INDIPEX has done what it could to involve the young with letter-writing competitions and stamp-design competitions. For them though, stamps are quaint little things – pretty but useless. Yukti Dhingra, 14, a ninth grader, says she\’s occasionally sent a post card but never written letters. Neither has Raghav, Tanya, Sania or Chandni. They\’ve couriered rakhis to brothers but that doesn\’t require stamps either. But INDIPEX isn\’t kidstuff anyway.
Take a peak into Hall 8 and you\’ll know exactly how dead serious these guys are. That\’s the hall for the dealers. Some have brought their stamps, others have images – the real things (their collective value the GDP of a small nation ) safely hidden somewhere . Stamp catalogue publishers Stanley Gibbons has the 1840 1d Rainbow Trial on offer. There\’re rare – \”only six sheets were used of which only three survive in private hands.\” The price: 90,000 pounds.
Christoph Gartner of Christoph Gartner Auctions, Germany, has two 1854 four anna blue and pale red heads with the heads inverted. The unused one is for 100,000 Euros ; the postmarked one is cheaper at 80,000 Euros. Gartner gets them out of a folder and gingerly places them on the glass. He was hoping to show them to the President who opened the exhibition , he says, but missed her. And, according to sources, he was also given a tough time by the customs . So it\’s just as well that his exhibits are insured for quarter of a million Euros. Kids would do better to move on to the stamps in packets from different countries, the pretty moth and crab-shaped ones – Rs. 150-200 – from Pitcairn Islands , for instance.
Visitors are getting their own mugs put on stamps for Rs. 150. \”We launched it as a special product for the exhibition . We\’ll see the response but we can\’t guarantee that tomorrow it\’ll be available in the post offices,\” says Kavery Banerjee, chairperson, INDIPEX . The Khadi stamps are limited edition too – just one lakh have been printed – and for the first time a material other than paper has been used.
Sanjay Sahni, more into coins and notes than stamps, is going for proof sets of coins. \”These are the best quality. They come at about double the price of the uncirculated (UNC) grade,\” he explains, fighting off collectors trying to jump the queue at the mint\’s stall.
Ram Chawla, from Mumbai , has an entire batch of Indian stamps overprint Pakistan . Before Partition, he explains , all stamps were Indian. After Partition, Pakistan hadn\’t any stamps of its own and used Indian stamps with \”Pakistan \” printed on them (the \”overprint\” ). Muscat, unable to decide which way to go first aligned with Pakistan using the overprint stamps. But that lasted only three months – October , November, December, 1947 – making the batch of stamps rare.