A Taxi driver named Athul Aravind from Varkala has been collecting coins and stamps for the last 29 years. He dreams to open a library in Varkala to showcase his amazing collection.
Athul has a very interesting way of acquiring new coins, notes, and stamps for his collection. He asks tourists visiting Varkala to write letters to him after they go back to their respective countries.
He was only 10 years old when a British couple gave him a few pennies. He owns a room full of coins, currencies, old watches and other such items today. His collection is so vast that, he is running short of a place to store them safely. His facebook page is called ‘Varkala antique banknotes old watches, stamps, coins collection’. The page shares photographs of his entire collection and has over 1,50,00 likes.
This collection of rare stamps includes a stamp of Rwanda commemorating Abraham Lincoln. He has 40 books full of stamps, coins and currencies and many more in loose bags. Currently, he does not have money to buy stock books. One of these bags weighs 10 kg or more, and is full of 25-paise coins! One of his stock books contains old 10-paise coins only.
Regular tourists in Varkala, visit his place to take a look at his collection. Sometimes, he holds exhibitions in shops near the beach, provided that he gets a free space. Even today, he boldly asks tourists for a currency or a coin to keep building his collection.
Other items in his interesting collection include old watches, time-pieces, transistor radios, cassette players, cameras, newspaper cuttings from the early 20th century onwards etc.
Even though Athul keeps getting calls from people looking to buy some of his collectibles, he is clear that he won’t sell anything.