Make Notes of these Stamps and Coins -- By Siraj Syed

Make Notes of these Stamps and Coins -- By Siraj Syed

15th of August, 1947, is a historic day, as India broke the shackles of British colonialism and became independent on this day, 69 years ago. Slogans of ‘Jai Hind’ were chanted energetically by the crowd, as Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the national flag at Red Fort, New Delhi. 


Every year, this day is a national holiday, and is celebrated by flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and political speeches. In addition there are various other public and private events celebrating the history, government and culture of India. This year too, we witnessed country-wide celebration.

On occasions like these, governments issue stamps, first-day covers and coins, to commemorate them for eternity, and to add a wide reach. Collectors look forward to such releases and archive them with great passion. Some of the unique stamps and coins launched to celebrate and honour this eventful day have been preserved by Mintage World, which is dedicated to preserving these items of history and culture.

Stamps
  • On 21st November, 1947, the first stamp of Independent India was issued, depicting the national flag. 
  • On 15th December 1947, two other stamps were released. They show the Ashoka Pillar, the emblem of Government of India, and a Douglas DC-4 aircraft. 

Note: All three stamps depict the slogan ‘Jai Hind’ and also bear the date 15th August, 1947..

Stamps were also launched to commemorate the efforts of freedom fighters, who played a major role in bringing Independence to India. 
•In 1987, a 60 paisa stamp was launched, to celebrate 40 years of Indian independence. 
•In 1956, a two-anna stamp was launched, depicting Bal Gangadhar ‘Lokmanya’ Tilak. 
•In 1958, a 15 naye paise stamp was launched depicting Bipin Chandra Pal. 
•In 1965, a 15 naya paisa stamp was launched, depicting Lala Lajpat Rai, the freedom fighter from Punjab. 
•In 1975, a one-rupee stamp was launched, depicting Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor of India. 
•In 1984, four 50 naye paise stamps were launched, depicting Mangal Pandey, Tatya Tope, Begum Hazrat Mahal and Nana Sahib respectively, all of them historical figures from the pre-independence era. 

Coins
 
  • In 1972, on the 25th anniversary of Indian Independence, a 10-rupee commemorative coin was issued. The coin depicts the parliament building, with two people holding the Indian flag, on it. 
  • In 1997, to celebrate 50 years of Indian Independence, a 50-paise coin, illustrating Gandhi’s Salt March, was launched. 
  • In 2007, two 5-rupee coins were launched, depicting Bhagat Singh and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. 
  • In 1964, a 50-paisa coin was launched, depicting Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • In 2011, a 5-rupees coin was launched, with a picture of Madan Mohan Maalviya on it.
 
To watch a docudrama on the background of these personalities, click on the following link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw5kfG-bSWQ
 
 

Earlier this year, on the 178th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Victoria, which fell on the 28th of June, 2016, Mintage World launched a docu-drama on the history of the various stamps, coins and notes, launched in the Victorian era. Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria, 24 May 1819-22 January 1901) was the Queen of Great Britain and the first Empress of India, from 20 June 1837, until her death. From 1 May 1876, she had the additional title of the First Empress of India. Publicly, she became a national icon, who was identified with strict standards of personal morality.
 
Coroneted on the morning of 28th June 1838, at the Westminster Abbey, she became the first sovereign to take-up residence at Buckingham Palace. The Golden Age of England, called the Victorian Era, began under her reign, which lasted all of 63 years and 7 months. 
 
Victoria has been represented in many coins, stamps and currency notes, and the present collection includes some of the most interesting ones, with unique historical importance.
 
The Penny Black Stamp 
 
In May 1840, the British Postal Service sold their first adhesive stamp. Its value was 1 Pence, and was printed in black, and so began the legacy of the Penny Black. This stamp depicted the profile of Queen Victoria, which was designed by William Wyon. The stamp was a major hit! All of a sudden, senders and receivers across Great Britain felt as if the World was in the palm of their hands. By 1841, around 70 million stamps were issued, and the sales continued to double.
 
