YOUNG WORLD

Passion for philately

P. SUJATHA VARMA

A TREASURE TROVE: Stamps on display PHOTO: CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR

A TREASURE TROVE: Stamps on display PHOTO: CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR  

It's a treasure hunt for children that usually begins as a hobby but transforms into a passion. Postage stamps introduce us to the glorious heritage, habitat, history, art, culture, literature and events of national and international significance. Indian philately has traversed a long way since the issue of the first postage stamp in 1952. Philately has given worldwide coverage to momentous happenings. Often called "king of hobbies and hobby of kings," it is an obsession that cuts across age groups and is one of the oldest fads, which is still popular.

Collecting stamps from the mail you receive, exchanging them with friends and neighbours, buying them from stamp dealers and "standing order" with philatelic bureau are the most common sources of securing new and rare stamps. If you are perplexed as to what is a standing order, it is a system introduced by the postal department to make sure that you don't miss out on any newly released stamp.

As per convention, philatelic stamps are never reprinted. Stamps are released on various dates to mark special occasions according to the annual stamp issue programme. It may not be possible for many of you to keep track of the new releases. Some of the popular issues may be sold out before you could lay your hands on them. The "standing order" system paves the way for a hassle-free collection of stamps.

The head post office of Vijayawada near Kaleswararao Market has a philatelic bureau that deals with the receipt and sale of all philatelic items like special/commemorative stamps, first day covers, special covers, new issue on definitive stamps and new stationery.

"The objective is to disseminate knowledge and to create interest among children to take up the interesting pastime.

Besides being a revenue-generating source, the design, colour, size and cut of a postage stamp is a very complex exercise," explains B.V. Sudhakur, Post Master General, Vijayawada region.

Buoyed by the tumultuous response to the last philately exhibition conducted in the city in 1993, he says the department is determined to organise many such exciting events in the days to come.

The expo is a big hit with school children who throng the venue to display their vast collections. Seminars imparting tips on how to lay hands on exclusive stamps are well attended by kids and elders as well.

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