Reading & Writing Issue, 1974 - 1993 Centenary of the Universal Postal Union commemorative.
This set became the last issue of the Bhutan Stamp Agency in the Bahamas. The King of Bhutan died and there was a change in regime from the Wangchuk family (with which Mr. Todd, the stamp agent, had made his original contractual arrangement in Kalimpong, India, at Bhutan House) Bhutan House was a royal residence that served as a consulate (and where there was a Bhutanese post office for a few weeks). In 1994, a member of the Dorji family came into power as the new king. His inaugural stamp issue commemorating his ascension to the throne was a product of the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation in New York, which was awarded a successor stamp marketing agent contract.
The stamp stock that was sent from the USA to Bhutan was locked up at the customs office in Phuntsholing (where the philatelic agency was until 1988, prior to moving into the new GPO building in the capital, Thimphu). It was only in 1992 or early in 1993 that the Bhutan customs began to prod the post office to pay the duty and get the stamps out of storage. That the post office was a government agency and exempt from duty appears to have not mattered to customs. The dispute was eventually worked out. When the stock was taken into post office possession, the 80ch value was in short supply. Quantities of this value had been stolen and appeared on mail in the mid 1970s (see the illustrated examples). Today, it is the 80ch value that keeps mint sets from being completed.
The issue (15 stamps in sheets of 25 each, plus one souvenir sheet) was quietly placed on sale on 2 May 1993, in both perforated and imperforate formats. Only a handful of FDCs were prepared, using a generic, non-pictorial "first day of issue" cancellation device. The FDCs are rare.
Because the issue was placed on official sale in 1993, they are offered within the mint, used and FDC listings. If a price appears here above $0, then a pre-issue cover is available. Scans will be provided if you have an interest in one of these. The illustrated examples above are not for sale.