An extremely rare and valuable handstruck postmark is among a dozen competitive exhibits being showcased by India at the PHILATAIPEI 2016 World Stamp Championship Exhibition in Taipei, where exhibitors from 80 countries and areas are displaying precious philatelic collections.
The postmark, called the "Indian Bishop Mark," was the first handstruck postmark from India and the earliest of only four known Indian Bishop Marks.
"It is dated Feb. 2, 1775 and was sent from Calcutta to Dhaka, which today is the capital of Bangladesh," Madhukar Jhingan, acting national commissioner for India of PHILATAIPEI, told CNA.
Jhingan, who runs a website called Stamps of India, said the item is one of the rarest and oldest of its kind in Asia, with a market value of about NT$5 million (US$158,263).
"I have only seen three of them," Jhingan said, adding that the Bishop Mark is now kept by a private collector.
"Bishop Mark" takes its name from Henry Bishop, a former Postmaster General of Great Britain. The earliest use of such handstruck postmarks in the world is believed to be in 1661.
The Bishop Mark is a circle divided by a single horizontal line in the middle. The upper part shows the day of the month and the lower part shows the name of the month in abbreviated form.
Other competitive exhibits from India include one on the postal history of Cochin, one on Mahatma Gandhi, and one on a collection of elephant stamps.
The World Stamp Championship Exhibition is taking place Oct. 21-26 at Exhibition Hall 1 of the Taipei World Trade Center and showcases 2,450 philately items from around the world. It is the first time that Taiwan has hosted the exhibition.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel