Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How this is possible?

I saw UN 2009 Gandhi FDC with India stamp with same day cancel on ebay and I was curious about it.

How this is possible?

Following is the cover with both stamp and cancel.

Is this real or someone bribe Indian Postal service or DIY(Do It Yourself).?
UN issued this FDC on October 2nd 2009 in USA. It takes about 16 hours to reach Delhi with direct flight and from there it takes about 2-4 hours to reach Kanpur. So let's consider total 24 hours including drive time to airport, custom clearance,traffic in newyork,delhi/kanpur etc. Also there is time difference of 9 1/2 hours from New York(EST). So total is 33-35 hours.

If someone gets this cover at 9:00 am EST from UNPA it will reach Kanpur on October 3rd around 10pm in India and at that time Indian postoffice is closed.

So I am confused.!

I don't own this cover or not planning to buy in future unless it is not FAKE and ofcourse if it is cheap.

Again thanks for reading this blog post and  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gandhi & Event Cover - II

Recently I bought following event cover.
Event:- Maiden Voyage from USA (New York) to France(Le Havre)
Ship Name:- FRANCE ( SS France)
Stamp:- USA 1961 8 Cents Gandhi.
Maiden Voyage from Le Havre:- 3 Feb 1962
Maiden Voyage from New York:- 13 Feb 1962
Uniqueness of ship:- World's longest passenger ship (in 1962).
Decommissioned: 25 October 1974
Status: Scrapped in Alang, India 2008 ( Which also near to Gandhi's birthplace!!)

Again this cover was not made with Gandhi thematic in mind. It was made with event "Maiden Voyage of the ship". This cover has unique cancellation with SS France ship and Le Havre postal cancel in the back and in front it has rubber stamp of photo of ship, name of event, date and place.
The SS France was the French Line flagship from 1961 to 1974, combining regular transatlantic crossings - six days and nights - with occasional winter cruises, as well as two world circumnavigations.

Further Reading:-

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gandhi and Event Cover - I ( Gandhi stamp on event cover against his principle)

Hello Gandhi Collectors,

Event covers are decorated, stamped and canceled commemorative envelopes. They are created to celebrate an event or note an anniversary. It explains what is being commemorated on what date, and generally also includes an illustration page.

Ideally, the stamps used relate to the celebration (for instance, space stamps for a shuttle launch). Cancels are either obtained in the city of the event (such as Kitty Hawk for the Wright Brothers first flight anniversary) or, for larger quantities of envelopes, from a special cancellation unit maintained by the Postal Service in Kansas City, Missouri. If a special cancellation (one with a design) has been created for the event, you can generally only receive that cancel from the local post office.

Following is the event cover and it has Gandhi stamp from USA. This commemorative event cover has postal cancelled on March 9 1961 on Polaris Missile Fired at 1pm from Cape Canaveral FLorida with cancel from Patrick Air Force Base near Cape Canaveral in Florida.

 In this cover the main important thing to notice is

1) Event. (What is event?)

2) Place of cancellation (From where missile was fired. )

3) Date of cancellation ( Date when event occured.)

4) Stamp on cover (what stamp should be on cover to make it more important).

This cover was not made specially for Gandhi philatelic collection. It was made to celebrate Polaris missile launch so this makes some what important for Gandhi philatelic collection because it was not made with Gandhi in mind. Also this cover don't justify Gandhi's Non-Violence principle which he follows throughout his life so this Missile launching does not go with this stamp.!!!!

Again thanks for reading this blog post and  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Now let's talk about Polaris Missile launch on this cover.

1961 March 9 - Launch Site: ETR Launch Area. Launch Complex: -. Launch Pad: -. Launch Vehicle: Polaris. Model: Polaris A2. LV Configuration: Polaris A2X-8.
Test mission Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 March 9 - Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: LC6. Launch Pad: -. Launch Vehicle: Redstone. Model: Redstone. LV Configuration: Redstone 2040. FAILURE: Control system malfunction during re-entry at 374 sec. Apogee: 90 km (55 mi). Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 358 m.

The Polaris missile was a two-stage solid-fuel nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) built during the Cold War by Lockheed Corporation of California for the United States Navy. It was designed to be used as part of the Navy's contribution to the United States arsenal of nuclear weapons, replacing the Regulus cruise missile. Known as a Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM), the Polaris was first launched from the Cape Canaveral, Florida, missile test base on January 7, 1960.

More interested in this Polaris missile read following links.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gandhi & Naval Cover - II

Hello Gandhi Collectors,

Following cover was mailed from USA SubMarine USS Dace and then it was given to USA Navy Cargo ship USS Vermilion(AKA107) ship for further delivery to New York address.

