Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Tribute to Painters of Pakistan

While every Pakistani deserves commendation for doing his/her bit for the progress and development of Pakistan, the artists and painters, have also contributed magnificently to project the cultural aspirations of the country. 

There is a long list of these great painters and calligraphers, but few definitely stand out above the rest. On 14 August 2006, the Pakistan Post issued a set of ten commemorative stamps to honour these few. In fact this is a posthumous tribute to ten great painters who helped to raise an awareness of art in Pakistan and established their names in universal art world. 

These stamps have been designed by Adil Salahuddin, general manager Pakistan Post. A graduate from the National College of Art, Lahore, he is also designer of over 550 stamps for the Pakistan Post.

(A few great names like Chughtai, Ustad Allah Bakhsh, Haji Muhammad Sharif and Aftab Zafar are missing here for the reason that a set of commemorative stamps has already been issued by the Pakistan Post).

The detail of each painter for whom the stamps were issued can be found at the links given below.

Related Links:
Ana Molka Ahmed

Friday, January 29, 2010

Scinde Dawk

When going towards Clifton from Sadar, just opposite to the US Consulate building is a colonial era structure beautifully nested among high rising palm trees. The building is called Frere Hall after Sir Bartle Frere who was the Chief Commissioner of Scinde (present day Sind province of Pakistan). Beside his many achievements, he is also considered the pioneer of postal services in this part of the world as far back as in 1852. His postal service was known as “Dawk”. His newly introduced stamps became the first in Asia and the first round stamps of the world. 

The red ½ anna Scinde Dawk was issued first, on July 1, 1852. The red sealing wax wafer stamps, embossed with a backing of paper, were so fragile that they easily cracked and disintegrated. Since they were often used as a seal on a letter, many were destroyed when the letter was opened. The next attempt was a colourless embossing on whitish or bluish paper. Light blue lines were added between the stamps in the second printing. 

This version had its own problems. It was very difficult for the postal clerks to see at night by candlelight, especially when they were attached to white envelopes. Finally, the blue stamps, made by simultaneous printing and embossing, were tried. These stamps are found in several shades of blue and they too are found with blue dividing lines between the stamps. This last version was issued shortly before the Scinde Dawk were withdrawn from use on September 30, 1854, and replaced by the East India Company stamps. 

In 1952, Pakistan issued a set of two stamps to commemorate the 100 years of the postal services in Asia.

Related Reference (for details)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Collecting Stamps? Know Some Terminologies

Every field has a language of its own. So anyone entering a particular field should learn these as early as possible so as not to wander around unknowingly or unable to speak with authority on the subject. Like all other hobbies and entertainments, the world of philately has its own phrases, dictionary, jargon and terminologies. 

Some of which are as under for easy reference and use.
  • Adhesive: Most postage stamps have gum on the back for easy sticking on to the envelopes. Such stamps are called adhesive stamps.
  • Airmail (Aero Philately): The collecting of stamps, first day covers that are carried by air bear the name airmail. This was an old use since now almost the entire mail is carried by air.
  • Back Stamp: A postmark stamped on a letter by the destination post office.
  • Block: A set of at least four intact stamps is called a block.
  • Cachets: Additional information or imprecision made on an envelope other than the postmark to commemorate special occasions.
  • Commemorative Stamps: Stamps issued to commemorate a special occasion are called commemorative stamps. The events could be setting a new world record, climbing an un-scalable mountain, anniversaries, independence days and so on. These stamps are usually of on sale for a very short period of time. 
  • Face Value: The actual price of the stamp as printed on the stamp.
  • Foxing: Brown spots found on stamps and books, caused by storing in damped environment.
  • Frank: A stamp like mark, printed by machines by the post office. This is done in lieu of stamps, especially for customers with large mail deliveries. Mostly this is red in colour. 
  • Hinges: Small transparent gummed papers attached at the back of a stamp to so that stamp sticks to a stamp album.
  • Inscription:  anything written on a stamp (i.e., price, name of the country or a small description) during actual printing of the stamp. Any information later added to it does not fall under the category of the inscription, rather it these may be called “overprints.”  
  • Key Type: The key type relates to a theme which is common to many countries. In this case everything except the name of the country. 
  • Margin: A stamp that is printed on the edge of a sheet along with the white plain strip attached to it is called margin.
  • Official Stamps: Official stamps are either specially printed or overprints on regular stamps announcing these to be the official stamps. These stamps are not open to public and cannot be used ordinarily. In Pakistan, the word “SERVICE” is used for such stamps.
  • Perforations: These are the small holes printed on the sheet containing stamps as a separator. This aids in easy tearing off a stamp from the sheet without having any effect on the other stamps. 
  • Postmarks: These are the marks printed on a stamp with the aim of cancelling a stamp and preventing its further use.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Theme for 2010 – The Year of Tiger

The theme around the world for year 2010 is “The Year of the Tiger”, corresponding to the Chinese Lunar Year. The tiger is the third sign in the Chinese zodiac of 12 animals. The white tiger is one of the four guardian gods ― three others are the blue dragon, the red bird and the black tortoise. They protect the four major directions with the tiger taking care of the west. The Chinese year system is also observed in Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Mongolia and Tibet besides China

Tigers have been a symbol of power and have been revered with awe in above mentioned south-east Asian countries. Tigers are powerful hunters and are endowed with grandeur. Though tiger is a ferocious animal, it is also regarded as divine animal with the power to repel wicked demons. Therefore, many a household in the countries using Chinese Year system, hang pictures of tigers in their houses to ward off bad luck.


