The collector’s joy, told through one stamp at a time

City-based philatelist combines her passion for stamps and themes to create a remarkable collection

May 25, 2017 01:46 pm | Updated 01:47 pm IST - Bengaluru

Sridevi N. showcases some stamps from her collection

Sridevi N. showcases some stamps from her collection

At age 60, Sridevi N. is a busy woman. From the General Post Office to auction houses in the city, she is always on the move looking for something special to add to her large collection of stamps and coins.

“Sorry my house is a mess,” she apologised when The Hindu visited her recently. In every corner of the house were couriers from the Postal Department with content for her albums. These albums with priceless stamps, coins and notes are safely kept in a cupboard built just for them. Ms. Sridevi also has a large number of books and encyclopedias she uses for research.

An award-winning philatelist and numismatist, Ms. Sridevi was bitten by the bug very young. “My mother would tell me and my brother to hold on to all collectibles. I started by collecting stamps released post-Independence, and then went on to add coins. Whichever country we travelled to, the souvenirs I would bring back were stamps and coins,” she said.

Stamp of approval

But her thematic collections are what got her two awards at State and national-level exhibitions. She has coins and stamps on animals, birds, astrological signs, fruits and flowers. Among her rare collections are stamps with musical instruments, which have been appreciated by big names in the music industry. She has received testimonials from Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Neyveli Santhanagopalan, violinist T.T. Srinivasan, and vocalist Sudha Raghunathan, who have called her collection “unique and unmatched”.

Ancient instruments such as chifournie and harps, both the European sort and contemporary ones, are part of her collection of over 850 stamps. She recently exhibited her collection at Seshadripuram College as part of the Ramanavami celebrations.

“It took me five years to complete the collection. A lot of research went into it. And the collection would not have been possible without the guidance of senior philatelists,” said Ms. Sridevi. “I am working on a Ramayana-themed stamp collection now. It should be ready for exhibition in a month.”

Ms. Sridevi, who is a member of State-level philately and numismatic clubs — South India Philately Association and Philately Congress of India — wants more people to get into philately. “It is a costly hobby, but it is worth it. One gains not just the priceless collectibles, but also immense knowledge about different countries, their history and geography,” she said.

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