The first general issue stamps of India appeared in 1854. They pictured Queen Victoria, who became empress in 1877. An especially beautiful Victoria set is an 1895 bi-color issue (Scott #50-52). Many interesting watermarks are impressed on these early stamps – everything from coats of arms, to Urdu characters, and an elephant’s head. India consisted of many feudatory states. The stamps of these states, with a couple of exceptions, were valid only in that state, such as Faridkot and Hyderabad. The convention states’ names, like Faridkot and Gwalior, were overprinted on stamps of British India and valid throughout it. India provides a goldmine of fascinating collecting areas. Great choice for a specialty collection!