BENGALURU: It was a visual treat for philatelists in the city on Sunday. They got a glimpse of two of the rare stamps in the world — the Inverted Head and the Red Scinde District Dawke — collected by city-based gynaecologist/obstetrician and philatelist Dr Sita Bhateja. These two stamps were among the thousands of other stamps collected by the philatelists across the country on display.
Octogenarian Dr Bhateja is among the most admired philatelists in the city. On Sunday evening, she was seen giving autographs to young philatelists at the Karphilex 2017, an exhibition organised by the Karnataka Philatelic Society.
The Inverted Head stamp was the first of 1854 issued in India to be included in the four annas value in red and blue colours. The Inverted Head stamp is among the only three known square shaped ones left in the world.It was due to a printing error that the queen’s photo was printed inverted on the stamp. This is also among the world’s first multicoloured stamps.
While the one preserved without cover was sold at 1,20,000 pounds in England recently, the value of the one with cover that Dr Bhateja has is even higher.
The other rare one in Dr Bhateja’s collection is the Red Scine Dawle, the first stamp of Asia. The collecters present at the exhibition said that even as there are many of these available across the world, Dr Bhateja’s stamp is in the best condition. Dating back to July 1852, this stamp is embossed.
What began as a childhood hobby has now made her the best in her field today. “I started collecting postal stamps as a school girl with my pocket money. Stamps of animals, colours and different countries now adorn my collection,” she said.
“I had to take a break in between when I joined the medical college. Eventually, I pursued the hobby again. In 1997, I approached the Karnataka Philately Society and they said I had some good stuff and was offered membership,” she added.
Ask her how many stamps she has and Dr Bhateja is quick to reply that stamps are not to be counted.“I disposed off a property but saved the Inverted Head stamp. It dates back to 1854 and I purchased it in 1980,” said Dr Bhateja. The value of this stamp today is over Rs one crore.