The first stamp in the world was released in 1848; the first one in Asia was in 1852; the first one in India had Queen Victoria’s face that was released in 1854. The first stamp of independent India, released in 1947, had the Indian Flag on it.
Sixty years later, the Indian Postal Service has released Pride of India Collection; a set of 25 stamps that will be engraved on to pure silver ingots, layered with pure 24-carat gold and preserved forever. Besides important historic moments, Nihal Chand’s painting of the legendary face of Kishangarh Radha, portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and Madhubala will also be minted.
The Pride of India Collection has been sculpted by the world’s finest artists and minted by Swiss craftsmen. There are 7,500 editions worldwide and each ingot costs Rs 6,000. The whole set is priced at Rs 1 lakh is available on subscription only. “There are already 2,000 people who have placed orders and we have got many queries which may become orders,” says, Deepa Bajaj, programme manager, Pride of India Collection.
Ask her if there are any biggies making an order, she replies, “Yes we have queries from the richest industrialists in the country but obviously we cannot give them one ingot at a time, so to get the complete set they have to wait for six to seven months.”
Once the edition’s limit is reached, the dies will be defaced so they can never be used again. But these will be permanently displayed at the National Postal Museum in New Delhi.
For many the set is an investment but for philatelist Ravi Somani it’s just another gift. The man, who has ordered for the complete set says, “I’ve bought the whole set and it’s not an investment to me, but a gift for my son. To me the price doesn’t matter, it’s a limited edition and worth it.”