Forschungsgemeinschaft Indien und Südasien e. V.

The German Study Circle for the postal history and philately of the Indian Subcontinent / Southern Asia

Questions & Answers

General:From time to time the FGI receives questions regarding our collection interests. The questions are sent by our members but as well non-members are searching for our help. As far as such questions are of general interest we will publish the questions on this site.
All visitors of this site are invited to contribute with their input to find answers. You may use our contact form or you may contact a member of the board directly to send your input. Answers that seem to be helpful will be published here.
Answers and discussion contributions (besides really private and confidential information) always should run on this platform to keep all members informed and involved.
Questions & answers will be published in the next Indien-Report for documentation and thereafter will be moved to the archive if of a certain relevance.
The archive contains the older, already discussed questions and their answers. The texts are sorted according to countries and topics.

04.09.2017: Mr. Islam shows us an item from Portuguese-India 1945 with the following comment and question: "An envelope originated by Messrs. Volkart Brothers and mailed from Marmagoa, Portuguese India, to London on 22 July 1945 towards the fag end of World War II. Incidentally, Volkart Brothers was a Swiss firm which had branches in all major cities of British India. The cover has some interesting stamps affixed on the reverse side, such as, 1 Rupia Portuguese India depicting Vasco da Gama's Flagship, a pair of 2 1/2 tgs., a single 3 1/2 value, and a pair of 4 1/2 tgs., Plane over Globe issues, inscribed 'Correios Telegrafos Estado Da India'. On the front is a handwritten inscription 'Karachi - Durban' although the cover was passed by an Examiner in Bombay DHC /2. Why was the envelope routed through Durban? As far as I know, this airmail route also known as 'the Horseshoe Route' had come into effect for British commercial mail after the fall of Singapore, and was mostly used between 1942 and 1944. The hub was Lagos, Nigeria, from where PanAm would carry mail to Miami, Florida, in the United States. Wasn't this too circuitous a route for an airmail letter from Bombay (nearest city to Goa) to London in 1945?"

09.08.2017: Mr. Bornmann shows us an item regarding Nepal and has the following question: "This letter from Calcutta addressed to King Rajendra in Kathmandu, Nepal shows a CALCUTTA FREE-mark. Who can give any information regarding this marking?"

11.MAY.2017: Mr. Zahid Islam has supplied these noticeable left-shift of the black printing of the UPU issue 1949 from Bahawalpur. He never has seen any literature or notice describing this flaw. Who can give some details or can show examples?

Comment by J. Wrede: In my stock I can define horizontal shiftings up t o 3 mm for these stamps. However the item shown here has an extreme left-shift. Comparing the shown item with my item with the maximum right-shift gives a difference of more than 7 mm.
It should be mentioned that vertical shifting can be observed as well. Items with the black print touching or even overlapping the upper or lower letters can be found.

31.MAR.2017: Mr. Pfannkuchen has supplied this letter. He is interested to learn more about this letter. Especially he would like to get information about the value of this item.
The letter seems to be used in 1935 to the USA. Affixed are three Tibet stamps (issued 1935) and eight stamps from British-India issued in the thirties.

Click here for a large picture

Our Tibet expert Rainer Fuchs has informed us on 4-April-17 as follows: "The letter is not worthless but as well not a rarity. Probably the letter is sent with philatelic intention, the Tibetan as well as the Indian postage is much more than needed for commercial usage. Off hand I am not able to decide whether the addressee is one of the known collectors.
The Tibetan stamps are marked by SHIGATSE postmarks of the Tibetan post and the Indian stamps show the GYANTSE postmarks of the British-Indian post in Tibet. The value is increased by the fact that the Tibetan 1 Tr. and the 4 Tr. stamp (red and green) are perforated; perforation only occurs on stamps printed from the early plates. The postmark date 1935 of the British-Indian post corresponds to the perforated stamps.
I estimate the value to ca. EUR 150, in case of a really commercial used letter the value should be higher."

