The meeting began with a lucky draw of people who reached on time. The officiating members were kind enough to call me out for picking the lucky draw winner. Three winners were given a full sheet of Indian definitive stamps.
After a brief introduction of the members, Aditya Asthana presented the second episode of Tale of the Mail, a study on the mail route from England to India. He spoke about Thomas Fletcher Waghorn a postal pioneer who developed a new route from Great Britain to India. Waghorn’s route reduced the journey from 16,000 miles, via the Cape of Good Hope, to 6,000 miles: from three months to between 35 and 45 days. It was fascinating to hear him talk about his research.
After a brief tea break, Sandeep Murjani presented details of the special covers that were released across India in Feb and March this year. 54 special covers were released in Feb and 15 covers were released in March. Different philatelic bureaus of the country release special covers on different occasions. And there is no central release information that is available. So if you are collecting special covers, you need to call different philatelic bureaus and keep abreast with the releases. Quite hard work collecting special covers. Sandeep also shared the history and background information about most of the special covers released. You can stay up to date with his research on his Facebook page Samraat Stamps.
It was interesting to hear other philatelist share their experiences over lunch and during the meeting. Topic of discussions included upcoming exhibitions around the country and the high prices being charged by the postal department of Govt of India for special covers. Overall it was an educative and satisfying Sunday afternoon.