This cover was not mean to made for GANDHI philatelic collection. It was made for Naval cover collection so it is very very rare cover with GANDHI stamp.

Again thanks for reading this blog post and  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

History about USS Dace Submarine:-

USS Dace (SSN-607), a Permit-class submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the dace, any of several small North American fresh-water fishes of the carp family. The contract to build her was awarded to Ingalls Ship building in Pascagoula, Mississippi on 3 March 1959 and her keel was laid down on 6 June 1960. She was launched on 18 August 1962, sponsored by Betty Ford, wife of future President of the United States Gerald R. Ford, Jr., and commissioned on 4 April 1964, with Commander John A. Walsh in command.

Dace was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 2 December 1988. Ex-Dace entered the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington and on 1 January 1997 ceased to exist.
History about USS Vermillion Navy Ship:-
USS Vermilion (AKA-107/LKA-107), was a Tolland-class attack cargo ship of the United States Navy, named after a parish in southern Louisiana and a county in eastern Illinois. She served as a commissioned ship for 25 years and 9 months.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gandhi and Naval Cover - I.

Following cover was not mean to made for GANDHI philatelic collection. It was made for Naval cover collection so it is very very rare cover with GANDHI stamp.

Above cover is example of Naval Cover with USA Gandhi stamp. This cover was send from USA Navy Ship USS Observation Islan (EAG 154)

Observation Island (EAG–154) was laid down as a Mariner Class high speed cargo ship 15 September 1952 by the New York Shipbuilding Corp., Camden, N.J.; launched as Empire State Mariner 15 August 1953; sponsored by Mrs. Samuel C. Waugh; and delivered to the Maritime Administration and the United States Lines for operation under General Agency Agreement 24 February 1954.

In March 1959 Observation Island returned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for installation of additional equipment, including the Ships Inertial Navigation System (SINS). In June she steamed for her new homeport, Port Canaveral, Fla., and made preparations for the first at-sea launch of a Polaris missile. Designated UGM–27, the missile was successfully launched from Observation Island 27 August.

Following this milestone, Observation Island returned to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for installation of a fire control system to enable her to launch more sophisticated guided versions of new generation Polaris missiles. She also received a new launcher, the developmental prototype of those installed in the FBM submarines.

This work was completed in January 1960 and Observation Island returned to Port Canaveral to continue Polaris test launch operations. After a total of six launchings, the ship commenced support of Polaris launchings from FBM submarines. She provided optical and electronic data gathering services, and acted as communications relay station between submerged submarines and the supervisor of range operations at the Cape. The first successful fully guided Polaris missile launching from a submerged submarine took place 20 July 1960 from George Washington (SSBN–598). Through October Observation Island also supported launches from Patrick Henry (SSBN–599).

Following further modifications at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in the fall of 1960, Observation Island returned to Port Canaveral in December to continue FBM support work and systems test and evaluation. She received the Navy Unit Commendation 15 December; launched the new A–2 Polaris 1 March 1961; and supported the first submerged A–2 launch from Ethan A lien (SSBN–608) 23 October.

In late 1961 Obervation Island served as a survey ship on the Atlantic Missile Range, and in January 1962 she again put in at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, this time for modifications preparatory to launching the new A 3 Polaris. Returning to Port Canaveral in March, she supported FBM submarines through the following autumn, when she steamed for two months of operations on the Pacific Missile Range.

Observation Island was back at Port Canaveral by Christmas, and until June 1963 she expanded her role of oceanographic survey in the Atlantic Range. She conducted the first successful at-sea launches of the A–3 Polaris 17 and 21 June. President John F. Kennedy came on board 16 November to observe a Polaris launch.

She has since continued to operate essentially as a sea-going platform from which missile launches can closely approximate conditions encountered in FBM submarine launches. Her equipment is constantly being modified, allowing prototypes to be tested thoroughly before missiles and associated components become operational with the Fleet. As a mobile platform, she can conduct tests in any instumented range.

Do you think this is Paquebot covers?

Again thanks for reading this blog post and  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

To read more about Observation Island click following link.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My 1st year experience of collecting GANDHI philatelic material

In November I finished one year in my Gandhi collection and I would like to share my experience so new collector are aware of this things as I was not.

In short my experience is HORRIBLE when you collect Gandhi related philatelic material which does not go with Gandhi's way of thinking and living !

