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Amritsar Stamp Released by U.S.A.?
The Sikh Times, Sep. 8, 2004
Photo: Golden Temple stamp, September 5, 2004.
Photo: 300 Years of Khalsa stamp, Canada, 1999.
A G.T.C.C. press release dated August 29, 2004 stated:
You can contact your local post offices, but since these are special stamps for the benefit of a small community, it may have limited appeal and may not be available there.
The following press release was posted on the Sikh-Diaspora Internet discussion forum (Yahoo! Groups) by Harbans Lal (firstname.lastname@example.org) on September 4, 2004.
Amritsar Stamp Released by U.S.A.
FIRST EVER SIKH THEME POSTAL STAMP IN USA: United States Postal Service [U.S.P.S.] Commemorates the Guru Granth Centennial with a Postal Stamp.
On September 5th, 2004, United States Postal Service has issued a Postal Stamp with a picture of GOLDEN TEMPLE to commemorate the 400th 'PARKASH DIWAS OF ADI GURU GRANTH SAHIB' (400th Anniversary of Compilation and FIRST installation in Golden Temple Amritsar). Golden Temple Credit Corporation initiated the effort.
The Postal Stamps are COLLECTORS ITEMS. Each stamp has a unique and individual serial number. Stamps are available in Sheets of 20 or half sheet of 10 stamps. They are also available in the form of 'Commemorative Plaques' for souvenirs and as a Gift item. For further details, you may visit the following website: goldentemplecc.com
Harbans Lall [sic]
On September 6, 2004, Puneet Singh Lamba, founder, The Sikh Times, posted the following response on Sikh-Diaspora.
My desire to celebrate this stamp release has been overshadowed by my confusion regarding the legitimacy and usefulness of the stamp.
The United States Postal Service (U.S.P.S.) Web pages, which list recent and upcoming stamp releases make no mention of the stamp.
The stamp contains a picture of the Darbar Sahib with no inscription whatsoever to inform people about what the picture represents.
The stamp that was released by Canada in 1999 on the occasion of 300 years of the Khalsa was a finer accomplishment. It contained a picture of the Khanda with the inscription, 'Sikh Canadians.'
Also, each 'Golden Temple' stamp has a serial number, which seems to be required only for unofficial stamps. There are no serial numbers on official US stamps (see, for example, the John Wayne stamp).
Perhaps a more deserving and timely stamp might have been one that contained an abstract portrait of a turbaned Sikh, emphasizing the turban, with the inscription, 'Sikh Americans.'
On September 7, 2004, The Times of India published the following report filed by Yudhvir Rana from Amritsar (Punjab, India).
U.S. Releases Stamp on Sikh Guru
The United States Postal Service [U.S.P.S.], for the first time in the history of America, has issued a Sikh theme postal stamp in the country with a picture of Golden Temple to commemorate the 400th anniversary of compilation and first installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the Golden Temple informed S.P. Singh, vice chancellor of the university after receiving an internet message from Bhai Harbans Lal, Professor Emeritus G.N.D.U. from U.S.A.
S.P. Singh said that the stamp has been released with the efforts of Golden Temple Credit Corporation. These stamps were [sic] available in sheets of 20 or half sheet of ten stamp [sic] and were [sic] also available in the form of 'Commemorative Plaques' from [sic] souvenirs and as gift items.
Also on September 7, 2004, World Sikh Council - American Region (W.S.C.-A.R.) issued the following press release.
Golden Temple Stamp Not Issued by United States Postal Service
Recent media reports about the United States Postal Service (U.S.P.S.) issuing a commemorative Sikh stamp with a photo of Harmandar Sahib (commonly referred to as Golden Temple) may be misleading.
The W.S.C.-A.R. has communicated with USPS and was informed by a representative on September 3, 2004 via e-mail that the stamp was not created or issued by U.S.P.S. The stamp was not reviewed, authorized, issued, or released by U.S.P.S. It will not be available for sale at any U.S. post office.
The U.S.P.S. has further communicated that the stamp has been issued by a private company outside of the U.S.P.S. This is a private stamp that was produced by www.photo.stamps.com at the request of Golden Temple Credit Corporation.
Although the private stamp can be used for postage within the US, it is not issued by U.S.P.S.
On September 8, 2004, The Times of India published another report similar to the one dated September 7 (see above) from Amritsar under the headline 'U.S. Issues Stamp on Parkash Utsav.'
Also on September 8, 2004, Surindra Singh of Salem, Virginia offered the following clarification.
Actually you can get stamps with any pictures of your choice in United States now [at the following Web site:] photo.stamps.com
Golden Temple Credit Corporation got involved with VISA credit cards with a picture of Golden Temple on the card. Sardar Jasbir Singh Sethi is the main person involved in these projects. He was the key person to build first Gurdwara in Houston, Texas in early seventies.