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Monday Morning Brief | Diwali stamps and counterfeits

March 20, 2017 08:00 AM

Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the United States Diwali stamp, counterfeits of that stamp, and an upcoming Canada-India joint issue celebrating the Hindu festival.

Good morning and welcome to the Monday Morning Brief for February 13.

The Hindu festival of Diwali, or Deepavali, has made headlines in Linn’s Stamp News and the philatelic press several times in recent months. The festival, referred to as the festival of lights, is celebrated for five days in October or November each year, depending on the Hindu lunar calendar and the darkest new moon, and honors harvest time and the triumph of good over evil. The celebrations include illuminations and fireworks.

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After receiving requests for many years for a stamp to commemorate Diwali on a postage stamp, the United States Postal Service issued a forever stamp Oct. 5, 2016, during a ceremony filled with “joy and gratitude” at the Consulate General of India in New York City. The stamp joins other holiday stamps issued by the Postal Service, including the stamps honoring the Christian holiday of Christmas, the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa, the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, and the Muslim festival Eid.

The Diwali stamp once again made headlines in Linn’s last week when Linn’s managing editor Chad Snee reported that convincing counterfeits of the stamp were being sold on the eBay online commerce platform only five months after the stamp’s release. Snee reports that “of the new counterfeits Linn’s has reported during the past month or so (of the 2015 Love stamps and of the 2014 Flag and Fireworks coil) the bogus Diwali stamps come closest to exactly replicating their genuine counterparts.”

As with other recent U.S. counterfeits, the Diwali counterfeit stamps are printed on paper that lacks phosphorescent tagging. Genuine panes are printed on paper with a large block of tagging that covers the stamps. When viewed under shortwave ultraviolet light, the bogus stamps glow bright blue, top, while the genuine stamps glow yellow-green.

To learn about other distinguishing characteristics of the Diwali counterfeit stamps and how to tell them apart from the genuine stamps, read Snee’s story on page 1 of the April 3 issue of Linn’s or on our website linns.com.

Diwali will be honored in 2017 by at least two postal administrations. India Post representatives met with Canada Post officials in Ottawa and Toronto in February to discuss how to grow e-commerce between the two countries. The postal officials also announced that the two countries would celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary with a joint stamp issue this September to honor Diwali. In 2017, the five-day festival starts Oct. 19 and ends Oct. 23.

 For the most up-to-date stamp news, visit Linns.com and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. For Linn’s Stamp News and Scott catalogs, I’m Donna Houseman. Enjoy your week in stamps.