Do Thanh Kim has been captivated by stamps since he was a high school student. When he saw the small stamps on the letters sent to him from his friends, he got the idea of collecting and preserving them. Kim is now famous in stamp-collecting circles for his valuable collections of different themes, such as wild animals, 12 animal designations, culturally traditional stamps and stamps with famous portraits. He has more of the New Year’s stamps than any other collectors, not only in Vietnam but in the world.
Explaining the reason why this type of stamp is called the New Year’s, he said it was because they are published by countries in the days close to the New Year or one or two months before the lunar New Year. He added that the first lunar New Year’s stamp was the Japanese tiger stamp, to mark the Year of the Tiger in 1950. From that time on, Japan published such stamps every year. Vietnam published its first special stamp collection in 1966, but did not issue another animal stamp until 1993. Since then, the animal stamps have been released and distributed consistently. At present, there are more than 100 countries around the world publishing the New Year’s stamps.
Do Thanh Kim introduces a young stamps collector to his stamps collection. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP Stamps are preserved carefully by Kim. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
Stamp collecting is now a popular hobby for many people. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
Kim currently owns most of the New Year’s stamp sets of countries, including 80 sets in 2014, 70 sets in 2013 and 72 sets in 2012. The images on the stamps are also different, depending on each country in different regions in the world. Asian countries like China, Japan, Vietnam, RoK and Singapore often publish stamps of the animal of the year among the 12 animal designations or traditional images of each country while other countries in Europe, the US and Australia publish stamps with the images of the zodiac which are stylized to be eye-catching.
In order to gather all the stamps, Kim spent years building a network of friends around the world. Some used to live in Vietnam, but have since moved overseas. Some acquaintances he made through stamp clubs. He is now a member of ten stamp clubs, both in Vietnam and overseas. Besides travelling to many countries to buy stamps, he also asks his friends who live in large countries to send stamps to him. At the end of every year Kim often receives letters with the New Year’s stamps from his friends from all over the world.
“Stamp collecting is not only a hobby but also helps me make friends and connections. By exchanging stamps with these people, I learn a lot about their countries’ culture and customs,” he said.
At present, Kim works as a consultant for the Viet Stamp Club. Every year, he organises a private exhibition of stamps from his collections and the latest one is about stamps of the Horse in 2014 at Southeastern Vietnam’s Armed Forces Museum. Mentioning the New Year’s stamp collection of 2015, he said that he now possess stamps from Vietnam and Japan and about 10 sets of stamps from other countries are sent to him from his friends.
The 2015 New Year’s stamp collection with goat designations published in Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP 2015 New Year’s stamps from Japan in Kim’s collection. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
2009 New Year’s stamps with buffalo designations from Indonesia in Kim’s collection.
Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
2014 New Year’s stamps from central European Liechtenstein in Kim’s collection.
Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
Mẫu tem tất niên năm 2014 của Malaysia trong bộ sưu tập tem tất niên của ông Kim. 2014 New Year’s stamps from Malaysia in Kim’s collection. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
2002 New Year’s stamps from Malaysia in Kim’s collection. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
2001 New Year’s stamps from Malaysia in Kim’s collection. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
2012 New Year’s stamps from China in Kim’s collection. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
A Vietnamese 2012 New Year’s stamp with dragon designation in Kim’s collection. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
A 1998 New Year’s stamp from Kyrgyzstan with tiger designation in Kim’s collection. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
Despite his old age, Kim has been passionate about stamps and carefully preserved them as treasures. He also writes to his friends in foreign countries to exchange information or visits the stamp market in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City every Saturday morning to buy stamps and talk with those who share the same hobby.
Story: Son Nghia – Photos: Nguyen Luan
Đăng ký: VietNam News