One of the earliest sets to capture the interest of philatelists with a paleontological bent was from the People’s Republic of China (mainland). The set was issued on April 15, 1958 and the three values depicted a trilobite, a dinosaur and the Pleistocene Chinese elk (Sinomegacerus eurycerus) respectively.
Wrapper with Chinese Elk – Sinomegacerus eurycerus
This package wrapper was posted from Peking (now Beijing) and sadly, the cancellation is too incomplete to read the date. The wrapped uses 13 copies of the 16 fen stamp with make-up postage (1 fen) paying a surface rate with registration. The total is 209 fen (100 fen equal 1 yuan).
Stegodon ganesa was an ancient cousin of mammoths and modern day elephants. The name Stegodon means ‘roofed tooth’, and referred to the shape of the teeth resembling a roof. Stegodons, there were several sub-genus, lived in many parts of Asia, from the Indian subcontinent to as far east as Japan. Fossils have been found that date the animal’s existence up until the Pleistocene. The Geological Survey of India, founded by the Coal Committee of the British East India Company to explore and record the mineral resources of India for further development, was commemorated with a stamp issue in 1951 depicting the Stegodon ganesa.
Indian Stegodon First Day of Issue to Netherlands
This cover bears a commercially used pair of the 1951 issue. It was mailed on the first day of issue (Jan. 13 1951) from Bombay, India to Dalfsen, Netherlands at the first class international surface rate of four Annas. The typewritten text in the upper left indicates the year as 1950 – which is a typographical error. This stamp has the distinction of being the first postage stamp to depict a reconstruction of a prehistoric animal.