KOCHI: Coins are his deal. Athul Aravind, a taxi driver living in Varkala, began collecting coins and stamps from the age of 14. His collection also includes watches, timepieces, transistor radios, cassette players and cameras.
“These are hidden gems. Collection of stamps and coins are a craze for me. I also have newspaper cuttings from the early 20th century,” says Athul. The filed newspaper cuttings include the assassination of Indira Gandhi, MGR’s death and events based on the Kargil and Afghan war. “These newspaper cuttings might help historians in doing their research. They are all still readable after all these years,” he shares. Athul developed an interest in collecting coins and stamps when a British couple he met in Varkala gave him a few pennies to keep. “Those coins are still with me. From there I begun collecting coins and stamps. These are all priceless. I’m also interested in antique pieces,” says Athul.
He owns 40 books full of stamps, coins and currencies. Athul informed that he runs out of cash most of the times. “Most coins were obtained from rummaging in scrap stores. Sometimes, I collect coins in loose bags to save money,” says Athul.
The major attractions of his collection include 30 timepieces in which 16 continue to work. And a branded watch sectin where high-end brands like Big Bang, Favre Leuba, West Germany are showcased. “ The commemorative postage stamp of Sree Narayana Guru issued by India and Sri Lanka, an 85-year-old Westend watch, and the Anchal stamp of Travancore are my favourites among the collection,” quips Athul.
Even though he has a room full of rare coins and stamps, Athul is not ready to sell it at any cost. When questioned about the lack of space in the room where his collections are crammed, he says, “There is literally no space in the room anymore.” Athul dreams of opening a library in Varkala to exhibit his entire collection