08.FEB.2017: Mr. Becker (a collector of unissued stamps whom we had helped earlier) has sent us the following question:
"The shown miniature sheet and ten single stamps Legendary Singers of India have been issued on 31.12.16. Interestingly a similar (same?) issue was announced to be issued on 21.05.2016. But the stamps came not into sale. There was rumour that the issue had been withdrawn as 5 of the 10 selected singers had already been honoured by earlier stamp issues. It is said that the already printed stamps had been destroyed.
Comparing the issued stamps with pictures of the non-issued stamps I can not detect any difference. Is it possible that the now published stamps are those printed early in 2016 (the stamps had NOT been destroyed) and there was in fact a delay of several months to issue them?"

Note by the Editor: This is a mysterious issue: The stamps had not been issued in May 2016 but were available a short time after (probably illegal) in the philatelic market. See the extracts (PDF-documents) from two publications BetterPhilatelie and RainbowStampNews as PDF.

11.02.2017: Mr. Eckstein has sent in a question about a letter from British-India (Bombay) to Egypt (Cairo) dated 2nd April 1887:
"I am just studying postage due of Egypt. I am not an expert of the Indian postage tariffs and thus are asking for your help. I assume that the postage for the 4th weight class was 12 Annas, thus 2 Annas are missing. Converting 2 Annas gives 1 Egyptian Piastre resulting in 2 Egyptian Piastre postage due."
Who can help calculating the postage?

Click here for a larger image A question from our member Fakhar Chaudry regarding a letter from Pakistan: "Is the shown item a commercially used cover? Was 3½ As the correct postage to London (surface mail)? Or is this item cancelled for order or of philatelic use? I have the feeling that many older items are existing showing this sender's address."

Notes by J. Wrede: Unfortunately the date of the postmark is not readable. According to /DI93/, p. 12 the overprinted stamps had (regularly) been valid until 31.10.1949. I am sure there are existing later usages (either accepted or inadvertently). At the date of independence according to /Ba16/ the postage for a surface letter to abroad from India was 3½ As for the first ounce. I am pretty sure that the same was valid for Pakistan at this date. According to /La01b/ the letter rate surface mail to abroad in Pakistan was raised to 4½ As for the first ounce on 01.02.49.
Thus the postage with the undecipherable postmark date does not give any indication of the type of the letter.

/Ba16/: Bayanwala, Shri Ashok Kumar. Postgebühren der Republik Indien, Landbeförderung international 15.8.1947 - 01.04.1957. In Indien-Report Vol. 46 (Januar 2016), No. 1, 1-36. ISSN 2198-4859
/DI93/: Doubleday, R., Isani,U.A. Pakistan Overprints on Indian Stamps and Postal Stationary 1947 - 1949. Islamabad 1993.
/La01b/: Lal, M.. Postal History of Pakistan - Part 7. In Stamps of India Collectors Companion, ISSN 0972-3587. No. 24, February 1, 2001.

Please click the pictures for larger images.
Mr. Florian Pick has sent us some scans of stamps from Indian States and British-India. He got the items as an inheritance. He describes the stamps as follows: "All stamps are without gum and a watermark never is visible. The paper is light brownish with inclusions." He would be happy to get help in classifying to countries and catalogue numbers and if possible an estimation of the values.
Note by J. Wrede: Astonishing the paper of all shown items looks very similar. For me this fact makes the stamps suspicious to be forged.
13.02.2017: Our Indian States expert, Peter Röver, has checked the stamps and gives us the following comment: "All items are primitive forgeries originating from the 1960s. Stamp pictures nearly not recognizable, candy-colors, and the same paper for all stamps as already mentioned before. ... May be the stamps could be added to a collection of forgeries as a deterrent. But really they are to primitive for this purpose. The only stamp looking a little bit dangerous is Jhalawar No. 2 (stamp B6 above). The so called 'Uglies' have never been so ugly."

This homepage is maintained by volunteers of the FGI. Over the years the following members have invested their time to maintain the web-site:
Hans Heppner , Christian Sperber
Joachim Wrede
For suggestions, corrections and criticism please