As some of you know how I got back again in to my childhood hobby after 20 years. I was looking for worldwide stamps and album for my kids and I saw Gandhiji stamp from USA so as a respect to him I bought it and did more research and I was amazed with material available on Gandhiji and I started collecting back.!! Before this I have no idea about Gandhiji stamps issued by other countries than INDIA.

While doing research on internet I found one of the best website "Lick Service to the Mahatma" hosted by one of the famous Gandhi collector Mr. Rajan which gave me indepth about what kind of material is available. His website is . If you read and understand his topical exhibit on Gandhi's Life than you don't need any other material to start and become expert. I am very thankful to Mr. Rajan for making this available to whole world and which indicates he is the true follower of Gandhi.

I got information from another Gandhi collector Nikhil Mundra website His website as lot of details about countries issued stamps on Gandhi and also his exhibit will also give you ideas about collection and what you need to collect.

Also I got idea about indepth topical 1948 Gandhi issue from Maulik Thakkar from one frame online exhibit. This exhibit taught me how to do research about special topic. You can see his online exhibit by clicking this link Maulik is also owner of this blog and he allowed me to share this blog with him.

I started buying only stamps from which is a very good seller so I bought about 25-30 cheap stamps(25-200 Indian ruppes) from him. Then I started looking on ebay as some of the stamps in his store were expensive so I thought let me buy it if is cheaper from Americian and European dealer but that was not the case as some Asian dealers and Asian origin people also wants to buy that and resell this to new collector at high price. But some how I bought it at expensive price but I also learned lessons and how to avoid this kind of stuff.

Slowly slowly my interest was more than ever so I started collecting FDC and I bought FDC from USA and UK. And slowly slowly I collected almost all FDC including the expensive Cameroun 1968. You will find more details in this blog How this particular FDC from Cameroun is expensive.!!

After this I started collecting sheets, used covers, maxi card and imperf stamp.

On ebay and delcampe there are lot of thugs who are doing very bad business practice. Some of the famous collectors (reseller/dealer) from UK is making this hobby very expensive in order to make some money. Following is what they do.

1) They have more than 50+ account on ebay and try to sell his stuff and bid on it and make it expensive. They have accounts from UK, USA, INDIA, Australia, Isarel, France, Netherlands and other countries. Also they work with other dealer to increase the price. So BEWARE of this kind of dealers. It will be very very hard to avoid them.!!

2) Also they increase price on others seller item for their gain. In order to sell their stuff at higher price they will start bidding on other auction and make it impossible for collector to buy. Following is example on delcampe item # 5487660

Khel10ka bidded on this item with multiple id and increase the price and eventually he did not allowed me to buy it and on next day he offered me same FDC for 190 euros!! I declined his offer right away. After 2-3 days original seller contacted me and told me about that non-paying, non-replying buyer and we negiogate the price for 121 euros.

Also same thing happen to following Cameroun FDC. In this case buyer "6300" opened new account and try to outbid the real buyer (ganges1948) and in that way he increase the price of this FDC so his value increases. Same FDC is selling on ebay for 30-35K rupees on ebay India.

Now let's talk about dealers from Asia. This are the dealers who increase price of the item and they don't allow new collector to buy cheap from delcampe and ebay. I stop buying from Asian dealer even if I don't have it. I can leave without having that items in my collection.!! Only buy from Asian dealer if it really cheap and justify the price.

Also there are some dealer from UK(even base in India/USA) you need to avoid too other wise you are screwed and your Gandhi collection will be NIGHTMARE.

Don't think that buying from Belgium or Germany or Netherlands or China is safe(not cheated) as some of the asian dealer/collectors have contacts their and they mutually help each other.

You have to be very very careful to buy Gandhi realted material. If your read my following recommedation than very less chance that you might get in to bad dealing.
1) Buy from following ebay seller from Europe and North America without worry.

hajunga (64000+), instampco (14000+), qv500(13000+), fil_mag(11000+),bereson(32000+), pnjstamps(16000+), coversandpostcards(38000+), stampko(19000+), rlingen(26000+). In short if you buy from dealer with 10000+ feedback no chance of cheating at all.

If you don't want to read following is OK as my #1 point covers everything.

Only buy from 5000+ feedback on ebay or delcampe. Higher the feedback they are very good seller. Reason for this is that this fake seller have multiple ids and they can't reach 5000 easily. Also you will get excellent quality of stamps/covers. NEVER buy from new seller with 10-500 feedback(I am really sorry for new seller or genuine seller with less feedback). Also there are some seller who has around 800-1500 feedback and avoid those and you have to know who they are.

