Customs arrests man for flying with postage stamps

Customs officers are generally our friends. They keep people from boarding the plane with stolen antiquities or live reptiles, but occasionally innocent people get caught in their net.

Stamp collector Markand Dave of India seems to be one of those people.

Mr. Dave tried to board a flight from Sardar Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad, to Frankfurt, Germany, on his way to attend a stamp collecting exhibition in London. In his luggage he had a collection of rare, early Indian stamps. While Mr. Dave is a well-known philatelist and had an invitation to participate in the exhibition, he had forgotten to ask permission from the government to take the stamps out of India and ran afoul of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, which considers rare stamps to be antiquities. He’s due to appear in court on charges of antiquities smuggling.

Mr. Dave is probably not an antiquities smuggler, but as a leading philatelist he should have known better. Collectors should understand the laws that cover their collections and fill out the proper paperwork before they travel.

Besides, he should be thankful he didn’t have his rare stamps stolen by a baggage thief.