However, the Penny Black, as amazing as it was, unfortunately had issues few could have envisaged. Due to the black background, the cancellation mark was often not visible and the Maltese cross could be removed without damaging the label, which made it a piece of cake to re-use the stamp. Within a year, the stamps were withdrawn, and the printing ink was changed to a reddish colour.
 
The penny reds made their humble entrance, but held a grand legacy. It was Great Britain’s longest running stamp from 1841 to 1879, and in March 2016, an incredibly rare penny red became United Kingdom’s second most valuable stamp, it was sold for a mind boggling GBP (NOT Euro) 495,000. 
 
The 1854 four-anna stamps of India
 
These stamps were unique with, their red, octagonal frames (the distinctive shape suggested by the current 6d, 10d and 1s embossed stamps of Great Britain) and blue, central head of Queen Victoria, it was the first bi-coloured stamp of the British Empire, and it had to be printed at two operations. The inverted 4 Annas Indian stamps are one of the most rare and coveted stamps. An invert error occurred during production, showing the head "upside down." Only after many years, the error was discovered, and the stamps were re-called. The price value for the inverted head stamps was over GBP70,000 in 2013. These stamps are often forged, due to the high price they command, and their rarity.
 
Mauritius One Penny Red and Two Pence blue stamps
 

 

The stamps of Great Britain marked their prominence in many parts of the world. One of Great Britain’s early colonies, Mauritius, produced rare and exquisite stamps, which are, even today, renowned throughout the world.
 
A man named Barnard was a printer and an engraver, who designed the two stamps. These stamps depicted the head profile of Queen Victoria, based on the designs of the Penny Black stamps. 500, of each value, were printed from a single plate. The first issues had the wording Post Office, which was issued in 1857, but in the following issue, in 1858, the wording, was replaced with Post Paid (not as in present day post-paid mobile phone connections, but as in ‘postage has been paid’).
 
Many legends and stories arose about the words ‘Post Office’ being an error, due to carelessness. However, philatelic scholars confirm that the Post Office inscription is the real deal.
 
Over the years, these stamps were sold for increasing and astronomical prices, because of their imperfect, and thus unique, value. There are only 26 known pieces of the Mauritius Post Office stamps that exist today: 14 one-penny and 12 two-penny stamps. In 2011, a two-penny blue Mauritius Post Office stamp was sold at an auction for GBP1.05 million, in the UK. King George V paid GBP1,450 for an unused two-penny, at an auction, in 1904. 
 
 
Currency Notes 
 
During the British Raj, the Paper Currency Act of 1861 was introduced, which gave the British Government a monopoly on note issue throughout the domain of the Raj. Uniface notes, with the portrait of Queen Victoria, were printed; the water-mark consisted of wavy lines, and carried two signatures, the denomination, and the words Government of India Rupees. 
 
 
 
The concept of bank notes was relatively new at that time--it began as promissory notes, and very few countries, from 54 Commonwealth Colonies, issued currency notes, with the portrait of Queen Victoria.
 
Strangely, all notes, that were printed from the years 1862, to 1873 bore the year of 1862 as their minting year. Some believe the dot patterns on the reverse of the Rupees formed a code to indicate the exact year of its minting. 
 
Canada was one the countries which issued a $4 bank note, that had the images of Queen Victoria, and ‘justice’ personified, released in 1859.
  
 
www.mintageworld.com is an online museum for Vintage Coins, Stamps and Currency Notes. It is an enterprise of the Ultra India Group, which began as a video distribution company and diversified into content creation, back in the late 80s. In the near future they plan to launch many docu-dramas based on global historical dates, events and personalities.
 
 
Compiled and edited by Siraj Syed, Contributing Editor, nrizone.com, based on information provided by Mintage World.
 
Views expressed and claims made in the articles on this site are the contributors' own, and nrizone does not necessarily agree with them, or endorse them, in any way.
Contributions are published in good faith, with due diligence, and liabilities for authenticity or copyright lie with the authors.
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