Stamp collecting: Handle with care and you’ve got it licked

The Life: Abdulla Khoory, president of Emirates Philatelic Association, says collecting ancient stamps requires care and financial investment.

Khoory, left, and Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, at the 28th Asian International Stamp Exhibition. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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Abdulla MT Khoory is the director of Mohammed Tayyeb Khoory & Sons, a waste-management company in Dubai. But he has also continued a passion passed on by his father: philately.

At 50, he is the president of the Emirates Philatelic Association, which organised a philately competition and exhibition of postal covers last week in Sharjah.

Here, Mr Khoory talks about his hobby.

How did you start in philately?

I started collecting when I was seven years old. I collect covers that show our postal history. I collect from all over the world - the United Kingdom, India and [the Arabian] Gulf, and mostly from 1910. My gold collection is of Dubai postal history from 1909 to 1948. My father passed on his collection of stamps to me. He was a collector, but now he is busy with other things. In our time, when we were young, there was not much else to do.

You are a co-founder and the president of Emirates Philatelic Association for eight years now. What are you doing to increase interest among youth?

My job is to push the hobby among the youth, but unfortunately they have different things to do. There are not many young people in the association. The 28th FIAP International Stamp Exhibition in Sharjah is the main tool to attract youth. This is the second time this event - where 24 countries participated - was held in the UAE. The first time it was held was in 2006 in Dubai. We did a lot of activity for children, we had a special corner for children at the six-day event where they can design their own postage stamps.

Do you have tie-ups with Emirates Post (Empost)?

We try to work with them, but they are not giving enough support.

Can stamps be considered an alternative form of investment?

If you want to invest, go to the stock market. It is a hobby. Yes, the price will appreciate and you can sell it. But if you collect it for investment only, you will be disappointed.

How do you preserve your stamps?

Preserving a stamp is very difficult. One needs to be careful, especially with ancient stamps. One should keep them in dry and cold places and avoid humidity, moisture and direct sunlight. If an expensive old stamp is destroyed because it was not maintained properly, it is like spoiling a piece of art by your own hands.

How do you expand your collection?

By various methods, such as buying from the post office, from auction houses or dealers worldwide, and over the internet. Sometimes we exchange, but rarely.

How expensive is this hobby?

It is an expensive hobby. For beginners it is cheap, for instance, you can get Oman stamps for Dh10, but for professionals it is expensive depending on how old the stamps are that they want.