By Sreejesh Krishnan
As per “HAND BOOK ON PHILATELY” published by Department of Posts, India, definition of the Miniature sheet, souvenir Sheet and Stamp Sheetlets are as follows. Now India Post issued a set of 12 stamps on Wild Flowers and 50 stamps on Indian Cinema. India Post claims that Wild flowers is a sheetlet and 100 years of Indian Cinema are Miniature sheet. Which were not matching the definitions Published in Hand book.
MINIATURE SHEET : “A Miniature Sheet is a sheetlet comprising of one or more postally valid stamps with which the issue concerns. Its size normally varies from 75 sq. Cms. To 250 sq. Cms. Depending upon the subject illustration, size of the stamp and number of stamps. The outer area of the miniature sheet beyond perforations of the stamp, depicts an extension of the theme of the stamp or an elaboration of the same and is not complimentary nature. The price of the Miniature sheet may be equal to the face value of the stamp (s) it comprises of or more, as decided by the Department considering the merit of every case and in that case, the denomination is reflected in the Miniature Sheet. A Special feature of a miniature is the zigzag perforation where the sheet is comprised of two or more stamps. However, this feature may not be available in every case. The date of release may be the same as that of the stamps (s) or a specially appointed one”. Then how many Miniature sheets issued by India Post is fulfilling the conditions.
SOUVENIR SHEET: It is also a sheetlet like the miniature sheet, with the exception that it is the issue itself, i.e. while a miniature sheet is issued on stamps separately produced & sold, the Souvenir Sheet is the only product and no separate stamp is sold, therefore, the number of stamps equals the print quantity of the Souvenir Sheet.
STAMP SHEETLET : A sheetlet of stamps is a smaller version of a full issue sheet of stamps it generally contains 16 to 20 stamps. It also has, like the Miniature Sheet, complimentary illustrations/elaborations and inscriptions. The primary aim of producing a sheetlet is to meet the demand of the philatelist/collectors for a sheet of stamps of manageable size. However, it is not necessary to bring out sheetlets on every occasion of issues. The price of a sheetlet is invariably the sum of the face value of the stamps it is comprised of.
Now the Department of Post themselves is not clear which is Miniature Sheet or which is a sheetlet or which is a souvenir Sheet.