Inspired by Mother Teresa, a Vellore-based philatelist started to collect stamps issued in honour of her in 1997. Today, C. Tamilvanan has to his credit a collection of 400 stamps and first day covers issued by 100 countries in honour of Mother Teresa.With Mother Teresa declared a saint, the philatelist is now planning to pay his tributes by showcasing his collection in the Fort City. His exhibition of the stamps will be held on September 6 and 7 at the Town Hall.Mr. Tamilvanan, a resident of Gandhi Nagar, started stamp collection when he was in class VI.
“That was nearly 30 years ago. Today, I have a collection of above 80,000 stamps. I wanted to do a thematic collection, and in 1997, following the death of Mother Teresa, I thought that I can collect stamps issued by various countries in honour of her. I have always been fascinated by her humanitarian service,” he said.He does not only have 400 stamps and first day covers but also relics.“I have a piece of her cloth too,” he said. The philatelist has also collected her signature, and letters written by her.
Many countries have released stamps to mark the beatification of Mother Teresa and her birth centenary. “The Indian government released a commemorative stamp after her death in 1997. The Reserve Bank of India came out with Rs.5 coin on the occasion of her birth centenary in 2010. Many African countries have released stamps in honour of Mother Teresa,” he added.
Among his collection sits a stamp that was obtained after much difficulty.“This is the stamp released by Palestine. The stamp carries the images of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat with Mother Teresa. I spent 200 dollars to get the stamp after a lot of difficulty,” he said.Another collection close to his heart is a first day cover released by the United States.“It carries a rare photograph of Mother Teresa when she was part of the Loreto congregation,” the 43-year-old philatelist said.
Apart from stamps released by the Vatican, his collection includes stamps issued in honour of Mother Teresa by countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Bhutan, Senegal, Albania, Carribean Islands, Nicaragua and Mozambique.“The Department of Posts has provided me with frames to showcase the stamps during the exhibition,” he said.(Source-The Hindu)