Friday, January 18, 2013

Suggest a Stamp to India Post…


India Post has invited suggestion from general public for new subjects / themes to be depicted on the commemorative postage stamps. Suggestions were invited on any theme to be depicted should be related to Art, Culture, National Heritage, Flora & Fauna, Sports, Wild Life, Nature, Historical Monuments, Children oriented subjects and World Heritage. However, suggestions regarding personalities, institutions and events will not be considered.

Best three suggestions will be recommended for inclusion in stamp issue programme of 2014. Anyone willing to participate in this ‘Suggest a Stamp Poll’ of India Post can submit one’s proposal on email address: latest by 15th February, 2013.

More details can be had from visiting India Post website using URL:

I request all the readers of this post, especially the thematic philatelists, that every one of us should submit a proposal on their favourite theme, so that in 2014, we will get Indian stamps on new themes. Good luck for this poll.

- Pradeep Kumar Malik, Patna

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Judging Thematic Exhibit


Topical Time

Topical Time is a  specialized  journal on Thematic Philately issued by American Topical Association



- Naresh Agarwal

What to do to overcome the constant problem of judging thematic exhibits at higher level. Various suggestions have been given and ideas put forward but all in vain. It is not that easy to make big changes in the existing system of judging. Thematic exhibit is always a very common but a very difficult class a of philately because it contains a big element of thematic content around which the entire story line and exhibiting of philatelic elements revolves. It is highly painful to note that judges forget to give due importance to this aspect on which a big research is done by an exhibitor. The reasons are obvious that no juror can be master of so many subjects to understand the thematic aspects at that level. But in thematic judging, the thematic element carries very high marks. Some times also such items are displayed in the exhibit which do not appears to have direct relation with the theme yet those are very importance and highly suitable. And here the jury fails to understand the contents and the items and so lowers the scores. Some times the jury fails to understand or identify the newly discovered philatelic items and treat those as illegal or fake or irrelevant or unsuitable or banned. In one case in INPEX 2008, one of the souvenir sheet displayed in Gandhi exhibit was considered as a photo and the marks were lowered, in another case the jury failed to identify even the properly marked perforation errors, the error sheet on display was considered wastage of the space, stamps on wheels in an exhibit on Automobiles were considered to be wrong as the jury considered evolution of wheels had nothing to do with the evolution of automobiles, and so on …….examples are numerous where the jury totally failed and misunderstood the contents and the displayed items. And the exhibitor became the victim of their ignorance/ lack of knowledge. Various suggestions have been given such as :

1. Academic courses for jury followed by appropriate tests. i.e. opening of academies

2. Apprentice jury to be given appropriate training

3. Hiring of local experts on particular subject to check / to give their opinion on thematic part of the exhibit

4. Invitation to the exhibitor at the venue during judgment so that necessary discussion could be done with him

5. Deployment of a referee with a team of experts or senior philatelists at the venue to look in to the grievances of the exhibitors and to solve them prior to the declaration of the results 6. Inviting the Xerox copies of the exhibits well in advance and providing copies of them to the jury for pre-preparation

7. Making a separate wing of thematic experts to help the jury and the exhibitors

8. Providing a team of stenos along with the jury to give explanation and detailed comments on the shortcomings of the exhibitor with special remarks on the Xerox copies provided. Presently given mark sheet is not enough to really understand the areas where the jury deducted the marks and the areas which have been appreciated.

9… Arrangement to consult senior philatelists present at the venue during exhibition on voluntary basis.

10. Looking in to the vastness of the thematic philately ,it may be subdivided in to different wings such as philosophy, personalities, science and technology, flora and fauna, religion etc… this will help a lot in judging the exhibit’s thematic elements.

