Saturday, October 16, 2010

Datia State - WWII Red Cross Stamp

It's long time since I have shared some stamps so I decided to cover stamps issued by another princely state today. These are not usual war fund or war contribution stamps rather a red cross stamps!

Datia or Duttia was a princely state in formerly Central India (Bundelkhand) agency. It lay in the extreme north-west of Bundelkhand, near Gwalior, and was surrounded on all sides by other princely states of Central India, except on the east where it bordered upon the United Provinces.

It was second highest in the rank of all the Bundela states after Orchha, with a 17-gun salute, and its Maharajas bore the hereditary title of Second of the Princes of Bundelkhand.

During WWII, Datia was ruled by Hon. Lt. Col. HH Maharaja Lokendra Sir Govind Singh Ju Dev Bahadur. He was born in 1886, G.C.I.E. [cr.1932], K.C.S.I. [cr.1918] and ruled 1907-1951. The Maharaja was Vice President of the St John Ambulance Association and Patron of the Red Cross Society.

Perhaps, the closeness of Maharaja to Red Cross and St John Ambulance association suggests why Datia issued Red Cross stamps.

Shown above is what is called Type 26 of Datia stamp, listed in K&M (Koeppel - Raymond D. Manners "The Court Fee and Revenue Stamps of the Princely States of India" catalogue) as #261. The stamps were issued sometime between 1937-45. Exact date of issue is unknown.

Most of these were hand printed on wove paper. The denomination was of 1 anna with Datia State printed in oval shape and Maharaja's photo in centre. It is also known as Type 25.

The Red Cross issue was type 25 redrawn and 10-1/2 perforated. It was printed in booklets with the word "RED CROSS" added either above or below the design in serif, sans-serif, or upper and lower case letters. Broken and misaligned letters are also known to be in existence.

There are various varieties in existence:
1 anna, brown, (shades)
(a) Imperf.
(b) "RED CRCSS" error below design.
(c) "RE CROSS" error above design.
(d) brown-violet.

I have two varieties as shown above in my collection. I am naturally looking for (a), (b) and (c) to add to my collection :-) If any of my readers have such stamp in spare and willing to sell then let me know.

The Maharaja of Datia finally acceded Datia unto the dominion of India on 1st January 1950; it later merged with the union of India. Datia, together with the rest of the Bundelkhand agency, became part of the new state of Vindhya Pradesh in 1950. In 1956, Vindhya Pradesh state was merged with certain other areas to form the state of Madhya Pradesh within the Union of India.

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