“Collection of stamps dispels boredom, enlarges our vision, broadens our knowledge, makes us better citizens, and in innumerable ways enriches our lives,” said President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

For those interested, the philately expo, is back in the city after eight long years. “We have got stamps from individual philatelists and two clubs of the district. The stamps have been organised in 42 themes,” said Ramamoorthy, senior Superintendent of Posts, Virudhunagar.

“Stamp collection is not only a hobby for the royals, but also for the students,” said, K. Ramachandiran. Every small stamp contains a big history in it, he said.

According to an avid philatelist, G. Sakthivadivel, this hobby is an ambassador of culture that connected people of one part of the globe with another with rich and rare information. “We get to know about penguin of Antarctica and people elsewhere get information about the beauty of our national bird, peacock, through postage stamps,” he said.

The expo has stamps on Mahatma Gandhi released not only by the Indian Government, but also those released by other countries. Postage stamps, inland letters, aerogram and postal cards on Gandhi and also with several leaders have been displayed.

Asia's first stamp

The first ever postage stamp in Asia, released in 1852, by the Scinde District Dawk, is on display. “This is one of the rarest stamps in the world,” said D. Ranjith Kumar.

A city resident, who is a software engineer, has displayed many rare collections under the title, British India Classics. “I have flown down from Singapore only to display my collections in my hometown,” he said.

Among them is a collection of the first double-colour stamps released in 1854. Another first in his collection is the first Air Mail Service cover released in the world. “This cover of two Annas was introduced between India and United Kingdom in 1929,” he said.

Nine postage stamps, designed under the direct supervision of Subash Chandra Bose for his Azad Hind were also on display. “The stamps were designed in Berlin during the world war. However, they could not be used in circulation,” he said.

Among the themes are Singing and Perching birds, Butterflies of the world, Parliament Buildings of the world and Women of the World.

Talking Stamp

Two talking stamps, released by Bhutan, that are in display would attract the attention of all. “These are symbolic stamps printed on compact discs,” explained Mr. Ramamoorthy. One of them is on “In Harmony with Nature,” and “100 years of Monarchy”.

S. Shanmugakumarasamy, an ex-serviceman, has put up many first day cancellations and covers released by the Army Post Offices.

Stunning would be the collection of post cards of S.K.S. Palanichamy, who has put on the frames post cards, aerogram and foreign postage covers of different decades.

The most striking feature is all the post cards on display were addressed to him by his friends and relatives. The first post card dates back 1944. He had received it as a school boy from his friend, says this retired employee of a general insurance company.

The face value of the cards was in the range of half anna to 50 paise.