For today I have selected a very nice cover that I received recently from India. The cover included some interesting items that I would also like to share with you.
Let’s start by the cover.
Very colorful, isn’t it?
The cover is franked with an interesting mixture of stamps. Also the stamps are nicely positioned on the cover which gives a nice result I think.
The two stamps on the left have been issued on the 25th of May 2011 to celebrate the 2nd Africa-India Forum Summit that was held from the 20th until the 25th of May in Addis Ababa. This summit is the official platform to deal with India-Africa relations. The first summit has been held in 2008 in New Delhi. The stamps have also been issued in the form of a souvenir sheet that was included in the cover.
I really like this souvenir sheet. I think the design is really nice. I like the fact that the drawing extends out of the limits of the stamps, but still the design of the stamp remains nice when cut from the sheet. These days I think that a lot of postal administration issues souvenir sheet with continuous design, but once you separate one stamp from the sheet, the design of the stamp look weird.
The stamps pictures two types of elephants: the African elephant (on the left stamp) and the Asian elephant (on the right). The African elephant is bigger (and has bigger ears) than the Asian one.
In the left top corner, the sheet also contains the emblem of the Africa-India Forum Summit with a map of India in red and a map of Africa in green.
The four other stamps on the cover have been issued on the 12th of February 2011 to commemorate 100 years of airmail. The stamps have also been issued in a very nice souvenir sheet that illustrates quite well the subject!
As you can see the sheet has been issued for Indipex 2011, the world philatelic exhibition that was held from the 12th to the 18th of February in New Delhi. The design of the souvenir sheet is rather loaded, mixing maps of airmail routes, pictures of covers, postmarks, etc.
In addition to the souvenir sheet with the elephants, the cover also included one other souvenir sheet issued on the 10th of December 2009 and picturing traditional textiles from India.
Again, this is a nice item!
Finally inside the cover there was also a First Day Cover.
This FDC bears the stamps issued on the 7th of May 2011 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). He was a poet, philosopher, musician and writer from Bengali. He is the first non European Nobel Laureate that he got in 1913 (for Literature).
The stamps picture a portrait of Rabindranath Tagore at different ages. I did not find information about the flower that is pictured on the stamp on the right…
The stamps have also been issued in a souvenir sheet.
In the background of the sheet is pictured a poem written by his hand. On the right border of the sheet his Nobel Prize is mentioned.
Souvenir sheets seem to be more and more popular and a lot of postal administrations are issuing stamps only in this format. Even though this gives nice items I’m never completely satisfied by souvenir sheets. First for the reason I mentioned above, very often the design of the stamps, once they are removed from the sheet, looks a bit strange. Also when stamps are issued only in souvenir sheets they are less often used on mails. It is very rare to use a full sheet to frank a cover (and sometimes the sheets are anyway too big). And very few people like to tear a souvenir sheet to extract the stamps to put on their mail. I do it, but this does not seem very common. So I prefer single stamps than souvenir sheets, because they seem more “postal”.