Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tibet's first set

Today, i would do a quick posting on one of my favourite collection of first issues... the Tibetan's first set of stamps issued in 1912.
After the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 the independent Tibetan government established its own postal service, and issued its own stamps. They are: 1 Khakang (1/6 trangka) green, 1 Karmanga (1/3 trangka) blue, 1 Tschakey (1/2 trangka) violet, 1 Shokang (2/3 trangka) carmine & 1 Trangka vermilion. These stamps were only valid for internal use, as Tibet did not join the Universal Postal Union. Mail going out of Tibet usually went via India, and had to be franked with Indian stamps.

The first issue was only for sale in the capital, Lhasa, until 1913. Some printings were made with European enamel paint instead of ink.
A "printing plate" was created by hand carving 12 stamp images, arranged as three rows of four stamps each, in a wooden block, one block for each denomination. Therefore, each stamp in a sheet is slightly different from the others, making them platable. The stamps were printed on request form the Post Offices and every printing has a different shade.
The stamps occur as lithographs on European paper as well as xylographs on Tibetan paper. Some believe that the European lithographs issues are forgeries, while others believe that the first issue of this set was made in London in 1912 on European paper, and only later reprinted by xylography in Tibet on local paper.


Ok, I shall end here today... leaving you to enjoy these exotic beauties.

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