By Madhukar & Savita Jhingan

The customized postal stationery in India is an offshoot of the Greeting Post.

India Post introduced Greeting Post on September 6, 2000 with a set of 32 greeting cards with stamped envelopes. The imprinted postage stamps on the envelopes were an exact replica of the cards with name of the country, denomination and simulated perforations. The cards and consequently the envelopes were of two sizes - small (10.9 x 17.3 cm) and medium (12.3 x 19.3 cm). The envelopes for the small cards carry smaller size stamp imprint (4 x 3 cm) while the medium size cards have larger stamp imprint (5 x 4 cm). The denomination of all stamps was Rs. 3 that prepays the inland letter rate. The small size greeting cards were priced at Rs. 12 and the medium size cards at Rs. 15 each. India Post offered trade discounts on these prices to bulk buyers, retailers, and distributors.

India Post provided for customization of the greeting cards by offering to undertake printing messages on cards and sender’s address on envelopes for bulk buyers without any extra charge. Initially 5% of the quantity printed, about 1000, was produced without message on the cards so senders can customize the messages as well.

India Post also offered the complete customization of the design of the greeting card and the accompanying stamped envelope. A client can give his own design and text of the message for the greeting cards. The imprinted stamp was subject to India Post’s philatelic guidelines for issuing stamps. 10,000 was the minimum order quantity and the price per card carried a 20% premium for this privilege in addition to retail price of such card. The premium was calculated after excluding the postage and this worked out Rs.13.80 and Rs.17.40 for small and medium size respectively. The logo of the sponsor was not to be included in the design. However the logo and a message (advertisement) on the back of the envelope were offered under this package.

The first issue of Customized Greeting Cards was issued in December 2001 for use of the officials of India Post! The greeting card designs # 155 and 158 were customized. The Imprinted stamp on the envelopes was without denomination as these were intended to be used by postal officials on ‘postal service’ and carried the following inscriptions: India Post logo, By Air Mail, On Postal Service, and Department of Posts, New Delhi. India

Most greeting cards in India are normally sent in unsealed envelopes to take advantage of lower postal rates for Book Post (inland mail) or Printed Paper Rate (overseas mail). However all issues of India Post’s greeting cards have been at the inland letter rate that remained higher by a Rupee. India Post addressed this issue by providing accompanying stamped envelopes in Book Post rates. In one of the two instances of this kind of customization, the Greeting Card design # 126, that originally was issued with the imprinted stamp in the denomination of Rs.4, was customized and printed with the imprinted stamp in the denomination of Rs.3, the Book Post rate from June 1, 2001 to May 30, 2002, and also carried the inscription Book Post on the envelope.

The first fully Customized Greeting Card with client’s own design was issued in January 2002 for NovaPen and was intended by the sponsors for sending Birthday greetings to the doctors. Another fully Customized Greeting Card, also issued in the first half of 2002, was sponsored by Shreemant Dagadusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Ganpati Trust, Pune for their famed Ganesh Festival.

In 2001 India Post received a proposal from ICICI Bank. The Bank referring to the Greetings Post, asked for only the postage prepaid stamped envelopes without the greeting cards. The offer received from ICICI Bank did not materialize but eventually India Post decided to introduce this new product, Customized Stamped Envelopes, in July 2001.


The design of ICICI Bank Customized Envelope
Depicts bank’s headquarters building in Mumbai

The first customized stamped envelope, was issued on December 1, 2001 for World Computer Literacy Day sponsored by the National Institute of Information Technology Limited, New Delhi (NIIT) and ceremoniously released by the then Minister for Communications, Information Technology, and Parliamentary Affairs, Pramod Mahajan at New Delhi.

India Post's terms and conditions for the customized envelopes were as follows:
Postage Stamp Impression shall not have (a) Denomination, (b) Name of the Country in Hindi & English (First customized envelope did carry the name of the country in Hindi & English), (c) Logo of the Sponsor, (d) Any prohibited item.

The security features included printing of the India Post logo visible only under ultra violet light below the postage impression. Every envelope will have a unique code number starting with CE (for customized envelope) then the order number and year of printing, followed by sponsor’s code and finally the serial number. These envelopes can be mailed only at the designated post office/s and not at any other post office. The customized envelopes come with a date of expiry usually the last date of the month one year from the date of issue and must be used within this period.

India Post offered 10 sizes of customized envelopes, in three varieties of the paper viz. 80, 90, and 100 GSM, for Rs. 1.50 to Rs. 2.30 each. In addition the client may choose the amount of postage prepaid – Rs. 5 for inland letter rate, Rs. 15 for overseas airmail letter rate, Rs. 22 for inland registered mail, as per their requirements. The sizes available are, in mm – 140 x 90, 152 x 90, 162 x 114, 180 x 135, 176 x 125, 220 x 110, 240 x 120, 229 x 162, 230 x 160, and A4. The Envelopes may be with window or without and have opening at top or side as per the requirement of the sponsor.