11. Number of jury to be increased so that more time is allocated for judging the exhibits.

12. Different chapters on thematic philately may be opened to guide and help both the juror and the exhibitors.

13. An official panel of senior and experienced philatelists may be framed to give postal guidance to the thematic philatelists on payment.( philatelists who have got higher awards in National or International exhibition may be placed on the panel along with the jurors at these levels)

14. Jury look forward for the old, rare, newly searched and most relevant items in the exhibit which either they miss out or waste sufficient time in finding them out. So, a separate sheet should be provided by exhibitor to the jury ( to be sent along with exhibit)highlighting those items with sheet numbers.

15. One thing the exhibitor must keep in mind that with the same material there can be a better award up to two grades. This depends upon various factors such presentation ,fitment of the philatelic material in the storyline, placement of the material on the sheets, fitment of sheets on the frames ,nature and quality of write up and so on.

16. Of course, comparison is done with the other exhibits ,but keep in mind that every exhibit is different and differently displayed .Yes, gross mistakes are not excusable like skipping out the banned / illegal items in an exhibit.

17. Encouraging the local societies and clubs. Gross help by the deptt. Or other organizations to them to build good library and to provide subsidized guidance, assessment, evaluation services.

18. Check upon the philatelic dealers to provide genuine philatelic items to the exhibitors and to give proper and genuine information about it. Because most of us buy these items from the philatelic dealers and are also sometimes misguided which results in lowering of marks during judging.

I hope the above few suggestions will be thought over by the readers to improve the quality of their exhibit to help judges to judge better and to produce better judges. Comments are welcome from the readers.

Naresh Agrawal : 

Bilaspur ( C.G.)  Ph . 09425530514

Monday, January 14, 2013



Rail book



Book Review – By  ILYAS PATEL

Our friend and past president of GPA Mr Mainak Kathiara gave me a very decent coffee table book titled “The Great Indian Railways through Philately” to refer and write a review for it. This book is an Eastern Railway Publication and written by one of its employee – cum – philatelist Mr Mohammad Mujibullah. It is published in 2009. From the bibliography, I learnt that the author have already contributed two books on India Railways through philately and this being his third one. It is a matter of great pleasure that the author is serving both the Indian Railways and the philately by making such useful contributions in literature class.

rail book 2 The book is printed in full color and with exhaustive illustrations being a coffee table book. All the information is precise and concise. The author has tried to make it fully illustrative since there was no page limitation being departmental publication. But in doing so I feel that there is a duplication of material and wastage of costly pages. Such pages could have been used cleverly with additional information as I learnt from Mainak that the author is a largest collector on India Railways and have his own museum too. He collects everything related to Indian Railways.

In the book the author has adopted a philatelic time line against the traditional historical time frame to demonstrate his collection. Accordingly, he started with Railway Mail service (RMS) cancellation being introduced first as per philatelic time frame and have done with Travelling Post Office, Railway Sorter, Too Late, Train Late, Indian State Railways as well as cancellations of railways in Burma. The author has covered all the stamps issued so far and provided brief information for each of them including informative sketches as and when needed. He has not forgotten the contribution of various personalities who made note worthy contribution for the development and expansion of Indian Railways. The author has included some rare photographs and beautiful maxim cards to make it lucid and colorful as well as detailed list for perfin used by various railway systems in India. From the entire efforts it seems that the author want to make it an illustrative book through the medium of philately and not a useful reference book on Indian Railways that has a long standing history of 150+ years even through the same medium. I personally believe that he may have done it in his other two publications on the similar title and for that reason it is kept simply illustrative.

