By ABDULMALIK MERCHANT
(Publisher/Editor Barakah, Simerg and Simergphotos)

This close up photo shows a 1.24mm diamond on the Portugal Postal Service’s Souvenir Sheet issued for Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee. The value of this commemorative sheet is  euros 20.00. Photo: Barakah/Malik Merchant.

The Diamond Jubilee memorabilia store located by the entrance to the exhibition space was one of the busiest places during the week long Darbar celebrations at Park of Nations (Parque das Nações) in Lisbon. The queues at the store got even longer when an  announcement was made that the store would also be selling a diamond embedded  stamp commemorative sheet that it had received from the Portuguese Postal Services  (CTT).

Within a day, as I found out from an enthusiastic sales volunteer, more than 1000 units of the sheet were sold at the store, out of a total of 7000 that had been manufactured.  I acquired 2 sets at 20 euros each, and have become one of the thousands of proud owners of this magnificent diamond embedded “memorabilia”.

What a fantastic idea by CTT to come up with this unique object honouring Hazar Imam. As the saying goes “a diamond is forever.” To the “thoughtfully wise” at CTT I say on behalf of every Ismaili: ‘We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for honouring our beloved Imam in such a wonderful and unique manner.”

nazim_lokhandwala_Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Postage Stamp mhi_pm_lunch_july_9-5424

Prime Minister António Costa unveils the official Diamond Jubilee commemorative postage stamp in the presence of Mawlana Hazar Imam, as Francisco Lacerda, CEO of CTT (Portugal Postal Services), and Raul Moreira, Head of Philately for CTT, look on. Photo: The Ismaili/Nazim Lokhandwala.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam signs a special commemorative issue of the Diamond Jubilee postage stamp, as Francisco Lacerda, CEO of CTT (Portugal Postal Services), and Raul Moreira, Head of Philately for CTT, look on. Photo: The Ismaili/Nazim Lokhandwalla.

The CTT stamp was unveiled on July 8, 2018 during a luncheon the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, hosted for Mawlana Hazar Imam. The event was attended by Mawlana Hazar Imam’s younger brother, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, the Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, as well as CTT’s CEO, Francisco Lacerda, and its Head of Philately, Raul Moreira.

Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa and Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, with Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan,  and his brother, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, at Foz Palace following a presentation by the Prime Minister to His Highness of commemorative limited edition First Day Diamond Jubilee stamps issued by the Postal Service of Portugal. Photo: AKDN.

A close up of the Portugal Post’s souvenir sheet commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Mawlana Hazar Imam. A genuine 1.25mm diamond is affixed on the souvenir sheet at the location we have marked with an arrow. See close-up of diamond at start of article.

On July 9, 2018, CTT launched the entire philatelic issue. This issue consists of a stamp with a face value of € (euro) 0.91 (125,000 copies) and a souvenir sheet, which has  two versions: One with a value of € 2 and 50 thousand copies and another one of only 7 thousand copies, with a diamond of 1.25 mm, at a price of € 20. Also, on sale are a first day cover with the stamp with a value of € 1.69 and a first day cover with a souvenir sheet with a value of € 3.21. We have provided a link to the CTT’s on-line shop at the bottom of this post, where you may be able to purchase these items (subject to availability). The website does not list the diamond sheet of € 20, making me wonder if all 7000 sheets have been sold!

 On July 10, 2018, the CTT Facebook page was updated with the following image:

Set image on CTT’s Facebook page.

A downloadable PDF file explaining the stamp’s features along with a profile of Mawlana Hazar Imam in both Portuguese and English was released by CTT on its website. To download this informative file, please click Pag diptica_sua_alteza_aga_khan_2018.

In releasing the stamp, CTT explains:

“Prince Karim Aga Khan is the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of Muslims Shia Imami Ismailis. According to 1400 years of Muslim tradition, the Imam is not only spiritual guide, but also leads the effort to improve the safety and quality of their lives and all those with whom they share their destiny, regardless of their creed, gender or ethnicity . It was in this context that the Aga Khan Development Network was created, which has been present in Portugal since 1983 through the Aga Khan Foundation.

“In 2015, His Highness Aga Khan signed an agreement with the Portuguese Republic on the establishment of the formal headquarters of Imamat Ismaili (a supranational entity representing the succession of the Imams since the time and in the progeny of Prophet Muhammad ) in Portugal. The Palacete Henrique de Mendonça, in Lisbon, will become the world headquarters of Imamat Ismaili and will operate according to the rules of a foreign diplomatic delegation. In Europe, Portugal has one of the largest concentrations of Muslim Ismailis.

“This philatelic issue consists of a stamp with a face value of € 0.91 (125,000 copies) and a stamp with a stamp, which will have two versions. One with a value of 2 € and 50 thousand copies and another one of only 7 thousand copies, with a diamond of 1.25 mm, at a price of € 20.

“The first day obliterations will be made at the Restauradores stores in Lisbon, Muncipio do Porto, Zarco in Funchal and Antero de Quental in Ponta Delgada.”

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CTT set commemorating the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee

Stamp (referred to as set), face value Euro 0.91.

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First day cover with set (stamp); face value Euro 1.69.

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Souvenir sheet without diamond; face value Euro 2.00.

First day cover with souvenir sheet; face value Euro 3.21.

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Portugal CTT Aga Khan Brocuhre with Set and Souvenir Sheet 4.43 Euros

Brochure with set and souvenir sheet; face value Euro 4.43.

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Link to CTT on-line store to purchase Diamond Jubilee set and associated philatelic objects

PLEASE CLICK: Purchase collection of His Highness the Aga Khan set at CTT

Click on image to purchase Ag Khan set on CTT on-line store.

Date posted: August 2, 2018.

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