by Francis P. Gunasekara

Source: Article from Daily News Published 20th July 2006

Stamps are issued throughout the world for three distinctive purposes. One is as a pre-payment of postage in the transmission of letters, parcels etc., Another is as a publicity medium and the third is as a means of earning much needed foreign exchange.

In order to achieve all these purposes, whenever new stamps are issued, they must systematically come out at right intervals. Whatever to be honoured should be done so with well-designed commemorative stamps.

The tortoise and the geese, the monkey and the crocodile and the crows and the snail are folk tales illustrated in the Indian stamps.

All such stamps should be produced with the sole purpose of pleasing young collectors. Definitives shouldn’t be in use for too long periods – a fact which will harm the hobby as well as the economy.

If stamp-collecting was not a life-long hobby of millions of children and adults right round the world, stamps may not have had a significant place in society as evidenced today.

Once, the supreme world body, the U.N.O. decided to call this activity, an international hobby and to bless it with a set of stamps in 1986.

That was not all. Ten years later, the same U.N.O. Postal Administration came out with yet another six stamps to announce our hobby is international and thus blessed it again. Stamp enthusiasts are quite happy and pleased as a result.

We observe that in many parts of the world, when new stamps are issued, they are very careful to offer them in the most acceptable manner. The themes and the denominations chosen for commemoratives are of utmost importance and are able to satisfy most of the collectors. In our country there is no official unit to look after the hopes and aspirations of the innocent stamp collector.

These trapezium shaped stamps from Tanzania, Africa are meant to find dollars from America and euros from European countries. These stamps find a ready market among collectors not as postally used but as mint stamp sets.

In the circumstance, we may look around to note how our neighboring countries treat the young stamp collectors as far as stamps of their countries are concerned.

Indian Postal Authority has issued an attractive set of six stamps depicting popular folk stories and the stamps are shown here.

Many countries have set apart either a day, or a week or a full month to celebrate the stamp collecting hobby.

In Sri Lanka we have not been able to declare even a single day as “Stamp Day.” There are stamp weeks and stamp months in other countries. Postal Museum is still out of reach to our schoolchildren.

You will see on this page a set of stamps from Tanzania in Africa.

These trapezium shaped stamps are a treat to collectors and they will go at any length to acquire them if available.

Such is the craze for this kind of stamps and is there any one who might suggest stamps of that kind of format to be issued in our country too!


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