath, a dealer in Liverpool, England, for 120 British pounds. In the early 1900s this dealer then sold it to the Frenchman Count Philip La Renotiere Von Ferrari, the most well-known stamp collector at that period, for 150 pounds. After Ferrari's death in 1917, his collection was auctioned in Paris between 1921 and 1925. In one of these auctions, the stamp was purchased in 1922 by millionaire Arthur Hind of Utica, New York, for 7,343 British pounds. Around that time, rumours circulated that because Hind was obsessed with the stamp, he had bought a second one-cent Black on Magenta and destroyed it so that his remaining one- cent Black on Magenta would remain as the only one in the world. Arthur Hind died in 1933 and left his stamp-collection as a part of his estate. His widow, however, claimed that the one-cent British Guiana stamp had been given to her by her husband. The court upheld her claim and in 1940 the stamp was sold to Frederick Small, an Australian living in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, for a price ranging between US$40,000 to US$75,000. In an auction held by Robert Siegel Galleries in 1970, the stamp was sold for $240,000 to Irwin Weinberg and a group of investors from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. The one-cent Black on Magenta remained in their collection for ten years when John E. du Pont of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, bought it at an auction for $935,000.

The story of 'POST OFFICE' Mauritius Stamp

The 'Post Office' Mauritius stamps are the rarest stamps of the world .These were the first to be issued by British Colony of Mauritius. It was the year 1847 when lady Gomm, wife of the Governer of Mauritius planned to hold a fancy dress ball on 30th september 1847 to mark the Island Government Fifth Anniversary .She wanted to use the first postage stamps of Maritius on her letters of invitation. The time was very short , so it was decided to have the first postage stamp printed locally . There was a man named J.Barnard in Mauritius who knew how to engrave design on plates . Lady Gomm asked him to engrave the design for the stamps and print 500 stamps of 1d and 2d value each. The design selected had Queen Victoria Head in the centre , the inscription Postage at the top and value at the bottom, Maurutius on the right and Post paid on the left . He completed the design and printed the stamp but made mistake of engraving Post office instead of Post Paid . The story behind the engraving of post office on stamp is that the J.Barnard lost the paper on which the words to be inscribed were written by the Post Master and he could not remember what was to be engraved on the left hand side , so he decided to go to Post Master and ask him the actual words to be engraved on stamps . As he reached the Post Office he noticed that Post Office was written on the building . Soon he convinced himself that these were the words which were written on the paper he lost . He rushed back and engraved the word Post Office on the design . This mistake was not detected for about seventeen years . In 1864 Madam Borchard wife of bordeaux merchant found 12 pieces of these rareties among her husband letters. Only 27 of the stamp pairs, are known to exist in the world. These are the rarest philatelic items.

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