About India - Stamps
The East India Company opened a post office in Bombay in 1688, but services were only made available to the general public in 1774 with the fee being 2 annas per 100 miles. Post marks on these letters, called 'Indian Bishop Marks', are very rare.
The postal system went through a reform in 1854 and four stamps were introduced that were valid for postage throughout the country with the following denominations:ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ½ anna, 1 anna, 2 annas and 4 annas. Each stamp depicted Queen Victoria, and the 4 annas stamp was one of the first bi-coloured stamps in the world.
Under British rule, there were around 652 Princely States. Some of these states had agreements with the Post Office of India to provide postal services within their territories, using official stamps, overprinted by each state. These states were known as Convention States. There was also a larger number of Feudatory States that maintained their own postal systems, with their own state-designed stamps, that were not valid outside of the territory.
In 1902, new stamps of higher values were produced depicting King Edward VII. These were followed in 1911 by stamps featuring King George V, and in 1931, the first pictorial stamps, displaying Delhi and the fortress of Purana Qila. The first stamp following the independence of India was issued in November 1947 and shows the Indian flag. In August 1948, a stamp was produced as a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, and one year later, a series depicting India's rich culture, including Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh and Jain temples, sculptures and monuments.