Individuals born during the Year of the Tiger are said to be courageous, possessing hidden reserves of strength. They are also thought to be both candid and mysterious. Those who know Marilyn Monroe, Stevie Wonder and Tom Cruise would know that.

In order to commemorate the occasion, many a countries around the world have issued special stamps bearing the photos or caricature of the tiger. Even countries including the New Zealand and USA have issued such stamps. So enjoy these stamps, specially if you were born in the Year of the Tiger.

Related Reading:

Tiger Year 2010

The year of The Tiger Greetings Stamp

Zodiac 2010 (Year of the Tiger) Postage Stamp

How Do People Start Collecting Stamps

Stamp collecting is perhaps the number one hobby around the world today (despite its diminishing trend due to more reliance on e-mail and SMSs). Normally one becomes a stamp collector early in one’s age when photos fascinate and quest for knowing different countries is high. 

To begin with, normally a potential stamp collector goes for stamps with pictures of choice. That is if one has inclination for animals and pets, one goes for stamps bearing photos of domesticated pets like cats and dogs. Some would like to collect stamps of personalities they admire or want to have a dictionary of presidents, queens, kings, pop stars, models or even astronauts. Mostly in early ages, pop starts and singers are majority’s choice. This is called theme collection, based on a particular line of approach.

As one grows, the scope of the collection broadens and one starts collecting stamps of one’s own country and then gets out of the border and start including other countries as well.

Stamp collecting is a source of very valuable information for those who start collecting stamps in their early ages. One soon learns about geography and history of various countries. Stamps also tell favourite games of a particular country or the personalities. Which flowers are grown in Holland or which birds fly in Russia.

The source of stamps varies, but main source is always the letters coming in one’s place. Then friends come in for exchanging duplicate stamps. And last is buying – I remember buying stamps from my meager pocket money and used to be so excited when adding the newly bought stamps. I can still point out stamps that I bought decades ago.

Initially, note books are used as a jump start. But then one starts buying specially made albums for storing stamps, though these are a bit expensive. Sorting stamps theme wise or country wise are the main types of arranging stamps, but it all depends on personal likings. Some add country information print outs at the beginning of each country or details of the selected theme.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The First Stamps

The famous Penny Black of the UK, published in 1840, became the first regular postage stamp of the world (above centre). The first US stamps were the 5-cent Franklin and ten-cent Washington of 1847 (above right). Unlike the Penny Black, the interest in stamps in USA was rather slow in the beginning, but picked up pace slowly and gradually in following years. 

Like most early stamps, they were issued imperforate, and had to be separated with scissors, or torn; moreover, they were printed with relatively small separation between the images, making it difficult today to find a good used copy, i.e. one that does not have a part of the design cut off.


As for Pakistan, after the partition of united India into two sovereign states of India and Pakistan in August 1947, the first indigenous Pakistani stamp was issued almost a year later in July 1948, printed for Pakistan (above left). 

Prior to this, the British Indian stamps with the overprint "Pakistan" in English had been in use. The 1 Re stamp was engraved with Urdu inscription reading "Long Live Pakistan" . The stamp was designed by famous water colour maestro Abdul Rehman Chughtai 

Related Reading:

World's First Postage Stamp

First US Postage Stamps - 1847

Stamps of Pakistan (1947-1960)

My Philatelic World

When I was a little boy, there was no entertainment except sports or listening to radio. With no TV, internet or a mobile phone by my side, the life was still very romantic and exciting, since we had hobbies. Yes, in those days, everyone had a hobby. Whenever we went visiting, the elders in order to start a conversation with the young ones, would often asked as to what their hobby was. Those days, children loved reading, so do most even today (though number has declined manifold), and collected coins, match boxes, first day covers, autographs and of course the most revered hobby – the stamp collecting. So like many others I also ventured to start collecting stamps.

My major source of stamps came from my father. He was then the head of Interpol in Pakistan and had his mail coming from all over the world. And every envelope had a stamp for me. So that was the start. And soon my small homemade album was bustling with beautiful stamps from all over the globe. To my surprise, one day one of elder brothers, who himself was an avid stamp lover, gifted his collection to me. That was a big treasure, containing very old and rare stamps. 


Today some of those are almost 50-80 years old. So my album started to swell. I then started utilizing my meager pocket money to buy stamps. I still remember one vendor by the name of Ruby Stamps located in Urdu bazaar Lahore, en route to my school. So I would always stop y and buy a few stamps and then it used to be an impatient journey back home to put the stamps into my album and admire my collection.

As my collection grew, I made separate albums for each continent of the world. I also added the map and country details before each country.  So that is how I got into the world of philately. And this blog of mine is all about my collection and the stamps I do not have but are rare.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Philately or collecting stamps is one of the most popular hobbies around the world. Although, the interest in philately starts usually in the childhood as a mere hobby, it becomes serious, complicated, technical and interesting as time passes, and becomes a professionals’ domain. My Philatelic World encompasses my interest in philately since my childhood and will become a venue to share my collection with all stamp lovers, beside taking and sharing various aspects related to philately.

I also operate an exclusive website on Pakistan “Pakistanpaedia”, which is a rich mini paedia of Pakistan and can be referred as a resource site on all matters related to Pakistan. I am also an avid traveler and a novice photographer. I share my experiences in all these fields in a number of blogs that I operate.

I would appreciate and welcome if anyone is interested in sharing posts relevant to the blog.

We at this site may also publish sponsored content, if it suits our requirements' in exchange of monetary benefits.