India "censor handstamps" Between the Wars

A place to discuss items of censored mail from other periods

India "censor handstamps" Between the Wars

Postby dannmayo » Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:46 pm

On pages 18-19 of the January 2015 Bulletin (No. 185) Barry Friedman illustrates Indian "censor handstamps" on 1924 and 1936 covers. These are forgeries made, probably in the early 1980s, to dress up the faulty (and therefore otherwise unsalable) covers of the "Chettiar correspondence" (actually several correspondences from and to various chettiars, merchants, in India and Malaya). I have seen, additionally, forgeries of airmail and railway markings. Some of these "censor handstamps" are close copies of legitimate WWII markings, and some are completely novel designs. Some even appear on WWII mail and are, in those cases, dangerous.

Konrad Morenweiser has an Appendix dealing with these in his Zivilzensur in Britisch Indien 1939-1945 (1985).

When looking at Indian censored covers, if you have an inter-war faulty Chettiar cover, its "censor handstamps" are certainly forgeries. If, however, you find something censored from the Northwest Frontier in 1930-31, gently put it in a sleeve, look up "Red Shirt Rebellion" and write a nice little article for the CCSG Bulletin. In the 1990s John Hardies showed me such a cover and I pooh-poohed it. When he later showed me the regulation allowing censorship in response to this uprising, the Red Shirt Rebellion became for me the Red Face Rebellion.
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Re: India "censor handstamps" Between the Wars

Postby gmark » Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:11 pm

Hello to the censorship world
Konrad Morenweiser's 1997 "British Asia, Forgerd Censor Handstamps and resealing labels", 16pp b/w, is available from me for £1 plus postage. If you are quick it can go out with your January Bulletin.
Konrad covered India, Burma, Ceylon, Malaya and Singapore in this useful monograph.
Graham Mark
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Re: India "censor handstamps" Between the Wars

Postby viswakumar » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:09 am

Let me add my bit of information to this topic.

All the forgeries were done by a Calcutta based dealer in 1970's and 1980"s. He was a clever guy and his logic was simple . There used be a huge no of Chettiar covers to and from India and Burma and India and Malaya. In India at that point of time an ordinary cover used sell for INR 3 to 5. The censor covers used sell at INR 10-15. At that point of time the conversion was 25 INR to 1 US$.
So he made rubber stamps to triple the prices. He even applied them to post war period covers and periodically they used to crop up in Malaya study group Bulletin asking whether the censor marks belong to the communist insurgency period.

Mercifully he died some 15-16 years back and what you see is the remnant of his handiwork. Interestingly you wont find these with dealers in Indian stamp shows. Every Indian dealer worth his salt knows about this and only the foreign dealers fell for it.

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A probably related item

Postby dannmayo » Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:41 am

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