Charm of Used Stamps

Earlier this year India post released a set of 16 stamps as one miniature sheet on head gears of India. I did buy as part of my regular buys, but I wasn’t too kicked about the stamps. They were too colorful, too big, too pompous for my liking.
And then during my regular visits to the flea market where I rummage through heaps of paper to find used stamps, I managed to find 15 of the 16 stamps in their used version. Suddenly I am liking this set a lot. Perhaps it is the old world charm of used stamps that catches my fancy. It is the thrill of finding used setenent stamps and blocks and even singles that tell a story of usefulness of the stamp and its contribution to getting a message across for someone. My son once said that to him collecting stamps is as lame as collecting Pokemon cards. Well buying mint stamps from the comfort of my home sure feels like that. Collecting used stamps however is whole different game in my view. So much more fun and now a days even more challenging.

Errors in Modern Indian Stamps

When I was young and collecting stamps, I was fascinated by stamp errors. The only ‘error’ stamps I owned were color variations and those too in used stamps. In my second innings as a collector I have managed to lay my hands on these ‘error’ stamps. And just when I was feeling kicked about it, fellow collectors tell me these are quite common in modern Indian stamps. Anyway, I am still happy to have these in my collection. Sharing some from my collection here.

Perforation shift Commemorative:

Perforation shift Service stamp:

Imperf definitive pair:

Year printed twice on Commemorative stamp:

Modern Indian Used Stamps

I visited the Sunday market and met with the local stamp dealer. I asked for new Indian used stamps and he thrusted a large packet of unsorted stamps on paper and asked me to select the stamps I wanted. It was typical kiloware packet. When I asked how much for the whole packet, he refused to quote a price. What he told me was interesting and quite instinctively what I have been suspecting. He said hardly anyone one is posting letters, even fewer people are actually using stamps. Commemorative stamps hardly ever get used and most people have only mint stamps in their collection. And thus he wouldn’t sell the whole packet but sell it per stamp. While it was still cheaper than most of what I have seen on eBay, he rather apologitically told me that he is now charging significantly more than what he used to charge earlier. Off-paper stamps were priced slightly higher. I am foreeing it harder to get used Indian stamps. And given the design of the stamps these days, we would soon end up with a market flooded with pictorial stamps that could be mistaken for Cinderallas.