Lord Minto was the Viceroy of India from November 1905 and remained in office till 1910. His wife Mary Caroline Grey, popularly known as Lady Minto was involved in organization of Indian Nursing Association. She organized a Fete that was to provide the organization with donations for the organization. The Fete was held at Calcutta between 20 January 1907 and 7 February 1907.
Besides other things at the Fete, a postcard stall and a post office were also setup. Lady Minto had arranged for the issue of three stamps :
- Stamp with the denomination of 4 Annas bearing her portrait in red
- Stamp with the denomination of 4 Annas bearing the portrait of her husband Lord Minto in blue and
- A stamp with the denomination of 1 Rupee bearing the map of India.
The four Anna stamps were printed in sheets of 6 x 4, while the 1 Rupee stamp was in sheets of 5 x 5. The stamps were designed by Wilmot Corfield who was the Hon. Secretary & Treasurer of the Philatelic Society of India from 1897 -1909 and were produced by the Survey of India department at Calcutta, the official government printers in India .
The design of the stamps caused a major furor. It was felt in philatelic circles and specifically by the Edwardian Society in Calcutta that the release of stamps without the depiction of the King was an insult to the throne. Lord Minto ordered that the stamps be withdrawn, bowing to the strong objection. However, some stamps were sold and even postally used alongside contemporary stamps. The extra 4as were to be donated to the charity fund of Lady Minto .
A special postmark was also designed to be affixed to the stamps that were supposed to sold during the fete and depicts a red cross marked around with “Minto Fete Calcutta” with the time and date of the stamp.
1. S. W. Gee, “The Lady Minto’s Fete” India Post No. 55, pp.19, The India Study Circle for Philately.
2. John Buchan, “Lord Minto, A Memoir” ebook No. 0500261h.html, retrieved from http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks05/0500261h.html
4. Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia, “Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound,_4th_Earl_of_Minto retrieved November 22nd, 2011.
5. Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia, “Wilmot Corfield”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmot_Corfield retrieved November 22, 2011.
6. “Lady Minto’s Fete”, Stamps Magazine, Feb 1985.