My First Kiloware

Last month I wrote about Kiloware. Well, the bug bit me and I went ahead and bought kiloware of 1 KG Australian Stamps from eBay. I was quite excited at the prospect of getting so many stamps together and waiting eagerly for my parcel.

When I got my parcel, I couldn’t wait to open it up. The stamps were peaking at my from inside the transparent polythene bag, screaming to be set free.

I opened the bag and immediately spread them all out. Thankfully I used a newspaper to spread them out as I realized later that the stamps had quite a bit of dust and dirt.
After the initial euphoria, I sat staring at pile of stamps wondering how to sort them out. There were many beautiful stamps but I was quite flummoxed at the number of stamps to be sorted, not to mention removing the paper from the stamps.

Not knowing enough about Australian stamps was only compounding the task at hand. And so I have begun first sorting them out. I have started sorting them by their denomination as I believe that will be a good indication of their issue time. I am also sorting the definitive stamps separately, whichever ones I can guess are definitives. The large number of duplicates was a good way to identify definitives.

My euphoria of receiving a large pile of stamps is gone and I am not staring at huge task of sorting out the stamps.

If you are going to buy kiloware, first I would recommend buying a country that you are familiar with. I bought Australia because that was one of the very few countries kiloware on sale. And perhaps it is better to buy smaller lots instead of buying KGs. Also be prepared for getting a LOT of duplicates. That’s what I have, a lot of duplicate Australian stamps. Wanna swap? Drop me a line.

Treasure Hunt 2 – Shimla

My work requires me to travel across India. Having restarted my hobby of stamp collection, I now use the time on my hand for treasure hunting. I am not exactly sure what treasure I am expecting to find but I guess it is to find some scrap/junk dealer or an old antique shop where I can pick up old stamps and postal stationery at a bargain.

My very first treasure hunt took me to streets of old Hyderabad. This time around, it was Shimla. We traversed the roads of Shimla searching for antique shops. We found one somewhere in Lakkad Bazar, selling brass artefacts. He suggested we look for a shop called Maria Brothers on Mall Road. He told us that the shop doesn’t open regularly and if we are lucky we might find the shop open. And so we began walking searching for Maria Brothers. We did find the shop but unfortunately it was closed.

Not completely disheartened as this time I had asked our local colleague to find out possibles places for us to check out. He took us further down to Lower Mall Road saying there is a place where dealers set up their temporary stalls. So we marched down searching for the place. Finally we reached the stairs opposite Nandan Shawls only to find it empty. We waited there for some time, sipping tea as we sat on the stairs.

We ran out of time as we had a train to catch.. On our way back we found that Maria Brothers shop was open now. Excited we entered the shop. There was a gentleman inside, who I assume was Maria. “Do you have old stamps or postal stationery?” we asked, only to hear a single word response “No”. The gentleman continued to sit at the back of the shop not interested in making conversation. The shop had old magazines, books, paintings, and maps. I asked for prices of a few items and soon knew this wasn’t a bargain shop. The gentleman in his soft voice told me prices that might get quoted by a museum or an upmarket art gallery. We quietly beat a hasty retreat after requesting to take a few pictures as memories of our trip there.

And so yet another unsuccessful treasure hunt came to an end. Until next time, in a different city….

Treasure Hunt

What do you do when your business meeting finishes early and flight is late in the city of Hyderabad, and you discover that your colleague also has a keen interest in philately and numismatics? Well, you go on a treasure hunt. My colleague and I had some time to kill while in Hyderabad and we decided that we should try to find some treasures in the old city of Hyderabad. We got into a cab and headed to Chaar Minar in the old city of Hyderabad.

We approached a shop to ask him if we could find some stamp dealer in the market. “Stamps?, Oh like philately stamps?” he said. Our eyes lit up. Yes, those. “You can get them on eBay now” he said looking at us strangely. We were amused but not disheartened. “You could try Chatta Bazar” he said pointing us vaguely in direction down the lane. So with laptop bags in tow we walked in our Oxford shoes, looking out of place in the crowded streets towards Chatta Bazar with the mission to find some dealers who might still be selling stamps and coins.

After a good 20 minute walk in the hot afternoon, we found a lane marked Chatta Bazar. We turned into it hopefully, but no such luck. The bazaar had lots of marriage card printing shops and a notary shop selling current revenue stamp papers. Finally we found an old ‘kabbadi‘ shop (junk/scrap dealer). It was the dustiest shop around with old clocks and other artefacts. We asked him about stamps. “What kinds do you want?” Wow, we thought, we have finally found our treasure. Any kinds that you have, we said eagerly. “Come next week and I will arrange for you” the young guy at the counter said. Next week? No no, we are here only the next hour or so. “Well you are about 10 years too late trying to find something like this. All traders have moved on to other things” he said. 10 years too late for our treasure hunt. Humpphhhh…… “Ok, give me your number and I will whatsapp you what I can arrange” he said. Talk about technology being used well, I thought as I gave him my number. So now we wait to see if we hit a treasure or not.