Shaikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Bin Sultan Al Qasimi officially opened the Sharjah Arabian Stamp Exhibition recently. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Sharjah: The global postal system has truly transformed since its humble beginnings. In days gone by, runners, pigeons and even bullock carts were used to send messages from one place to another. It was the age of ‘snail mail' when one would have to wait, sometimes for months at a time, to receive a letter. Of course things are very different now.

Today, with everyone using the internet and email, not many people go to a post office or bother to write a letter by hand. And with these changes the need for stamps has become less and less.

For those who collect them however, stamps are still in demand.

This was highlighted during the Sharjah Arabian Stamp Exhibition, organised by the Emirates Philatelic Association and supported by du.

The exhibition held last week at Sharjah's Mega Mall gave a glimpse of the development of the postal system in the Gulf region and appealed not only to those interested in collecting stamps but to those who enjoys history too.

"The exhibition aimed to encourage local people to embrace their history and Islamic culture, in which we believe stamps play a major role. The event was about education," said Abdullah Khoory, President of the Emirates Philatelic Association.

Collector's item

Stamp collecting dates back to the first issue of the Penny Black, which was the first stamp to be introduced in Britain in 1840 and is now a collector's item. Although in recent years it's popularity has waned, recently interest in stamp collecting has started again.

Khoury said stamp collection should be encouraged as a hobby among children so as to make learning history a fun experience.

Often described as "the visiting cards of nations" stamps reflect the history of their countries.

Khoury said another positive effect of stamp collection is the fact that it encourages children to write letters.

Most pieces displayed at the exhibition were sourced from Gulf States and had been divided into specific eras based on the region's history. Envelopes and letters with stamps of British India, which have been used in Dubai, Aden, Muscat, Iraq and Iran were on display too.

Are you a stamp collector? Or do you like to see such collections? Which is the most impressive collection you have come across?