What is philately? Is it a hobby, a business or art? What is the true meaning and mission of e world of stamps? These and other questions were answered by the company Director Hovik Musayelyan, during an interesting interview for Life Beyond Work section of “In-Touch” Synopsys Armenia internal newsletter.
1. Why did you choose philately as a hobby?
First, I was collecting coins. The club I used to attend was focused on philately and numismatics. So, my acquaintance with philately happened there. Honestly, I never thought I would switch to collecting stamps one day, but soon I found myself collecting stamps without any order, chronology or other classification. Later I realized that I should choose a topic or topics to focus.
2. How many people are involved in philately in Armenia?
Around 300 people are enrolled in the association; from 50 to 60 of them are active members. But it’s not the number of people that matters. The weight of philately is measured by the number and level of global exhibitions. In Armenia, our association hosts at least two expos a year, one of which is international. These expos are also attended by statesmen, who participate in the ceremony of stamps’ cancellation.
3. What are philately’s attractions?
Stamps are one of the four symbols of a country alongside the State Emblem, flag, and currency. What makes stamps stand out is that you can always gift those. It is considered good tone and it’s no coincidence that many officials choose national stamps as the most proper gift. Did you know that Queen of the UK Elizabeth II, or former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy are philatelists? And this list is quite long. Stamps tell about a state’s culture, science, and even the level of development. In Armenia, from 30 to 35 stamps are published annually. The themes are decided by a special state committee I am a member of. Through familiarizing with fresh stamps, people can stay aware of the country’s key events.
4. What collections do you collect and why?
I have many compilations on various themes but the key one is Armenia – old, Soviet and new. Of course, I have numerous other collections – the USA jubilee envelopes, which are very beautiful, Napoleon Buonaparte, football and chess, World Wars, art, etc. Christianity interests me greatly, too. I have been always interested in the history of religion, and stamps reveal a lot in this filed. have been to Vatican many times, and had a chance to purchase stamps on the two popes’ visit to Armenia, as well as the mess by Pope dedicated to the Armenian Genocide.
5. How has globalization affected philately?
Stamps were originally used in postal services. Today, in the world of globalization and digitalization, the initial mission of stamps has been lost, however, the essence of collections is yet more significant now. Although I am not involved in philately as a commerce, I know that internationally it is considered one of the most beneficial businesses.
6. How to do you envision philately’s future in Armenia and worldwide?
It’s hard to make prognoses. Unless the field is well promoted in youth, the philately’s future overall will not be that promising. Interestingly, the more developed a country, the more developed its philately. For example, in China, almost 2 million people collect stamps and envelopes. Now, the majority of buyers of Armenian stamps are Chinese tourists.
Overall, I think that this field is underestimated, but those who make their mind to dig deeper get a wonderful chance to discover amazing things.