The minimum order required was of 10,000 copies, increased to 50,000 in late 2003. The entire quantity of customized postal stationery ordered was delivered to the Sponsors and these were not made available to philatelists.

A total of 19 Customized Stamped Envelopes have been issued to date and India Post is not taking new orders since 2004.

1. Business Development Directorate, India Post
2. CUSTOMISED POST by Arjunlal Harchandani, “India Post” the Journal of the India Study Circle for Philately, Vol. 36 # 154, November 2002
3. CUSTOMIZED ENVELOPES by Manohar Lal, Souvenir of DESPEX 2004, Delhi South District Philatelic Exhibition, February 2004

The information in the listing is presented in following format:
Date, Denomination, GSM, Size in mm, Quantity
Designated Post Office for mailing

01. India Post
2001 Dec, No Value Indicator, 109 x 173, ?
On Postal Service, and Department of Posts, New Delhi. India
Greeting Card # 155

02. India Post
2001 Dec, No Value Indicator, 109 x 173, ?
On Postal Service, and Department of Posts, New Delhi. India
Greeting Card # 158

03. ?
2001, Rs 3, 109 x 173, ?
Book Post
Greeting Card # 126

04. ?
2001, Rs 3, 109 x 173, ?
Book Post
Greeting Card # 12?

05. National Institute of Information Technology
2001 Dec 01, NVI (Rs.4), 80, 190 x 125, 25,000
Kalkaji, New Delhi 110019
World Computer Literacy Day

06. Novapen India Limited
2002 Jan, Rs 4, 109 x 173, ?
Greeting Card

07. Shreemant Dagadusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Ganpati Trust, Pune
2002, Rs 4, 123 x 193, ?
Greeting Card

08. Platinum Jubilee of Indian Institute of Bankers,
2002 Apr 30, Rs 5, 80, 110 x 220, 10,000
Mumbai 40000?
Logo of the platinum jubilee

09. ABN AMRO Bank
2002 Jul 11, Rs 5, 90, 110 x 220, 100,000
Mass Mailing Centre Malviya Nagar, New Delhi 110017
‘Live Without Fear’ from bank’s ad artwork for ‘Freedom Credit Card’
Window Envelope

10. V Can Network Chennai
2002 Sep, Rs 22, 80, 110 x 220, ?
Business Post Centre Anna Road, Chennai 600002
Registered Envelope


11. Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashrama
2002 Oct, Rs 5, 80, 110 x 220, 8000
Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashrama, Mysore 570025


12. Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashrama
2002 Oct, Rs 15, 80, 110 x 220, 2000
Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashrama, Mysore 570025
Airmail Envelope

13. Gandhigram Rural Institute Deemed University, Gandhigram, Silver Jubilee
2002 Sep, Rs. 5, 80, 110 x 220, 10000
Gandhigram 624302

14. National Cancel Control Program
2002 Nov, Rs. 5, 80, 110 x 220, 12000
Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi 110011
Cancer Awareness Day
Official Mail Envelope

15. PLASTINDIA 2003, 5th International Plastics Exhibition & Conference
2002 Dec, Rs. 5, 90, 110 x 220, 25000
Chakla, Mumbai 400093
Old Fort, New Delhi

16. South Eastern Railway
2002 Dec, Rs 5, 100, 115 x 225, 25000
Garden Reach, Kolkata 700043

17. South Eastern Railway
2002 Dec, Rs 25, 100, 115 x 225, 12000
Garden Reach, Kolkata 700043
Registered with Acknowledgement Due Envelope

18. National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT)
2002 Dec, Rs 5, 80, 110 x 220, 25000
Kalkaji, New Delhi 110019
World Computer Literacy Day

19. Ammunition Factory Kirkee
2003 May, Rs 5,100, 120 x 240, 50000
Kirkee 411003
Official Mail and Window Envelope

20. National Insurance Academy Pune
2003 Aug, Rs 5, 80, 110 x 240, 50000
NIA, Pune 411005
Academy building
Window Envelope

21. Bank of Maharashtra
2003 Oct, Rs 5, 100, 120 x 240, 50000
Shivaji Nagar, Pune 411005

22. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited
2003 Nov, Rs 5, 100, 110 x 240, 50000
Andrews Ganj New Delhi 110049 & Lodhi Road New Delhi 110003
World in Color Palette - BHEL /Excellence Is Our Passion/ World The Canvas

23. University of Pune
2003 Nov, Rs 5, 80, 110 x 240, 50000
Ganeshkhind, Pune 411007
University building

24. Automotive Research Association of India
2003 Dec, Rs 5, 80, 120 x 240, 50000
Deccan Gymkhana, Pune 411004
Window Envelope

25. Syndicate Bank
2004 Feb, Rs 5, 90, 110 x 220, 50000
Manipal 576104 - The World's Online Marketplace

Copyright © 2005, Stamps of India, New Delhi, India | All rights reserved | Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2006

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