Monday 24 April 2017

Philately enthusiasts can wake up and smell the coffee this Sunday

Bengaluru April 21, 2017

 In a bygone era, young women would spray a little perfume on their letters to their beaus. Nowadays, of course, even getting a handwritten letter in the post is a rarity.

But India Post is making it possible to send letters that carry the fragrance of something a large part of India loves deeply: on Sunday, April 23, the Department of Posts will release a ‘coffee stamp’ at the General Post Office, Bengaluru.

The stamps have been printed at the India Security Press, Nashik. “The technology involves spraying or embossing the stamps with fine coffee granules, that will retain the aroma for long time,” said Charles Lobo, Chief Post Master General, Karnataka Circle. “Only on the day of the release will we know the colour, texture and design.”

The stamp will be released by Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha and Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman, with officials of the Postal Department and Coffee Board. “I'm very excited about the coffee stamp,” said Ms. Sitharaman. “It is not just about philatelic interest, but also about the appreciation of coffee. It’s a collector's version priced at ₹100. Coffee deserves a premium price, we should not underprice it.”

One lakh stamps will be ready for sale to collectors. The stamp, first day cover, miniature sheets and information brochures will be available at the Philately Bureau, Bangalore General Post Office, and all other head post offices.

Bhutan first introduced the concept of aromatic stamps in 1973. New Zealand, Thailand and Switzerland joined in later, among others. Brazil has issued coffee- and burnt-wood-scented stamps, and China has done fruits and sweet-and-sour pork.

India introduced its first aromatic stamp in 2006, with a ₹15 sandalwood-scented stamp; thirty lakh of these sold out within two weeks. In 2007, there were rose-scented stamps — in four varieties of the flower, Jawahar, Neelam, Delhi Princess and Bhim — at ₹5 each, and a jasmine fragrance in 2008.

“It’s good that we have expanded the concept from personality-based to include aromas,” said Vara Prasad, secretary, Karnataka Numismatics Society. “Just like sandalwood, coffee is also special for Indians. This will be a collector’s delight.”

The perfume will linger for years, Mr. Lobo says. “I have a sandalwood stamp released in 2006, and to this day I get the same strong aroma.”
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