A stamp of royal history

queen-elizabeth-stamp A 1953 coronation stamp of Queen Elizabeth II [Image for representational purpose only] | Image: Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Postage stamps can reveal more than just the history of a letter, they can reveal the history of an era. The first postage stamp was the Penny Black issued in Great Britain in 1840 and in the more than 175 years since, a fascinating history has taken shape.

A recently concluded, five day long display of rare collections of stamps and coins by Aaditya Pratap Singh Entertainments in Raipur, took a large number of attendees on a journey through history.

The collection, which included philatelic materials issued on Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and its anniversaries, belongs to Dr Bhanu Pratrap Singh. An 'India Book of Records' holder, Singh started collecting stamps since 1970 when he was just 9 years old.

In this exhibition, more than 11,500 stamps were on display. Starting from the coronation year 1953, the exhibition covered various omnibus issues, like Silver Jubilee issues of Queen’s Coronation (1977-78), ones issued on the completion of 40 years (1993), Golden Jubilee issues (2002-03), Platinum Jubilee issues (2012-13) and Sapphire Jubilee issues (2017-18).

In philately, an omnibus issue is an issue of stamps by several countries with a common subject and which may share a uniform design. Omnibus issues have often been made by countries under common political control or group of colonies, due to the close cooperation required to produce the issue. Omnibus issues are to be distinguished from joint issues which are usually much smaller in scope.

The exhibits, which consisted of stamps, coins, first day covers (FDC), sheets and other materials, also had issues that celebrated the coronations of King George V and King George VI.

Apart from the philatelic and numismatic displays, two big banners of 40 feet each were also exhibited that covered the complete biography of the Queen, showing photographs of important events in her life.

According to Singh, the main aim of organising this exhibition was to increase the interest and awareness about philately and numismatics among the children and youngsters. 

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