Meet Philatelist Narahari Govind Vengurlekar
A passion for collecting those little colourful bits of paper - Stamps
Philately – collecting those little bits of paper called postal stamps is a passionate hobby for many around the world.
Narhari Govind Vengurlekar of our neighbourhood is one such philatelist and coin collector. He displayed a part of his impressive collection of stamps, coins and currency notes at the Ambedkar Vocational Centre in the fortnight gone by.
The stamps on display were from various countries that included India, Russia, Japan, Poland, U.S.A., Britain and even less known countries like Malawi. His collection has stamps from over 160 countries and coins of various countries of different vintage.
His journey as a philatelist began in 1956, at the young age of 14 when he was in school at Pune. He had friends collecting stamps and he too got interested. There was a bookshop in town selling stamps from where he bought his first stamps and so his collection began.
In 1963 he came to Goa and got a job in the Dock Labour Board as a crane operator. He added to his collection is various ways. He would take a packet of stamps on board the foreign ships where he was required to operate the cranes and would exchange them with the crew of the ships, some of whom were also stamp collectors. In the 1980s there was a Russian book shop stall that also sold Russian stamps. He procured several of his Russian stamps from this shop. In 1982 he purchased the entire collection of stamps from a collector in Margao for a then princely sum Rs. 5000/-.
Narhari recalls that 45 years ago he procured a packet of 200 Portuguese-Goa stamps from a shop in Vasco. Indian stamps of collector’s value were sold at a premium even from the official postal counters he says.
His coin collection began later about 40 years ago. Coins too were procured from various sources and by exchange with other collectors. He recalls an incident in 1983 when he went to Mapusa to buy just 3 notes – a quarter rupee, half rupee and one rupee note. The dealer wanted Rs.250/- for the three notes. Narhari did not have the money then and could not buy them. “Those notes would now have considerable value” he says.
His coin collection includes a 1 paise coin from the East India Company, a 1 Rupee note of 1947, and a Satavahana Empire 2 A.D. coin. He also has the entire series of 1 to 10 rupee notes from 1957 till to-date. Coins and notes of several foreign countries are also part of his collection.
Narhari had his first exhibition of his collection in 1981 at Valpoi, Thereafter in 1988 he exhibited his collection at Sawantwadi. Since then he has displayed his collections in over 30 exhibitions in Sindhudurg and Goa.
Narhari Vengurlekar’s modest income did not deter him from pursuing his passion in philately and coin collection. He somehow made ends meet as well as made allowance for adding to his collection. Today his collection commands considerable value.
Stamps speak of the history, geography, flora and fauna of their respective country. They also give one an insight into its political history and important personalities.
Now 74 years old, Narhari’s passion for his hobby has not abated. His aim is to motivate children to get into this hobby of philately and coin collection for they are not just pieces of colourful paper and metal.
In many senses, they are a window to the world.