Philately is an interesting and engrossing hobby that you can carry with you through life.

Can you spot a common thread here — The Eternal Journey of Railways, Scout Movement, Music and Dance, Aerogramme, Light Houses, Cartoons, Save the Tiger? One clue. You may have seen them on envelopes or even in a stamp album.

Fascinating hobby

Philately is an ageless hobby. You can keep building your collection and it will continue to keep you engrossed and enthused. A visit to a stamp exhibition can be a starting point to ignite your interest. In Chennai, the exhibition at the Regional Railway Museum has over 10000 stamps from over 200 countries on display. The exhibition is on till December 16.

The highlight of the exhibition are the themed exhibits. Twenty three philatelists exhibited their collection of stamps under 30 different themes such as “Indian Railways”, “Women in the world” and so on. Stamps printed on wood, rubber, cork, cloth and thread, silk cloth, silver, bronze, cardboard, plastic, clay, felt, batik, glitter stamps, embossed stamps and pearls were also on display.

Did you know that there is a fragrance line of stamps? India has released three different fragrances — sandal, rose and jasmine. The stamps with cartoons as the theme featured characters from Disney, Pokémon, Ninja Hatori, and so on.

Stamps are a pictorial encyclopaedia and thus makes it a remarkable learning tool.

To start your collection

Ask around: You might find someone who still uses the services of the Postal Department.

Membership: You can become a member of a philately club or association.

International: The best way is to connect with friends and family settled abroad. Pen friends could also do their bit.

Local: In India, you can open a philatelic deposit account at the philatelic bureau in your city. Your stamps will be sent to you periodically by speed or registered post.

Decide on your collection

Base your collection on a theme. Talk to a senior from the Philatelic Club before you fix the theme. To exhibit your collections you require graph sheets, stamps protectors, sheet protectors, tape, tweezers, and good lenses with supporting literature to make your presentation interesting and informative. It is always recommended to visit philatelic exhibitions which provide you with self learning experiences. Make use of the Internet as it is the best source for beginners and will come in handy once you decide to participate in exhibitions and competitions.

For more information: South India Philatelists Association, Chennai

Call: President: 98406 45487/ Secretary: 9840423567, 98410 17154

Or P. Sreetharan 8056050360