2) DON'T BUY FROM EBAY Asia(India, Singapore etc) as ebay's listing fee and shop(store) fee is cheaper seller are usually putting item for higher price as they don't have to worry about fees like in USA or UK.

Same issue on DELCAMPE site as there is no listing fees some Asian dealer are taking benefit of this and listing their item at enormus high price. Declampe is good site but Asian dealer made this buying experience horrible.

In this way they fix the pricing of Gandhi philatelic material.

Again only buy from this ebay sites if they are priced reasonable and if you think seller is really genuine.

3) Don't try to buy it multiple items from one seller to save shipping. This is were you will also get cheated as this thugs try to increase price of the items.

4) Don't buy it Fixed price or BUY IT NOW item if it is expensive as this dealer try to increase it price after buying from Europen seller for cheap. And they try to make you fool as same item might be selling for lower price than that FIXED price and you will buy it.

I bought Cuba FDC for 10$ at Fixed price from dealer and later I bought same FDC for 50 cents.!!

5) Don't buy if auction price is starting is higher than 10$. Reason for this that seller is fixing the price than open market.
If auction is starting at less price than make sure shill(fake) bidding is not going in that auction. It's hard to know whether there is fake bidding going on but you can tell if seller has less # of feedback and shill bidder will stop bidding it after it reach certain level. Also in general there will be 4-8 bids but if it is shill bidding going on than # of bids will increases. Also the geninue buyer will wait to see what's going on and depending on situation they will bid on that.
Keep in mind that great collector ( like Rajan, Maulik, Nikhil and others) don't need all items or FDC. They might be looking for some very special so they will never even look at this regular items. .They will not waste there time in bidding or not waste their money on that kind of items so if you see more # of bids on certain items than there are chances of shill bidding. Only greedy dealers will try to buy or sell items to newbie collector at higher price. I have been through this.!!

6) NEVER buy 2nd chance offer from seller. Because seller might be bidding on that item to increase the price. If you want to buy than negiogate the price and usually 30-40% lesser than sold price. I only bought once in 2nd offer on my costly purchase of Cameroun FDC as I know the bidder was FAKE( in real life he is a big collector and reseller and unregister dealer). I also negiogate the price from 190 euros to 121 euros. I recently saw that this kind of 2nd offer happens in PANAMA Gandhi stamp which is also inflated price.
There is always shill bidding in 1948 gandhi issue with 10Rs. stamps, Panama 1970 gandhi stmap, FDC with 3 low value 1948 and ofcourse FDC with 4 1948 gandhi stamp so beware of it.

7) Also avoid buying from UK listing (Except 5000+ seller) because you cannot see who is bidding items as ebay don't provide the even short ebay id so all things bidders are hidden. It is hard to find who is bidding and lot of misuse of this privacy option.

8) FDC/Max card after 1995 are needs to checked before you bid on it as there are lot of FDC from Nevis, Macadonia, St. Vincent etc. Also the stamps from Nevis, St. Vincent and others with Obama, Diana, Indra Gandhi etc needs to be checked before you buy as they are just printed by some greedy dealers and sold by greedy dealers.

9) Most important thing is to study the sellers as well as buyer and you will know how to collect GANDHI collection.

I hope this will help to all collectors. Let me know if any questions or concerns about this. If you want to add anything than let me know or put comments on this.

Thanks again reading this blog.

Think as hobby not as investment.!!

Click to see 50th Anniversary
Special Cancellation

Note:- If you think I have mentioned you directly(name calling) in this blog than please let me know so I can modify it. Also my main purpose for this is to educate new GANDHI collector so they don't have to go through all what I went in 1 year. I spend more time in researching this bidding process and bidders than researching about Gandhi stamps.!! so I am 100% sure what I am writing here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gandhi and Paquebot - Part IV

Stamp:- USA Gandhi 4 cents
Cancel:- 16-4-1962 from LaRochell, France
Ship:- S.S.Pioneer Tide
Ship Type:- Cargo
Ship Owner:- United States Lines Company.
Cover travels :-
Land(USA)---> Sea(paquebot) --> Land (postal cancel in France)-->Sea/Air---> USA
Some important links about ship history

Again thanks for reading this blog post and  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gandhi and Paquebot - Part III


This is my first blog post. Thanks Maulik for your trust to share your blog with me.

I saw both Maulik's paquebot covers on ebay and thought this are junk covers so I never try bid on it as I have no idea what is Paquebot or Seapost before reading this Maulik's blog.

