A Dubai-based Indian expat has a vintage collection of more than 100,000 stamps from around the world for which he spent nearly $27,225, a media report said.
The 65-year-old P.C. Ramachandran is now one of the senior collectors of the Emirates Philatelic Association and has been recognised for the outstanding efforts taken in collection and preservation of the vintage and antique stamps, the Khaleej Times report said on Friday.
His fascination with stamps began while he was in school as most of his relatives were based outside India and would often send his family letters.
“Every letter had colourful stamps on it and that’s how my fascination with stamps started. I began collecting stamps from letters and from wherever I could. But when I came to Dubai in 1973, I began collecting in a professional way and started dedicating my weekends making meticulous books and catalogues of my stamps,” he said.
“For many people a stamp is just a stamp, but for me there is much more to it. This is a great and quick way to learn history of any country and culture as the country’s complete culture and history is displayed on these stamps.”
Paying tribute to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ramachandran has a complete collection of stamps not only after the formation of the country but also those in mint condition that were used in the Trucial States and even when the UAE was divided into princely states.
“I have complete collection if stamps from the time the UAE started issuing stamps, which was in 1973. Earlier, the issuance quantities were around 500,000 but now, it has come down to 40,000 or so because no one uses them anymore.”
He also has a huge collection of all Indian stamps that were issued after 1947.
Apart from stamps, Ramachandran has a collection of currencies of 193 UN-approved countries, many of which have ceased to exist.
“Some of these currencies are of dead countries such as East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), Burma (Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). I keep memories alive through these collectibles… It fascinates me.”
Ramachandran has dedicated a section of his residence to vintage collection and also possesses a collection of thousands of telephone cards and telephone directories issued in the UAE.