Million rare stamps on display at Bombay philately show
Chindu Sreedharan in Bombay
Beauties, scores of 'em rare beauties, lined up in Bombay last week.
Er, before we go any further: it is not another Miss World contest we are talking about here, but a stamp exhibition-cum-competition.
The Centipex '97, to be precise.
Organised by the Philatelic Society of India as part of its centenary celebrations, the exhibition at the World Trade Centre
had 145 of the country's top philatelists displaying their collections.
Nearly a million valuable stamps including the rare 1852-issued Red Sind Dawk, the Penny Blacks of 1854 and the inverted head of Queen Victoria issued in 1854 were on show. A rare coin, issued in 1774 and used during the Warren Hastings period, is also on display.
''We have the world's first airmail stamps on exhibition," says Dhirubhai Mehta, editor of the Philatelic Journal of India, ''India was the first country to carry mail by air -- the stamps we exhibited were issued in 1911."
Besides private collectors, the postal department and the army postal services also participated in the event. The Bombay high court also pitched in and, for the first time, displayed some original documents from its records.
These documents included original patents with the British seal establishing the Supreme Court of India in 1823 and the subsequent appointment of Sir Joseph Arnold as its chief justice.
The Philatelic Society, one of the 10 oldest hobby groups in the world, is being assisted by the postal department in its endeavour. The department will issue two special stamps to commemorate the event.