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Why a Cochin Postal History collection recently won an award in Mumbai

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You have got mail: Fragrant stamps, post crossing, Cochin postal history... MR Ramesh Kumar is an authority on philately. His Cochin Postal History collection recently won an award at the National Show in Mumbai

Did you know that, at an international competition for the most colourful stamps in 1894, Cochin stamps were placed second? That Cochin had stamps on all the important kings of the State? That the early Cochin stamps were printed at Ernakulam and then later in England ? Later on all the stamps were printed at Madras.

MR Ramesh Kumar, president, Goa Philately and Numismatics Society, explains that the Cochin state had a rich postal tradition and history.

He recently won the silver medal for his exhibit on Cochin State Postal History at the PCI National Stamp Show — INPEX 2019 — held in Mumbai in December. It had some of the best stamps and variety of cancellations and postmarks for different purposes,” he says. “The Royal Family had a privilege: they did not need stamps but only had to to sign on the anchal (post office)cover or cards. Cochin postal stamps are in high demand at the international level and they have many philatelic books and studies on them.”

Ramesh Kumar is a meteorologist by training (he has an MSc in Meteorology from Cochin University of Science and Technology) but his

Why a Cochin Postal History collection recently won an award in Mumbai
childhood interest in philately expanded to include stamps and covers on weather and climate. In 1986-1987, as a member of the sixth Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica, he began collecting covers and stamps in Antarctica Philately and won a silver medal at the 2017 exhibition.

He says his father, M V Ranganatha Pai, taught him the basics of stamp collection, storing and preservation. “I have been guided and mentored by several people like Balakrishna Das, ex-President of South India Philatelic Association, Chennai; V R Navelcar, ex-Secretary of Goa Philatelic and Numismatics Society; and friends such as E P James, Dr.K S Mohan and O K Prakash of the Philatelic Club, Thrissur.”

Ramesh Kumar’s Cochin Postal History collection was collected slowly over time and procured from serious collectors like H V Kamath, dealers, friends and e-commerce websites like e-bay. The collection includes stamps of kings of erstwhile Cochin Kingdom; cards and covers that depict the letters sent by kings from Tripunithara to their princes in Thrissur; receipts of the money order (called hundi); received letters and covers from neighbouring states such as Travancore, Mysore. There are several Dead Letter Office letters and covers (those that do not reach the addressee and are returned to sender) and Postage Due Letters (when the sender does not enough stamps for the letter and the addressee needs to pay the balance amount) in his collection as well.

The rare covers include pre-adhesive covers or letters that existed before stamps were printed in the Cochin State, perforated stamps, as well as covers with D and KD (Devaswom and Koodalmanikiam Devaswom) respectively. There was also an older version of the Spee

Why a Cochin Postal History collection recently won an award in Mumbai
d Post called Express Letters, in which letters were pasted with a large value of stamps and dispatched through train services within the Cochin State so that they would reach their destination quickly.

“The reason I started with the Cochin Postal History was because my basic association with all the places and their anchal offices. I was born in Irinjalakuda and have lived or visited Thrissur, Cranganore, Wadakkanchery, Mattanchery, Ernakulam, Mala, Tripunithara. I also had a close association with friends who were part of the Cochin Royal Family while I stayed in Tripunithara.”

With writing letters going out of fashion, there is a fear that stamps may become extinct. Ramesh doesn’t think so. “India Post issues several stamps regularly. For youngsters as well as seniors, there is a new way of connecting with the people all over the world called Post Crossing, an online project that allows its members to send and receive postcards from all over the world. The Philatelic Bureau in Ernakulam, near the Maharaja’s College Ground, is a great place to nurture this hobby. I have Philatelic Deposit there and they send me various stamps, special covers and First Day Covers (FDC),” he says.

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    Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:53:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/mr-ramesh-kumars-cochin-postal-history-collection-won-silver-at-a-national-show-in-mumbai-in-december-2019/article30513562.ece

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