It all began when he was 15 years old. From a novice philatelist P. Jayesh Kumar, now 24 years, is more than a seasoned numismatics and philately aficionado. But he prefers calling himself a ‘collector'.
Currencies, coins, stamps, post cards, tattoos, the list goes on. For Coimbatore boy Jayesh, a second year M.Tech. Structural Engineering student of Karunya University, collection is a passion. And, he does full justice to it in the spare time he gets besides being a full-time post-graduate student.
Nine years since he started collecting, he has exhausted all countries with respect to stamps. Now he shares them with budding philatelists. But what he considers as his notable achievement so far is the collection of currencies. He has over 2,000 currencies of 195 countries. His target is to cover all 250 countries in the next few years.
“Though my coin collection covers more than 195 countries, I consider my currency collection a greater achievement, because collecting those is difficult compared to the coins. My collection does not only include the regular currencies, but also rare varieties,” he says.
And, it is not an understatement when he says he has the rarest of rare currencies. A Zimbabwean currency with the highest digit, though not the highest value – hundred trillion dollars, a 23-carat pure gold currency of Balize, a country in Central America, world's first largest size currency in 1910 – a 500 ruble of Russia, and many more exotic ones like a guitar-shaped coin, are among his collection.
His Indian collection is of no less importance. Currency and coin collection based on personalities, kingdoms, rulers, the British era, besides others, are also there. The Gandhi collection is one that finds a place of pride.
“Friends and fellow students who visit countries always bring back something for my collection. And, most of the time, when the denomination of the currency is less, they do not take any money for it,” he says.
However, his father who is in the fertilizer business, has supported his hobby by bearing the expenses of the gold currencies and stamps. Without having to put too much pressure on his father, Jayesh is into a part-time business that now supports his hobby. He regularly exhibits his collection in the university, and has also bagged prizes at the South-Indian and national levels. Once he completes his studies, he plans to travel to a few countries to acquire their exclusive currencies. After meeting his target of 250 countries, Jayesh wants to share his knowledge and spare stamps, coins and currencies with beginners and school students.