Recently I also got Gandhi Paquebot cover. This cover was mailed from "M.V. Jalamoti" a Indian Shipping boat owned by Scindia Navigation Co. Ltd. The company was recognised as the first Swadeshi shipping company in the true sense of the term and was referred to widely in Mahatma Gandhi’s columns in Young India on the Swadeshi movement, the boycott of foreign goods and the non co-operation movement.

This cover travelled through

Land (India)--> Sea (M.V.Jalamoti ship) --> Land (Alaska) --> Air --> Land (Houston)

It travelled through Arabain Sea, Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal, Pacific Ocean, stoppage through Singapore (my guess after reading more about ship and company) and other ports before reaching to Ketchikan, Alaska on Sep 12, 1977 and after that it was flown to Houston and landed there on 15 sep, 1977.

I am dedicating this Gandhi paquebot cover to Maulik as without his blog it will take me years before I might know or understand about paquebot and because of his knowledge sharing I was able to get this cover. Thanks Maulik for sharing this knowledge instead of been a greedy collector by yourself and this makes you one of the real gem as a Gandhi's philatelic collector.

Again thanks for reading this blog post and  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gandhi's 140th Birth Anniversary - 02-Oct-2009 - Internation Day of Non Violence

It's quite interesting. It's Gandhi's 140th Birth Anniversary. On 15-June-2007, United Nations decided that 2-Oct be observed as the International Day of Non-Violence.

It's not surprising to see postage stamps and special cancels and souvenir covers are issued.
1. India Issues a Special Definitive Postage Stamp. Rs 25.00 Denomination Stamp & Sheet of 70 Stamps

2. South India Philatelic Association (SIPA) has also issued a special Hologram Cover today on this occasion. It perhaps is the first Gandhi Hologram of it's kind.

3. United Nations issued a souvenir stamp of US$ 1.00 and souvenir card. Click here to order one from the United Nations Website for yourself. The description is below.

A New York card on the theme “International Day of Non-Violence” will be issued on 2 October 2009. The card depicts a picture of Mahatma Gandhi and the new US$ 1.00 definitive stamp. The card carries a statement by BAN Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and by S. M. Krishna, Minister External Affairs of India.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gandhi and Paquebot - Part II

As I was researching more and more about this Pacquebot. It so happened that I came across another Gandhi gem. This time it's Gandhi used on a cover from Mauritius.

This specific cover, MAURITIUS 1969 Gandhi Paquebot ship Pierre Lot S Africa, consists of 60c Gandhi (2), one on the front and other on the back of the cover used for airmail cover from Curepipe (JY 29) to a Pacquebot ship Pierre Lot, Cape Town, South Africa (private?) receiver, with boxed Paquebot marking.

Cover Traveled through - Land -> Air -> Land -> Sea. Very unique cover and usage.
The cover has a ton of creases and return address has been expunged. It's amazing that the cover has undergone a lot of rough weather and is still intact.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gandhi and Paquebot - Part I

Although generally taken for granted, present-day postal service is of relatively recent origin. The use of postage stamps for prepayment of postage was not introduced until 1840, when the UK established a unified postage charge, the famous penny rate, to be paid by the sender of a letter regardless of the distance it had to travel. Until that year, the postal fee based on distance was often very high and was not paid by the sender but by the addressee. If the addressee could not pay, the letter was returned. Gradually, other countries introduced adhesive stamps, and their use spread to international mail. In 1863, on the initiative of the US, representatives of 15 postal administrations met in Paris to consider the problem of standardizing international postal practices.

The decisive development came with the meeting of the first international Postal Congress at Bern in 1874, at the suggestion of the German government. The Bern Congress was attended by delegates from 22 countries: 20 European countries (including Russia), Egypt, and the US. The congress adopted a treaty concerning the establishment of a General Postal Union—commonly known as the Bern Treaty—signed on 9 October 1874. This was the forerunner of the series of multilateral Universal Postal Union conventions and came into force in the following year, when the union was formally established, on 1 July 1875, to administer its operative regulations.

The 1874 Convention provided for subsequent postal congresses to revise the convention in the light of economic and technical developments. The second congress, held in Paris in 1878, changed the name of the General Postal Union to the Universal Postal Union (UPU). Four more congresses were held prior to World War I: 1st in Lisbon, 1885; and 2nd in Vienna, 1891.

The second one held in 1891 in Vienna is of importance. This where the UPU addressed how to frank mail when the mail is sent or posted while the individual is traveling on board a shipping vessel. Which country's postage stamp was to be used? To make it easy, the origin country of the ship or the Flag that it represented was chosen as the default country whose postage stamp would be accepted. The mail would then be transfered to next port where it would dock without incurring any mail forwarding charges.

