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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Phila-Trivia: India's Withdrawn Guru Granth Sahib Stamp (Scott #2109)

In 2005, India released a commemorative stamp and souvenir sheet to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the holy text of the Sikh religion, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, or Adi Granth (Scott #2109, 2109a ). Unfortunately, the stamp contained a design error which violated the maryada (Sikh code of conduct), and offended many members of the Sikh community. According to Sikh tradition, the holy book should be covered by a "rumala", or piece of cloth, when it is not being read. The stamp pictured a lone holy book without a reader, yet unveiled. Accordingly, it was withdrawn from all Indian post offices across the country by the Department of Posts.

However, an unknown quantity of the stamps were sold prior to their formal release at some post offices in India's southern states. Whether or not the stamp is a good investment largely depends upon how many remain, including those sold before they were withdrawn and those hoarded by Indian postal employees attempting to supplement their incomes by dumping the ostensibly scarce stamps on collectors. Scott '11 prices the unused miniature sheet of one at $45.- and the miniature sheet of 12 at $90.- .

Those interested in learning about investing in stamps should read the Guide to Philatelic Investing ($5), available on Kindle and easily accessible from any computer.    

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