‘Archive’ of Mongolian envelopes


Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia Takenori Shimizu once said, “We are able to know art, culture, foreign relations, history and the traditiond of countries through their postage stamps and envelopes. ”
Takenori Shimizu, appointed as Ambassador of Japan to Mongolia in 1977, has been a long-time member of the Federation of Mongolian Philatelists and says he has expanded his friendships through the federation. He has been interested in postage stamps since childhood. He has an enormous collection of postage stamps narrating the history of Mongolia, with Russian-issued stamps dating as far back as 1860, and from 1924, when Mongolia published its first postage stamp. But he doesn’t collect only stamps, he also collected envelopes sent from Mongolia, most of them purchased in overseas auctions.
The oldest envelope in his collection is from 1886. A branch of the Russian Post in Mongolia sent it to him. He once had an envelope from the 1870s, but says he gave it to a friend. Vintage envelopes from Russia have become very valuable to collectors.

Every envelope tells a story

Foreigners, especially Chinese collectors, are interested in vintage Mongolian envelopes at auctions. Most of the envelopes sent from Mongolia were for letters to China sent between the late 1800s and the early 1900s.
Chinese nationals in Mongolia used Mongolian envelopes stuck with Mongolian postage stamps to send letters to their home country. The envelopes now sought after by collectors in China tell the stories of two countries’ pasts.
“I think, I am one of the few diplomats who have seen the socialism, democracy, and development of Mongolia,” Ambassador Shimizu said. That’s why he collected envelopes featuring many periods in Mongolia.
Ten years ago he published the book “Collecting Old Mongolian Postage Stamps”, which included photographs of envelopes and postage stamps from 1860 to 1954. Recently, he published the book “Mongolian Illustrated Postal Covers”, featuring envelopes from 1955 to 1990. Postal envelopes have been released widely since 1955, but there was no official list of postal envelopes released. It was difficult for envelope collectors, and that’s why Shimizu wrote the book.

Simple things also have value

The Ambassador also collects Mongolian traditional paintings and coins once used as currency. After he first arrived in Mongolia, in the late 1970s, he met famous Mongolian painters N.Tsultem and U.Yadamsuren, stirring his interest in Mongolian paintings.
Some of the coins in his collection date back to the Mongol Empire, but he says the expense of collecting ancient coins is cost prohibitive, which is why his collection of coins is small.
He also has postal envelopes in his collection which are not related to Mongolia, including illustrated postal envelopes used during Christmas in Japan. Japanese give each other very ornate and well-designed postal envelopes during Christmas. The Ambassador believed the envelopes were too precious to throw away and started collecting them.

Dreams are also simple

When Shimizu was asked, “What would you like to do in the future?” he replied, “I will still have an interest in my collection.”
He also has a dream of building a house in Oita, Japan, where he was born, and decorating that house with his collection when he leaves Mongolia. Perhaps that house will someday become a destination for visitors to learn about Mongolia and its friendly Japanese Ambassador.

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Posted by on Mar 26 2015. Filed under Arts & Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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