My Autobiography : My hobby – Coin collection & Stamp collection

When I was studying in 3rd and 4th standards, I used to get repetitively asked by teachers and neighbors –

‘What’s your hobby?’

‘Reading books and listening to music’

Was my standard reply. But I was having a few problems with this approach. First, teachers used to ask so many students and almost all of them told the same thing. So, when the chance came to me, they suddenly become vexed with the answer and tell, ‘Don’t tell me the same thing’!!

Even if they did accept it, they immediately ask me who my favorite author was. At that age I was reading only Tin Tin and I had no clue that any book could have an author 🙂 Of course I was well versed in Tinkle, but someone else said the same thing and got scoldings! So, comics were out and I had not started reading Famous Five’s and Secret Seven’s (yet).

Music was even worser. Some teacher asked me what my favorite genre in music was (What a question to ask a 5th standard student? Ask me now, I will still blink 😀 ). I used to reply, ‘Illayaraja?’ and the whole class would start laughing. As if they had any idea about genre’s! Knowledge about what was wrong and when everyone could laugh together was at a high level in my school!

I was not yet adept enough to imagine some different hobbies that I could say. During my sixth standard, I decided enough was enough and asked my friend to give me some ideas about new hobbies. He told me to say ‘Coin collection’ and he would say ‘Stamp collection’.

Suddenly teachers started looking at me in a different light. They said, ‘Good. Keep it up’. I was stumped. Was this such a premium hobby or what? My interest in these hobbies increased instantly!

It started with coin collection. Actually currency. (Foreign coins and currency, not Indian).

One of my friends had a big Singapore Currency (1 Dollar) with him and I got it from him (Don’t remember what I gave in exchange). Currency, it seems, was in demand among the coin collectors. Since I had one, I was accepted as a coin collector at school!

Since we were living in flats, I had quite a number of friends around there and some of them had a few coins as well. So, I started exchanging coins with anyone who would want to.

That’s what coin collectors do – Exchange coins. A typical conversation will go like this,

‘I have one Australia. What can you give me for it’

‘Australia is not so rare, I can give you two Singapore or two England’

‘No, this is a big coin’

‘Ok, one Singapore and one UAE?’

‘I still think its not a fair deal. See, I have a rare coin – CCCP (Russia). What can you give for this?’

‘Two Singapore (coins) and one Nepal Currency?’

‘Not a bad deal’

We were speaking business back then people! 🙂 One rare coin can fetch two or more easy  (to get) coins or another rare coin. So, we exchanged these coins with each other sometimes to grow the number of coins, sometimes to get a currency, sometimes to get a different coin collection, etc.

But the most important reason was to show-off (and of course, to answer teachers/ neighbors).

Wasn’t it fun? Of course, it was. A couple of guys from another class suddenly come to my class during break and ask to see me. We used to discuss for a few minutes and when I get back to my place my friends would ask, ‘What did you discuss with them?’. I would reply, ‘Oh, its about exchanging foreign coins we have’. And they used to go, ‘Wow’ 🙂

Stamp collection was not as exciting. That was because almost all the stamps were bought from a shop and we used to stick it in a stamp collection notebook. Almost everyone were doing this and there was not much scope for exchanging them (though it did happen rarely).

So, we lost interest in stamp collection soon. In fact, I even gave my whole stamp book (with a lot of stamps) to a friend in my 9th Standard for free. But I never parted with my coins. Yeah I did search for them when writing this article, but was not able to find them. But I know its somewhere in the house! Or isn’t it? Not sure! 🙂

A lesson that should have been learned back then was somehow missed – We always cherish and are proud of something that we earned/ worked hard to get. But what we buy/ get without efforts don’t have the same importance (except maybe for a few initial days). In my case, it did not/ does not have any importance at all.

Destination Infinity


  • Ashwathy

    Your post took me back to the good old days of childhood where hobbies were limited to reading writing and coin/stamp collection. Today’s kids, I’m sure, would be adding PSP playing, surfing the net, chatting with friends and a host of other things to this 🙄 Can they really be called hobbies? I don’t know…

    • Rajesh K

      Even back then, some kids said things like watching TV, watching movies, etc. But then since all of them got scoldings, we didn’t try 🙂

      Destination Infinity

  • Bikram

    bless the good old days , I was into stamp collecting and i had made sure that every relative knew about it, i had a huge collection of stamps and i ma sure they are somehwere in the house back home.

    so what do you have latest.. I got some ENGLISH 🙂

  • Sandhya

    You remember so many things about coin collection, so you must have enjoyed this hobby. I like the business talk!

    My son was into stamp collection and coin collection. He took with him the stamp book when he went abroad but the coin pouch is with me! I remember him going to one bachelor room of Sudanese for getting their coins! I didn’t like it! He had black tea over there…he never drinks coffee or tea even now…our milky coffee/tea, but he drank it to please them, I remember him telling me. We were teasing him.

    Again, I have to write…you remember so much of your childhood from 2nd, 3rd std.! Great!

    I remember collecting match boxes with tiger picture!, vaguely!

    • Rajesh K

      I have heard people say that they collect match boxes, cool drink caps, etc. I thought they were interesting, but never had the patience to collect them myself. Actually, what I remember is quite vague. But I try to reproduce a version that is as close to the actual version as possible. Your son should have been a serious collector – venturing into Sudanese room and all that!

      Destination Infinity

    • Rajesh K

      No, I guess I stopped it when many of my friends lost interest. After a point, there was no one to exchange it with! Actually I wanted to put some of the coins and take a photo in order to display it in my blog, but I was not able to find them!

      Destination Infinity

  • Vaish

    Numismatics and Philately have always been one of my favourite collection hobbies! And that has particularly been a heredity in my family. I had all the collections from my grand father’s, my father’s and mine. While as kid, I used to tell my father that I will start a museum with all those coins and stamps 🙂

    • Rajesh K

      You should be having quite a collection then! I too wanted to keep the few coins that I had, but looks like I have lost them! Maybe you can donate some to me, and I can pass it off to my kid as my collection 😉

      Destination Infinity

  • kanagu

    those are some of the good hobbies then, right???

    I started collecting stamps but found its costly.. (have to buy them).. so left it..

    Loved the conversations 🙂

    My only hobby then was playing and watching cricket 😀 😀

    • Rajesh K

      That cricket thing was not accepted as a hobby by my teachers. We tried to convince them otherwise but they said that it was a leisure and not a hobby! Otherwise, why would I have even thought about coin/stamp collection? 🙂

      Destination Infinity

    • Rajesh K

      Who knows, one day email addresses might become obsolete too. We might want to start collecting email addresses! I know, its a hopeless joke… 🙂

      Destination Infinity

  • indianhomemaker

    I also had coin and stamps collections! Some children’s magazines gave stamps each month and I even added those to the collection, but I didn’t buy any stamps, although they were available.
    I still have the coins with me, but I never had any of the fun you did, exchanging and making deals 🙂 Did you have any coins from Africa?

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