Indian stamps fetch handsome prices at London auction

Flawed stamp sells at 10 times more than the catalogue price

This may cheer up Indian philatelists. The recently-concluded Stanley Gibbons auction, held in London, saw Indian and Chinese stamps as the top picks. Philatelists put up a tough fight for flawed Indian stamps, one of which fetched more than 10 times of the catalogue estimate.

The highlight of the London auction was a 1992 stamp belonging to the 'birds of prey' series. It showed an Osprey in action. The Rs2 stamp was misprinted with a Re1 denomination. Moreover, the stamp got the Hindi name of the bird incorrect. Besides its Latin name, the stamp labelled the bird as 'Shahin Kohila', which is the Hindi name for falcon. The Osprey's Hindi name is 'macchlimar'. The catalogue price of this stamp was just £1,000 but it was sold at £11,500.

Stamps from this 1992 Osprey series have shown up at multiple auctions with colour errors too, where the blue colour of the sky in the background had spread on to the bird's wings too. The value error is extremely rare, as only four such stamps are known to exist. The flawed stamps were made part-of-year packs, and when the error was detected, they were withdrawn immediately.

The other remarkable bid was for a 25-paise stamp featuring a swamp deer, released on 1 October 1976. It sold for £1,160 but was originally priced at £500 in the catalogue. The stamp suffered a colour-omission error, and was printed without black. Colour-omitted error stamps have one or more colours missing. These errors usually occur when one stage of a multi-run printing process is skipped. Since older stamps involved fewer colours in their printing, this type of error occurred less often as they were easier to spot.

Another stamp, from the same series, was recently up for bidding at the first National Stamp Fair Auction held in New Delhi earlier this month. The fair, organised by Aeris Auctions, saw a sheet of ten 1976 swamp deer stamps valued at Rs6,000 on the catalogue. The sheet had double perforation, the only sheet for that stamp to suffer from that error.

While stamps with errors are highly valued, Indian stamps are looked down upon at international auctions, because the errors are frequent. Rajan Jayakar, eminent collector and philatelist said, "(The) value of a stamp depends on rarity, and stamps which contain errors are extremely rare because they are withdrawn as soon as the defect is spotted. However, Indian stamps feature so frequently that they are not considered valuable most of the time."

In case the other cousins of the double-error Osprey stamp turn up, it will be picked up immediately. Multiple rarities are considered as treasures in philately and their value appreciates manifold with time.

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nm sudan

7 years ago

It is very informativee

Procter & Gamble's 'Olay' will stiffen the competition in the fast-growing men's beauty business

P&G is the latest entrant in the Rs300-crore men's fairness products market that has recorded faster growth than that for women

Procter & Gamble's "Olay" is the latest brand to venture into the curious men's fairness cream arena. While the company is doing its best to make its mark, some market observers believe that the small market has already seen too many brands.

"Men's fairness creams constitute just a tenth of the segment. While it is an area which has potential, there are already a lot of options. The launch of another brand may not create any breakthroughs," commented an analyst. He compared the men's fairness segment with the deodorant market, which has seen many launches after the success of Axe, but have fragmented the sector, eating into each other's revenues.

P&G's product has found its way to India after China. The company also owns Gillette, which is a men's only brand, and it plans to add more products to its portfolio. Olay Men's Solutions will see high-end marketing, as the products are in the premium category.

Emami was the first to target the metrosexual with "Fair and Handsome" five years ago. As the brand took off, there were back-to-back launches. Hindustan Unilever (HUL) went to the market with "Fair and Lovely Menz Active", then there was "Nivea for Men", "Garnier Powerlight for Men" and "Vaseline Men". All of them have had significant sales, but Emami has stayed the leader.

Emami reported sales of Rs125 crore till December 2010, proof of its pioneering position and strength as an exclusively men's brand, unlike the others who derive their strength from their fairness products for women. "The brand is looking for a significant value growth on its present base (26%- MAT on December 2010)," says an Emami spokesperson.

The men's fairness cream market is estimated to be valued at Rs300 crore, but has seen a robust growth for most brands at 25%-30%. By contrast, the huge Rs3,000 crore women's fairness cream market is growing at 10%-15% annually.

The men's fairness sector is yet to realise its full potential, as many men still use women's fairness creams. Emami says that there is a huge demographic to be tapped, with an estimated six to seven times more males using women's fairness cream than males using men's only fairness creams.

"This is a lucrative area, but it really depends on the brand placement," said an advertising company spokesperson. "Each brand is appealing to a section of men and a new brand has to create its own niche to succeed. Pricing, too, becomes important because a majority of the customers go for products which offer value for money."

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8 years ago

Are we all becoming colour complex?Till recently if you look into the matrimony ads without fail in all the ads from boys one constant demand one could find is" Girls should be FAIR"
Why do we want to bleach ourselves? Many of the foriegn beaches are cramped with people who wish to Tan themselves. Are we falling for the bait of companies whIndians"o wish to exploit the "colour complex of

Top-end car sales: Laps of luxury

Since sales are not in top gear, makers of expensive automobiles are trying to be all things to all people

Mercedes-Benz had a very interesting ‘launch function’ for two more variants of their cars in Delhi. In this case, the SL-350 and GL-500, a huge sedan and an SUV (sports utility vehicle), respectively—with a price tag of around Rs1 crore. So did Audi, with the new A7 sedan, as...

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