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Perak Tourism Malaysia Bhd chairman Mohamad Kamil Shafie stamping an envelope to launch the stamp fair, together with Vera Radnell (right), Bernard Loh (second from right) and stamp collectors.
Unusual stamps (from left): World’s Rarest and Most Valuable stamp, Year of Monkey, The Penny Black and The Perak First Stamp.
Visitors viewing stamps at the exhibition.
The Penny Black First Postage Stamp of Queen Victoria dated back to 1840.
The Year of the Monkey stamp can fetch RM1,581. Pix by Diana Yeoh

IPOH: AFTER a 10-year absence, the Perak Stamp Fair & Exhibition has made a comeback, thanks to the Ipoh Stamp Collectors Group (ISCG).

The three-day event, held at the Urban Transformation Centre here recently, provided a platform for enthusiasts to view a range of unique stamps and to meet other collectors.

The exhibition was supported by Ipoh World and Perak Heritage Society and sponsored by the Perak Tourism and Culture Ministry.

Some of the rare exhibits included The Perak First Stamp (1878) overprinted with the crescent and star, The Penny Black First Postage Stamp of Queen Victoria (1840), Year of Monkey (1980) and World’s Rarest and Most Valuable Stamp.

The Year of Monkey stamp was one of the most expensive recorded, fetching up to RM1,581, and there were five million stamps issued with a face value of 8 cents.

Apart from foreign stamps, there were also Malaysian stamps showcasing endangered birds, flowers, orangutan, kampung scenery and pre- and post-Malaya times.

Event organising chairman Bernard Loh said the exhibition saw 60 stamps from Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States, and attracted more than 2,000 visitors.

“The event is aimed at creating awareness on stamp collecting and instilling an interest among the younger generation.

“The emergence of Facebook and other forms of social media have affected communication via letters.

“Thus, stamps have become a thing of the past, but they (stamps) still carry monetary value,” he said.

ISCG conductor Vera Radnell said stamps made a great teaching tool for schoolchildren to learn about history, geography, landmarks and famous personalities in the world.

“We have a group of secondary students from SMJK Sam Tet, who are active philatelists, and they are currently working on their own thematic exhibition about Perak State for the next stamp fair.”

Meanwhile, Perak Tourism Malaysia Bhd chairman Mohamad Kamil Shafie said stamps could help promote Malaysia and strengthen goodwill among people internationally.

“The state government, through Perak Tourism Malaysia Bhd, is working closely with ISCG to promote both the heritage and eco-tourism of Perak state through more stamp exhibitions in Ipoh.

“We hope to establish Ipoh City as a philatelic centre holding annual stamp fairs and exhibitions,” he added.

An avid stamp collector, R. Govin, 64, said he used to travel to other states mainly Kuala Lumpur just for the sake of stamp exhibitions.

“I am happy ISCG had initiated a stamp fair in Ipoh, and I hope it be will be made an annual affair.

“I also encourage young children to take up stamp collecting as a hobby, instead of idling away at home or mixing with the wrong company,” said the businessman.

Another collector, Datuk Anuar Bashah, said stamps were a living history and that every stamp had a tale to tell.

“I found many old stamps, depicting pre- and post-Malaya times displayed here.

“It is always good to know more about our history.”

Student G. Rajendran, 16, from St Michael’s Institution admitted that stamp collecting has widened not only his knowledge on history and geography, but also his circle of friends.

“The exhibition is an eye-opener to me and there are stamps that I have never seen before which are on exhibition here.”

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