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What makes Philately a special hobby for me ?

Philately is a delightful hobby that enhances and hones our sense of aesthetics. It expands our knowledge of the world we live in and our interaction with it. We get to know interesting details about politics, history , prominent personalities, national and international events, geography, flora and fauna, agriculture, science, monuments,soldiers,warriors,scientists, arms and ammunition, modes of transport etc. This process of learning becomes more delightful through visuals and brief write-ups. In addition, philately cultivates in us a meticulous and focused attention to detail. It also helps usto make friends across boundaries and age limits.

What can I collect ?

Both mint-stamps (unused stamps) and used stamps can be collected. These can be collected year-wise ,nation-wise or theme-wise. To make this easier and more attractive to beginners, philatelists generally advise to start stamp collections based on themes. This is Thematic collections. Themes may be based on subjects like flowers,birds, animals,architecture, railways, monuments, Red Cross etc.depending on personal attitude of interest. Definitive stamps and stationery can also be collected as a theme. The bottom line is that a collection must unfold various aspects of a theme like a story .

Types of Stamps

There are commemorative and definitive stamps. Commemorative stamps are issued, as the name suggests, to commemorate important events, prominent personalities in various fields, aspects of nature, beautiful or rare flora and fauna, environmental issues, agricultural activities, national/international issues, games etc. These stamps are only available at Philatelic Bureaux and counters or under the Philatelic Deposit Account Scheme. They are printed in limited quantities. Definitive stamps on the other hand, are used for day-to-day postal mailing purposes and are available in various ascending denominations from 20 paisa onwards at all postal counters.

How do I collect used stamps ?

Do not throw away letters that you receive. You can collect used up stamps through them. These can be detached delicately from the postal articles. Rinse in a shallow dish of water, using your hands or a soft brush. Carefully dry them in a dark place as the ultra violet rays of sunlight can damage the colours. It is also valuable to retain stamps along with the envelopes on which they are pasted as this authenticates their use.

Where can I get stamps ?

Mint stamps are available at Philatelic Bureaus and Counters in the designated post offices, details of which are available in this web site. You may also like to get in touch with local philatelists who can perhaps guide your interest. Make pen - friends with both in the country and abroad You will be surprised at the number of people who share your interest.

How can I get and use albums ?

Albums are available at leading Book and Stationery stores and with philatelists.Pasting stamps ruins them. Use paper hinges or "havids" to place them in a album. Plastic strip albums are now available and are ideal to use for beginners. Handle stamps with pincers to avoid smudging or damaging them in any way with your fingers.

What is the Philatelic material available at Philatelic Bureaux ?

Philatelic material includes - 1. Mint stamps (used stamps) 2. First Day Covers (FDCs, which are issued with every commemorative stamp ) 3. Brochure (Information sheet accompanying each commemorative stamp ) 4. Collectors' Packs, year-wise 5. Miniature/Souvenir sheets which are sometime issued with Commemorative stamps. 6. Catalogue of Postage Stamps of India since 1947.

What is a Philatelic Bureau, a Philatelic Counter and an authorised office?

Philatelic Bureaux function in 59 Head Post Offices at Circle Head Offices or in major district towns. They carry out sale of philatelic items to individuals, dependent counters and authorised Post offices. Philatelic Deposit Accounts can be opened at these Bureaus. Philatelic counters supply all philatelic items but are not authorised to issue the Special Cancellation that accompanies each commemorative stamp. They provide a standard "First Day of Issue" cancellation on first day covers. Authorised offices sell commemorative/special stamps,and blank first day covers and brochures on certain occasions.

Catalogue of Indian Postage Stamps

Periodically a catalogue of Indian Postage Stamps from 1947 onwards is updated and is made available for sale from the Philatelic Bureaux. If you need it from abroad,please contact the Director, Mumbai GPO, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

Contacting Philatelists

Many queries are received particularly from beginners particularly, seeking guidance for starting a collection of postage stamps. You may wish to obtain information or consult the Philatelic Congress of India at sahadevas@yahoo.com . The Department of Posts is not, however, responsible for any information or input furnished by the Philatelic Congress of India as the Department has no involvement with the secondary market in Philately.

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