Glimpses across continents, centuries

YOUNG AT HEART: An elderly philatelic enthusiast looking at a stamps at the FAPCCI -HITEX-2005 exhibition in the city on Saturday. — Photo: Mohd. Yousuf  

Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD: Stamp collection for those who participated in the Philatelic Exhibition was not a hobby, but an obsession. How else could you explain the lavish array of thematic stamps, miniature sheets, coin and stamp albums, historic stamps and age-old fiscal and foreign stamps?

The Philatelic Exhibition is being organised for three days from Saturday to Monday by the Federation of AP Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FAPCCI) in association with the Hyderabad Philatelic and Hobbies Society and the Department of Posts, AP Circle. Special Chief Secretary and Chief Commissioner of Land Administration A.Raghottam Rao inaugurated the exhibition. Principal Chief Post

Master-General, T.S. Govindarajan released a special cover.

`Educative hobby'

"Stamp collection is a worthwhile and educative hobby. Students will invariably learn the names of new countries, their geographical location, their emblems, their currencies and so on," says Secretary of Hyderabad Philatelic and Hobbies Society S. P. Agarwal.

Apart from a few exhibits, individual stamp and coin collections here are part of entries in the competition held by the Society. Here the categories are sub-juniors (below 15 years), juniors (15 to 18 years) and seniors (18 years and above).

There were coins from the Indo-Greek, the Maurya and Gupta periods, the Kushan era, Udaipur, Portuguese coins illustrating Portuguese trade in India, coins from British India etc. While all these coins are priceless because of their antiquity, some coins are rare because of the circumstances in which they were made and circulated, says a stamp collector, A.V. Jeyachandran. For instance, he said, "Though there were British coins issued all over India after they established political rule, local coins issued by the French in Pondicherry were in circulation," he said.

Coins from the Vijayanagar period bear the label of the smallest ones in the world. They are called `bela' or half-grain in Kannada. Gandhi figures not only on Indian stamps, but also those of Cuba, Mozambique, Congo and England, while Nehru can be seen on stamps of Mongolia, Vietnam and Bhutan. Sonali who is seven years old has a thematic collection of stamps of jungle animals, the wild cat family, mythological animals (Burmese lion and the Chinese dragon), coins from Central Asia, Chinese Zodiac animals etc.

And then there were those stamps which were withdrawn either because they were not perforated, or because of the faulty ink used, rupee notes that were withdrawn because they were cut, because they were not printed on both sides etc.