Little witnesses of great events

Gomel’s Rumyantsev-Paskevich Palace and Park Estate hosts Belphila-2011 philatelist exhibition

By Andrey Novitsky

Such was the value of the 68 stamp collections on display at the show that no one could really estimate their monetary worth. Of course, enthusiasts are always a little less than truly objective…

One series of fifteen Lithuanian stamps from the early 20th century was not in the best condition, yet was believed to be worth $16,000. A neighbouring stand contained an ancient, rather plain envelope bearing a British postmark dating back 350 years: the first postmark in history, making the envelope unique. On closer inspection, these postcards and envelopes bearing postmarks and stamps become more fascinating — even to those without a passion for philately.

Remarkably, the Belphila fair has never before displayed the collections of local enthusiasts on such a large scale. Prominent local collectors took their place beside those from Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Azerbaijan and Germany.

One of the highlights of the show was presented at the opening: an envelope bearing an original stamp celebrating Gomel’s status as Belarus’ capital of culture was franked. Belpochta (the Belarusian post office) has also prepared an envelope dedicated to the exhibition. During the days of the fair, all outgoing mail will be marked with a special ‘thematic’ stamp.

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