However, it did not answer the question as to how to identify the franking or cancellation of any mail that originated from on board a ship. So, in 1894 a tentative agreement was reached to use "paquebot" cancel or marking on the mail to distinguish it's use. This was not ratified as official maritime correspondence marking till the 3rd congress session held in Washington, 1897.

Paquebot means Packet Boat in French, since it was the official language of UPU.

Here's the million dollar question, what's Gandhi got to do with Paquebot?
Well, Gandhi traveled to London on S.S. Rajputana to attend the Round Table Conference. No known mail sent by Gandhi and mailed from S.S. Rajputana is known to exist. However an example of a Paquebot cancel from Rajputana, dated 16-Dec-1930 is attached.

After many years I did finally come across a Gandhi Stamp actually used on a Paquebot Cancel. For now I am attaching the scans of both front and the back. I will provide some additional details on the cover at a later point.

Please do leave comments or feedback for me and my work. Researching is not an easy task and it takes time, effort and above all dedication to it. If anyone would like to help or contribute please do let me know so I can send an invite.
This does require a Google user-id

Monday, April 27, 2009

1971 - Panama's Gandhi Stamp, a Surprising Philatelic Rarity

This article is courtesy of Jim Cross and Columbia/Panama Philatelic Society.
This article is blogged with written permission obtained from Jim Cross, the author of the article. Minor portions are edited for this blog.

Panama had a relatively modest stamp issuing program until 1964. In the following four years the government contracted with a firm which agreed to provide stamps without cost in return for the rights to sell them to stamp dealers outside of Panama. The contractor was given the authority to design the stamps and most of the numerous stamps issued from 1964-1968 had sports, space or fine art themes which would sell well to thematic collectors.

When the contract was terminated Panama resumed it's relatively modest program of stamps issues. Most commemoratives were for events of importance to Panama. One exception was a 10 centesimos airmail stamp issued on 17th-Dec-1971 commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi (Sc C384).

The decree specified that 200,000 of the stamps would be printed. The choice of the denomination was interesting. At the time 10 centesimos paid the basic rate for a domestic airmail letter. The rate for an airmail letter to Central America and the United States was 13 centesimos, so if the Gandhi stamp was used on a letter to these destinations a 3 centesimos stamp had to be added. Relatively few letters were sent by domestic airmail in Panama and only a limited number of these domestic airmail covers have been saved. The majority of the available covers from this era are from mail to correspondence schools in Los Angeles and in Guatemala which had many Panamanian students and sold the envelopes from their correspondence to stamp dealers.

There were few stamp collectors in Panama during the time when the stamp was issued. While I was a specialized dealer in Latin American stamps I found that there were few requests for modern new issues from any Latin American country, I would estimate that no more than 5000 of the Gandhi stamps were sold mint to dealers and collectors and the number maybe quite a bit less than that. Over the three decades when I was a dealer, I seldom had more than two or three of these stamps in stock and those sold quickly.

Apparently the availability of the stamp of 1971 was not widely publicized and relatively few were purchased by collectors or dealers in India. Beginning about 1990 I began to receive periodic inquiries from India for these stamps.

There may have been official first day covers with the stamp, but I have never seen one. When I began collecting 1950-1985 Panama airmail covers, I was able to trade some older covers for a lot which originally came from the collection of David Leeds. It included two uses of the Gandhi stamps on cover. I found two other covers in dealers stocks. Then in August of this year(2007) I bought a specialized collection on Ebay. This was a collection of 205 covers organized by origin in Panama and almost all were from 1971 and 1972. Most were addressed to correspondence schools in Guatemala. This collection contained eight additional covers with franking with included a Gandhi stamp. It also included two pieces with the stamp clipped from airmail covers.

I selected three Gandhi for my collection and planned to sell the others on ebay. I had no idea what prices they would bring, but I suspected that there would be interest from thematic collectors, especially those in India. I listed the first cover with a starting bid of $9.99 and one of the two pieces with a starting bid of $0.99 what would happen. The listed cover had the Gandhi stamp on the back so it would probably have to be opened out for mounting in a collection. When the lots were listed the bidding started slowly, but a number of individuals were watching. There was a flurry of bidding during the last hour and the cover closed at $86.00 and piece sold for $29.00

Over the next two months I listed the other eight covers and the other item on piece. Later covers sold for even more than the first cover.

