Recently, my mail has been flooded by questions on Stamp Booklets or Presentation Packs. Questions from "What is a stamp booklet" to "Is it a Philatelic item" have been asked, mostly from collectors from India as there is a trend of stamp booklets being released recently. I have answered many, and then I thought that this could be a separate entry.
What is a stamp booklet? Simply put, it is few stamps or set of stamps being placed in-between a small piece of cardboard to make the handling of stamps easier than a full sheet of stamp. Earlier issue of stamp booklet had nothing to do with Philately than for handling and included even definitive stamps. These were issued by countries like Luxembourg and Sweden in the early nineteenth century and followed by other countries. Presentation packs are usually one set of stamp, miniature/ souvenir sheet FDC pertaining to a particular release presented in an attractive pack, which is mostly Commemorative stamps targeting the collectors.
Now, what is Official and Un-Official, well those booklets issued by or with the permission of the India Post usually by Philatelic Clubs are said to be Official and which are done privately by collectors or Clubs are said to be Un-official.
The recent trend of many booklets and presentation packs (both Official and Un-Official) have put many a collectors in a dilemma to buy it or not. To add to the same these booklets are priced much higher than the stamps contained in it, some times 2 to 3 times more, issued in limited quantities and are sold like hot cakes by giving wide publicity.
Philatelists collect a wide range of items and I consider these one among them, so to collect it or not I leave it to individual collectors, but I would certainly not collect it at the current price it is being sold as it does not have any special place in Philately unless I do not have the same stamps separately. I am not even sure if it can be exhibited in any exhibition, local or international. I would like India Post to take note of the present trend and frame some rules for the issue of Stamp Booklets. My final word is "BUYERS BEWARE"
Dear Fellow bloggers, Philatelists and collectors, I would like to receive comments and views from all of you to start a discussion on this subject. (Please write your comments below, than e-mailing me, Thanks.)