Manish Mohan, also known as the Amateur Philatelist, is a stamp collector, as well as an owner of an online webstore for collectibles and a philatelic blog with the same name. APS interviewed Manish to find out more about his philatelic background, and his plans for the future in the hobby.
Read the interview below:
Give a brief bio and background of how you began to collect stamps?
I began collecting stamps when I was about 10 years old when my uncle gifted me a stamp album. As a child I spent all my pocket money on my hobby. I sent letters to penpals from across the world and made numerous trips to the post office to buy stamps.
Who inspired you to collect stamps?
My uncle who gave me my first stamp album inspired me to start collecting stamps. He took me to my very first stamp exhibition too. I was fascinated by the large exhibits and history behind stamps.
Do you collect anything outside of Indian stamps?
I began as a worldwide collector and still succumb to the lure of stamps from across the world. I now focus on more specific areas like stamps from India, Laos, Austria, and USSR. I also love collecting specialized areas like Machins and Omnibus issues like 1935 King George V Silver Jubilee, 1937 King George V Coronation, 1945 Victory, and 1949 UPU 75th anniversary. In topical areas, I love collecting birds, ships and lighthouses on stamps. I not only collect stamps but also have a large collection of postal covers and first day covers in specialized areas.
What are your favorite stamps that you have collected?
Some of my favourite stamps were the first 4 Indian Lithograph stamps of Half Anna blue, 1 Anna red, 2 Annas green and 4 Annas octagonal stamp. Another set that I was very happy to acquire was the India 1948 Gandhi set, including the high value Rs 10 stamp. It was a set I yearned for when I started collecting. I was ecstatic when I had the actual stamps in my hands for the first time.
Examples of the first stamps of India, courtesy of colnect.com and APS refrence collection
What inspired you to create your blog?
After a hiatus of a more than 15 years when I started collecting stamps again in late 2015, I thought a blog was a natural extension for sharing my passion. I started my blog in 2016 with my pen name The Amateur Philatelist. On my blog I post my journey of stamp collecting and share anecdotes about stamps and themes. I am also active on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, with collectively more than 8000 connections across these platforms.
Are your philatelic interests related to your professional interests?
After spending many years in the corporate world, I decided to follow my passion. I now run BidCurios, an ecommerce marketplace specifically focused on collectibles. In July 2020 I launched BidCurios.com, an ecommerce marketplace for collectibles. Initially I started with only philately listings. Over time it has grown into a thriving marketplace for collectibles with over 100 active sellers and 56000 listings of philately, coins, bank notes, art, antiques and many other collectibles. My goal is to create a platform that brings sellers and buyers of collectibles together and making collectibles accessible through auctions for everybody.
What advice would you give to someone who is new to the hobby?
For someone starting out collecting stamps, I would say enjoy the hobby rather than worrying about the value of the stamps. I have seen many new collectors eager to know value of their stamps or trying to collect “valuable” stamps. The most value of stamps is not in monetary terms, but in the joy and solace one finds in collecting stamps. Over a period of time, collectors will know the value and then they can worry about monetary value. But it’s far more important to just enjoy the hobby, learn more about countries, themes, and history of each stamp.
What are your plans for the future of the blog/your involvement in philately?
Sharing more content on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook is good, but I am hoping to spend more time in writing more about the hobby on my blog. I am also looking at exploring making videos on philately that would encourage collectors.
If you are interested in sharing your stamp story, please send an email to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing your story!