India’s First Ship Despatch Handstamp

India’s First Ship Despatch Handstamp

The appearance of a 1795 Calcutta to Scotland entire in a recent Cavendish auction (Figure 1) bearing a rare Calcutta handstruck stamp inspired me to write this piece. The handstruck stamp I am talking about is a ‘Ship Despatch’ stamp type Giles SD1. Giles refers to Derek Hammond Giles, one of the greatest postal historians…

‘Ship Letter’ Robertson on ‘Post Roads’
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‘Ship Letter’ Robertson on ‘Post Roads’

A few weeks back I wrote a blog post on an 1834 entire from Calcutta taking the curricle from Morpeth to Edinburgh. In it, I discuss how one needs to know the distances between the various towns the letter passed through in order to figure out the inland rate markings in Great Britain. Further, I…

East India Company’s ‘Punjaub’: Horsing Indian Mails

East India Company’s ‘Punjaub’: Horsing Indian Mails

Some months back, when I was writing up some postal history covers, I came across the one pictured in Figures 1 and 2 from the Indian Mutiny period of 1857-58. It was sent by (later Sir General) Robert Cadell (more about him hopefully in a future post) to Cockenzie House in Prestonpans, nor far from…

The Calumnies of Samuel Singer, Charles Phillips, and Stanley Gibbons
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The Calumnies of Samuel Singer, Charles Phillips, and Stanley Gibbons

Some years ago, while leafing through the auction catalogue of the George T. Turner Philatelic Library which was held in May 1981, I came across lot 3265 which was listed under the heading CURIOUSA. Its description read: SINGER, S. The People with the Calumny, 1908, one of the rarest philatelic pamphlets, details Singer’s and C.J….

An Indian After Packet rides the British Curricle

An Indian After Packet rides the British Curricle

Seasoned postal historians caution the inexperienced, who is unable to explain the route or the rate or markings on a particular cover, against jumping to the conclusion that ‘the post office made a mistake’. At the same time, one cannot rule out the possibility, however slim, of them indeed committing errors. Secondly, the postal historian…

Madras Presidency 1823 Concessionary Rates for Law Papers

Madras Presidency 1823 Concessionary Rates for Law Papers

A few days back, T. Kesava Prasad of Bengaluru (earlier Bangalore) shared images of a cover (no contents) (Figure 1 and 2) and requested me to help him understand its postal history. Noting on the front right by the recipient indicates it was sent on 14 November 1828. A black rectangular OOTACAMUND / POST NOT…

F. W. Webb’s The Philatelic and Postal History of Hong Kong
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F. W. Webb’s The Philatelic and Postal History of Hong Kong

Webb’s (Figure 1) The Philatelic and Postal History of Hong Kong and the Treaty Ports of China and Japan (PPHK) has been on my purchase short-list for some time now. A few days back I saw a reprint of book on eBay but it looked, well, different. I bid and managed to bag it. Having…

The Stockholm Catalogue

The Stockholm Catalogue

More than a 100 years back, the best philatelic bibliography ever, Bibliotheca Lindesiana Vol VII: A Bibliography of the Writings General Special and Periodical forming the Literature of Philately or more popularly, ‘The Crawford Catalogue’, was published. Since then many libraries and private collectors (such as Dr. Stanley Bierman and Albert Kronenberg) have published bibliographies…

​My links with Germany and how a philatelist discovered his ‘zweite Heimat’ by Philip E. Robinson

​My links with Germany and how a philatelist discovered his ‘zweite Heimat’ by Philip E. Robinson

I tried to learn German over many months last year, mainly from a philatelic perspective, but have not succeeded much. A few days back I wrote to Philip Robinson curious as to how he brought himself up to the level where he is translating long philatelic texts from German to English. Philip’s reply attached a…