Armenian wins medal for Red Cross stamp collection

Published: 12 February 2001 0:00 CET

Varujan Antonian, a 50-year-old doctor from Yerevan in Armenia, has won a bronze medal for his unique collection of stamps that spans the history of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement since 1864.

"For years I was fascinated with Red Cross stamps, but as a doctor, I was collecting them for their medical significance," says Varujan. Later, friends advised him to visit the Armenian Red Cross Society and learn more about the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and its goals. The Armenian Red Cross encouraged him to expand his collection and provided literature to supplement his research.

"Philately has its own language," says Varujan. "It is not just collecting the stamps and gluing them onto a piece of paper. You need to explain everything and have a clear chain of developments."

Stamp collecting has been his hobby for many years, and he has built up a collection that consists of 64 pages, with some unique pieces, which go as far back as 1860s. Each page shows a specific theme or part of the Movement's history.

The collection starts with Henry Dunant and the Geneva Conference of 1864. Each section is a unique introduction to one of the fundamental principles, a piece of history devoted to different National Societies or important Red Cross events. There are old Russian Red Cross stamps and envelopes as well as unique stamps devoted to American, African, British and other Red Cross or Red Crescent National Societies.

Recently, the collection was exhibited in Bangkok at the World Youth Stamp Exhibition where Varujan was awarded the bronze medal.