While reviewing the book philatelically, it is to mention that the author have used words large and small cancellation in RMS chapter. He could have properly defined it with common notations like diameter size and font size to distinguish them clearly. I believe that the author is aware about it. In illustrations shown on page 26 to 30 “*” is shown in the circle whereas it is a floral design rightly shown on starting page cancellation illustrations. There is an editing mistake on page 5 in which it is mentioned as 1856 instead of 1895 in small RMS cancellation. In Railway Telegraphs, the author has shown the use of only latest post-independence stamps. In fact, licenses were granted to railways to transact telegraphic business to accept prepayment of telegraph charges either in cash or postage stamps but they were not authorized to deface them initially. All British India stamps were used for the purpose. Licensed Railway Telegraph System is a glorious chapter in the history of Indian Railways and cannot be neglected. I also believe that instead of putting and discussing them in to a separate chapter, if the author has discussed all our railways that are declared as World Heritage Railways by UNESCO under a title “Our World Heritage Railways” to make it more lucid and informative. To the best extent of my knowledge, The Great Indian Peninsula Railway was the first to build railway line in India and they built the first railway bridge “Thane Creek Bridge” in India and Asia as well in 1852. The same is appeared on 2004 issue of stamp on 150 years of India Post. I think the author could have covered this important part of history of Indian Railways. By giving a very abstract form of bibliography, the author has not adopted the standard notations for bibliography. Thus it is not useful to any reader to make out a search in the market.

In short this colorful book is fully illustrative one with exhaustive philatelic illustrations to serve the very purpose of the author. For novice philatelist on Indian Railways, it will serve as a good handy tool. It will not impress the hard core and sincere philatelists collecting on this theme. They have to look elsewhere. I firmly believe that with clever use of space for illustrations, number of pages could have been reduced and thereby the cost. Still the author makes a very good effort and his work can be a welcome addition in the philatelic library.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

150th Birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda



India Post released a set of 4 stamp and a sheetlet on 12th January 2013 to celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

240 Years of Postal Service in Mauritius…




It's been 240 years since Maurice has postal services. It all started in 1772, at the time of the French colony.Nicholas Lambert, director of the Royal Printing opens a post office for the distribution of the island's first newspaper ads, posters and Announcements.

This service then evolved further exchange of letters with the other French. The post will expand more in 1810 under the British colony with a direct link between North and South, Port Louis to Mahebourg.


This year, the Mauritius Post celebrates 240 years of the advent of postal services in Mauritius. To mark this event, a series of activities will be organized throughout the year in Mauritius.

This year's theme is: 240 Years of Communications ... from history to modernity ... It traces the development of this sector and is committed to return to current generations. The Mauritius Post oversees several activities such as publishing a book, launching a competition for pupils and students, exhibitions postage stamp and photographs at the Postal Museum in Port Louis, in schools and in post offices. Mauritian philatelists will also be invited to present their collections of stamps.

In addition, open houses will be held in August. And for the World Post Day in October, the Mauritius Post Ltd is planning another major exhibition of stamps. A First Day Cover of around 240 years of the post will also be issued December 12, 2012.

Read More…

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year



Happy New Year to all the Members and Readers of  PJ Forum



Chinese Award for best foreign stamp




In Beijing, at the end of November 2012 on the annual XI China voting competition for best foreign stamp, the Russian stamp block issued in 2011, "The historical and cultural heritage of Russia. Museum of Wooden Architecture and Folk Art "Malie Korely" was awarded the special prize of the experts for the best print quality.

The competition was organized by the Chinese National Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, All-China Philatelic Federation and other organizations.

The event was attended by 38 countries. According to the conditions participants could submit to the contest one stamp and one stamp block.

Winners in the categories "Best Design", "Best Subject" and "Best Print Quality" were chosen by competent jury. "Best Stamp" and "Best Block" were selected by more than 330 000 participants of the online poll. Images of contesting stamps were placed on the pages of the top five Chinese philatelic magazines and two Internet sites.


Posta of Faroe Islands Wins Top Award


Posta of Faroe Islands has been awarded the "Best Printing Award" in China for the Annika i Dimun M/S which was released in February 2011.

The committee for the poll consists of key sponsors along with representatives from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the China Philatelic Federation and the Association for Promotion of West China Research and Development.

The purpose of the poll, which involves more than 40 countries, is to enhance the relationship between China and foreign countries.