'Each collection tells a story'


For Venkatesh S Yalvigi, a retired botany professor from Bangalore University, collecting stamps, coins and currency notes is more than just a hobby — it is a way of life.

Interesting: The largest denominated note.

Over the last forty years, he has spent a lot of time, money and energy on philately and numismatics and has even collected postmark cancellation on dates like 01-01-01, 02-02-02 and so on.

Yalvigi is an avid collector of stamps and currency notes and has left no stone unturned in collecting first day covers with special cancellations. His pictorial album ‘Gandhiji in Mint and Print’, containing  notes, coins and interesting photos, is one of the works worth mentioning.

“As I was involved in the freedom movement led by the Mahatma before independence, I naturally adore Gandhi and have great respect for him. So I was inspired to dedicate a part of my collection to him. Moreover, Gandhi is the only person on whom more than 100 countries have issued as many as 350 stamps, first day covers and also special cancellation cachets. So how can a philatelist and numismatist neglect this,” he asks.

His collection has almost all the stamps, mints and currency notes on Gandhi from across the world.

Yalvigi was the first Indian to participate in the ‘World Fair of Money 2000’ held at Philadelphia and organised by the American Numismatic Association, of which he is a member.

In 2002, he took part in ‘World Fair of Money’ held at New York and got a bronze medal and a certification of merit.

Former governors of Karnataka — T N Chaturvedi and Rameshwar Thakur — have also seen his exhibitions and appreciated his collections.

He also has a vast collection of stamps and coins on all personalities who fought for India’s independence.

When he saw some post offices being closed down, he tried to get the cancellation marks of all the working ones. And eventually, he collected the stamp cancellation marks of more than 70 post offices from across the country.

The currency notes of former Yugoslavia which was the largest denomination and the currency notes of Hong Kong with the smallest denomination are also a part of his collection.

The biggest currency note in the world printed in the former USSR is also with him. His collection of coins with the pictures of animals is also very interesting.

“Each collection tells a story. For instance, the currency notes of Japan help one understand the political history of Japan. And former Yugoslavia’s largest denomination shows the country’s hyper inflation period,” he informs.
Though he has been into this hobby for the last 40 years, he got a new idea around 12 years ago. He started getting the stamps and special covers cancelled on special dates.

Hence, from 01-01-01 to 11-11-11 and more recently 12-01-12, he has a collection of stamps and special covers cancelled on these special days. “In this millennium, we have a series of 12 dates occurring every year from 2001 to 2012. Postal cancellation stamps are accepted as an official mark of the date across the world. So if I get the cancellation on 12-12-12, I will complete the circle and it will be a record in itself,” he says.

“As far as I know, nobody else in the world is engaged in an exercise of this sort and now, no one can do it also as the dates are already over,” he adds.

He has designed several special cards on such dates. And these covers remind us of the important global events. The cover designed on the occasion of 10-10-10 has a beautiful picture of ‘XIX Commonwealth Games’ with a logo and mascot.

 “I am waiting for 12-12-12 to complete my philately circle of special dates. I will probably have an exhibition after completing this occasion. I also have to design a special cover for the date,” he says.

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