Saturday, January 30, 2010

Some Stamp Papers of the Princely States of Cochin and Travancore

Stamp paper of value 32 puttans.

The studies on the court fee stamps, revenue stamps and other stamp papers of the pre- independent days of India can be of much interest to enthusiasts. Those pertaining to the princely states of Cochin and Travancore and done with much aesthetics and are of great historical importance.

The stamp papers were designed by the British as a means to collect taxes from residents of some of the Princely States as early as 1797. The designs of these papers included the name of the state as well as the amount of tax imposed.

Early examples of stamped paper from British India and the Princely States were simpler and often colorless, much like a notary's seal. Later, these were replaced by typeset or engraved stamps. Subsequently, color was added, and printings for many of the states were imported from Europe.

I have gone through some of my collections and found the portrait series of Cochin much to my liking.

Sir Sri Rajarshi Rama Varma I, Raja of Cochin, 1895-1914
(Ozhinja Valiya Thampuran )

Sir Sri Rama Varma II, RajaMaharaja of Cochin, 1914-1932
(Madrasil Theeppetta Thampuran )

Sir Sri Kerala Varma II, Maharaja of Cochin 1941-43
(Midukkan Thampuran)

Sir Sri Ravi Varma Kunjappan Thampuran, Maharaja of Cochin, 1943-46

Sir Sri Kerala Varma III,1946-48 ,(Ikyakeralam Thampuran)
the last Cochin ruler to be portrayed on stamps

Travancore Stamp Paper 1920

Travancore Copying paper of value 3 1/2 chuckram

Travancore- Cochin non judicial paper of value 45 rupees

Palakkad, South India.
31st January 2009.


Nebu said...

Enlightening post, Murali. While reading it I realised the folly of burning / throwing away some old documents which I thought were of no use, never had any from Cochin State though.

A few old documents of the Travancore – Cochin (last picture) which were with me were recently handed to my cousin brother.

A document dated 28th December 1950 of the cardamom plantation at Vandanmedu in Idukki district, my grandfather purchased in my father’s name is written on a stamp paper similar to that of Travancore stamp paper 1920. Thankfully I have it with me as it is the previous document of land presently in my name. Since there is no provision to upload photos along with the comments, I have forwarded a photo of the same to you.

MANIKANDAN [ മണികണ്ഠന്‍‌ ] said...

Very informative and interesting.

Calicut Heritage Forum said...

A valuable collection, indeed. We hope you will follow up by posting your Travancore collections as well.

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear Nebu,

Thanks for the comments. As you mentioned, many of these old documents have wantonly been destroyed by us. I know of a certain relative who burned many valuable documents and records after the death of his father who had meticulously stored away many interesting and valuable records. I could salvage a few before he could lay his hands on these too.

I am delighted to see the scan of your old document. As you see, the Eikyakeralam document (United State of Travancore and Cochin ) is very beautiful indeed.

kind regards,

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear Manikandan,

Thank you for your comments, which I appreciate greatly.


Murali RamaVarma said...


Thanks for the comments. I shall try to post some more of the Travancore stuff as suggested.


Murali RamaVarma said...



Maddy said...

Stamp papers and Notary public invented by the British was I guess mainly to provide revenue to certain individuals as well as the tax dept, but the story behind them would be interesting, maybe you could cover it.. today you see lots of shortages of stamp paper in Kerala!! The stamp paper itself has taken a new look

Suma said...

The posting is very informative,as i didn't saw stamp pappers like these never before.

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear Maddy, Your observation is correct that the stamp papers were introduced as a means for raising revenue by the british. But, we have to admit that these steps introduced a semblance of order in an otherwise chaotic system. Yes, the story behind these could be interesting. Let me look into your suggestion. Thanks.

Murali RamaVarma said...

Thank you, Suma for your comment.

Sudha Madhuri said...

My name is sudha , wife of great grandson of Midukkan Thamburan (1941-43).I was searching for Cochin maharaja ( Kerala Varma !941-1943) documents .
I am collecting anything related to him.It will be very kind of you if you could share some info on where we can find such docs. Thanks

Murali RamaVarma said...

Hello, Sudha Madhuri,

It is my pleasure to get introduced.

There are various sources in the net about Midukkan Thampuran including the Wikipedia. But finer details are very less. You may go through the autobiography of Puthezhathu Rama Menon, who was "Sarvadhikaryakkar "(Chief Secretary) to Dharmika Chakravarti Maharajah RamaVarma (1932-41) who preceded Midukkan Thampuran to the throne. He gives some insight into the peculiar ways of the interesting Maharajah. Please also read the historical book “Sakthan Thampuran “ by the same author.

Unfortunately, we have not been very good in the field of biographies , unlike the western people. Otherwise, we could not have missed out on the detailed biographies of many a ruler who wrote our destiny. I have seen a biography of Rajarshi Rama Varma, Maharajah of Cochin (The abdicated maharajah) written by IKK Menon.

All the best in your endeavours.

With kindest regards,

george said...

Hi Murali

great to see such an effort to expose the little trasures of cochin to the world. Im a stamp collector solely specialising in the stamps of cochin. The stamp issuing period of cochin state was from 1892-1949 and i have a decent personal collection.If space permits I can share some of the rare stamps issued by cochin state

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear George, Thank you for the comments. I am delighted toknow about your interests and about your unique collections. Please do write an article on the Cochin Stamps which can be of great interest to many enthusiasts.I for one would love to see and read it.By the way, where are you stationed?

Kind regards,

Butterfly World said...

Dear Murali verma,
Your post is very interesting and informative for a stamp paper collector like me.luckly I could save a good number of stamp papers and Palm leaves records from destruction .They reveals the past.Even social structure of the Travancore, Cochin and Malabar states can be traceable from those records. i have only few records from Travancore.I am realy happy to learn about you and waiting for your post on Travancore collection.

V.S Manoj

Murali RamaVarma said...

Dear Manoj,

Thank you for the comments.I am indeed delighted to note that you have a passion for collecting and that you have saved quite a bit of stamp papers and palm leaf records from destruction. I have seen the wanton destruction of old records by a few of my relatives who are otherwise construed as learned and refined!What a pity!

kind regards,

bijo paul said...

Thank you for the great info. I have some stamp papers of Travancore Cochin with me. Interested in selling. Contact

bijo paul said...

Thank you for the great info. I have some stamp papers of Travancore Cochin with me. Interested in selling.

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