Attached below are some of the images that were sent to me by Jim Cross.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Gandhi 1969 Cancels - Possible Forgeries

There are 4 known infamous cancels of Gandhi Centenary.

1. Fiji - Previously reported

2. Below is the from Rangoon, Burma.

3. The one below from Luxemburg.

4. The 4th and Final one from Czech Republic.

The authenticity of all the above is in serious question. I have physically handled all 3 of them. The covers appeared crisp and the size, appearance, gum and make appear very similar to the ones I could have bought from any general store in Mumbai.

Also, I have compared the "probable" authentic Luxemburg cancel that I own and purchased from a dealer based in Luxemburg. Attached below is an example. The cancel is bigger in size as compared to the one displayed above and is also much clearer.

Specifically for Luxemburg and Czech cancels
1. The ones mentioned in the Manik Jain catalog are very similar to the examples above. One on the stamp itself and one on the left of the cover.
2. There are no known usages of these cancels on any article that would have been posted.
From Fiji and Burma there are known usages in existance and it is a debatable issue whether any cancel issued and available in abundance on a plain cover with no known postal usage is genuine.

An Example of probably an authentic Luxemburg Cancel.

Inexpensive I would say, anywhere from US$15 to $25 and a Space filler for sure!!!!! The problem with these cancels is how do you compare it with an original when there is none. There is no catalog available other than the one from Manik Jain which in itself poses a debatable question on authenticity of material printed in it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gandhi 1969 Cameroun - One of a kind on Cover

Cameroun, Gandhi Centenary Issue.

First Day Covers are sporadically available on various auction sites including ebay and they do command a premium. In all I have seen around half dozen sales, bidding is intense and the price has always varied from US $300 to US $450. I have never understood the justification for such a high price.

There are 4 known varities of this pair. Please fee free to correct me if I am wrong on this.

1. Without the overprint

2. With overprint

3. Inverted overprint

4. Imperforate Gutter pair.

Recently, a commercially used cover surfaced on ebay. I had never seen such an item and probably will never see it again. What are the odds of this kind of an item re-appearing in an auction? The collector who bought it will never sell it privately or through an auction.

Having said that, the price of this cover did not exceed that of the FDC. Strange are the ways of collectors and bidders. Looking at the recent hammer prices in Germany on Gandhi Philatelic collectibles, no one can tell it has anything to do with the global economic slowdown. The exchange rates have been volatile and even Stanley Gibbons was forced to mark down some of it's items which is kind of unheard of within the collecting community. In the first quarter alone, I must have received at least two postal mails from them which I think is pretty extreme considering the fact that I have purchased only once from them in my 25 years of collecting. One can only wonder what would have transpired with their investment department.

I think I leave the investment for another day. For now enjoy the cover, brought to you courtesy of an ebay auction.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gandhi 1950 Handpainted Essay - One of a kind

This one of a kind Essay appeared in an auction by David Feldman SA - on October 2-6, 2008 Auction. Lot# 60051. I would be curious to know how much it sold for.

INDIA - 1950 Unique Handpainted gandhi Essay 1950 Inauguration of the Republic issue, 4a Blue hand-painted essay on card, beleived to be the unique essay with a gandhi design created by De La Rue, illustrated on front cover of a Robson Lowe 1979 auction catalogue Estimate: €8'000 - €12'000

If anyone has any historic information or story about this Essay, please do share. Again this is Archival Material.

I don't think this item adds any value to one's collection. However, it is a must have if you have the kind of money it commands. As long as the auction houses exist on this planet, recovery of investment is also gauranteed. It probably will never see the light of the day and will remains in the confines of someone's fireproof safe.

What a waste!!!!

Gandhi 1969 - Fiji Cancel

Fiji was one of the countries that had issued a special cancel commemorating the centenary of Birth of Mahatma Gandhi. Little is known about this cancel as to how many postal mails were ever cancelled and which post offices were issuing it.
Left: (1) Fiji to New Zealand - 02-Oct-1969

Right: (2) Sent Locally From Suva, Fiji to Suva, Fiji on 03-Sept-1969

To make a quick buck, there are people who have made this into a DIY (Do-it-Yourself) hobby as it's called here in USA. Needless to say, forgeries are rampant and quite sparingly available, the price varies from US$ 50 to US$ 200 depending on who is buying. Like they say in Hindi in Mumbai, "Giryak dekh ke poodi(pan) banata hai".

Left: (3) Cancel on a piece of paper - 22-Sept-1969. Probably a remnant of a cover.
I have attached 3 different cancels and would like you to judge and identify the forgery or forgeries. Please leave a comment on this blog and also provide your reasoning behind it. As I get handful of comments, I will compile and publish the results along with my take on it. By the way I do own one of these cancels.
Individuals who correctly identify each as a forgery or genuine will get a Gandhi philatelic item of my choice.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gandhi 1969 - One Of A Kind - Hungary - Imperforate used on cover

To commemorate the centenary of Birth of Gandhi, Hungary was one of the countries that had issued a postage stamp on Gandhi.

The attached example is rare usage of the imperforate on cover. The stamp itself is quite common and does not command a premium unlike the one from Germany. One can buy this stamp of ebay for less than US $10.

This cover recently appeared in an auction in Hungary and sold for approx US$ 400.

Priced on a moderately higher side, but a unique cover that could be very nice to have in one's collection.

Update: 03/15/09.

It seems there is only one sheet of 60 error stamps known to exist. This is the only known use on a cover which is extremely rare. Recently a certified copy of the error stamp showed up on ebay for Euros 2222.22 which is about US $2685.00

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gandhi 1969 - One Of A Kind - Germany Imperforate used on cover

Gandhi 1969 - Germany Imperforate used on Cover.
One of a kind.

To commemorate the centenary of Birth of Gandhi, Germany was one of the countries that had issued a postage stamp on Gandhi.

This is one of the rare examples of this stamp on a cover. It seems it is the only known usage of this on cover.

The imperforate stamp itself is quite common. However it does command a premium. I do not have the exact count of how many imperforate stamps are in existance. If anyone has a guesstimate, I would love to hear from you.

The last sale price of this item - Euros 3500.
and Ah!!! I do not own this item. From my perspective, I don't see any value addition in my Gandhi Collection.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gandhi 1969 Color Trials

The 1969 Gandhi Color Trials went on the Hammer at "India & Indian States" on 21st Feb 2009

Auction Lot Numbers & selling price

  • 20p - Lot# 11149, bid opening 1500 Euros, hammer price, 2600 Euros.

  • 75p - Lot# 11150, bid opening 1500 Euros, hammer price, 2600 Euros.

  • Re1 - Lot# 11151, bid opening 1500 Euros, hammer price, 2600 Euros.

  • Rs5 - Lot# 11152, bid opening 1500 Euros, hammer price, 2600 Euros.

  • With additional 15% buyers premium assuming payment is made by bank draft to reduce additional 4% credit card charges.

    Total Euros = 11,960.00
    As of 02/28/09 - Total USD = 15,162.27 and Indian Rupees = 773,351.38
    Barring 1 or 2% currency fluctuations, it's quite a change.

    1969 Centenary Issues.

    Celebrating the centenary of birth of Mahatma Gandhi, India Post & Telegraph Department had issued a set of 4 stamps in denominations, 20P, 75P, Re1 and Rs5.

    What are color trials?

    also called rainbow colors.

    Before any stamps get printed or issued to the general public for use, the issuing authority, in this case, India P&T, usually performs a color trial. The stamp design or the sheet is printed in different color layouts and by using the process of elimination a committee or a person identifies the best one for actual use.

    The unused or rejected or unissued color trials are then archived. They remain in the archives for whatever reason with the India Security Press, Nasik, India. They never see the light of the day and are never auctioned or sold. Little or no information is available as to what actually happens to them.

    How many different colors?

    Each stamp in this specific set was printed in 8 different colors. So, there are 8 x4, 32 known examples of the color trials for this set. Attached below are the actual images from auction.

    My Opinion - I am probably opening up a can of worms.

    These color trials are classified as the philatelic treasure and are the property of the people of India. The democratically elected Government is the sole custodian.

    The laws of economics, "Demand creates supply" applies in this situation. Eventually the people with physical access to it become the suppliers to meet the demand and the color trials probably made it's way to the philatelic collecting community and to this auction.

    Case of convenience.
    I don't think, neither Christoph Gartner nor Auktionshaus Christoph Gärtner GmbH & Co. KG , would have been aware that these are actually stolen goods from the Government of India and they are breaking the laws of India by assisting in sale of stolen goods.

    On the other hand, these are not officially listed in the Stanley Gibbons Catalog or The Scotts Catalog. Any sane philatelist and dealer will swear by these catalogs. So the question is, is the auction house smarter than the catalog publishers or did the auction house knew of it's existance as stolen goods and conveniently ignored it?

    The million dollar question - how did it make it to the auction?

    I have heard from philatelic circles, that the individual who consigned these items is a citizen of India.

    Article that appeared in Times of India on this specific auction.