The Kurdish stamp collector in Sulaimani

1/31/2023 3:19:33 PM
 Raad Abdul Jabbar shows stamps in his small antique shop.
A Kurdish stamp collector keeps thousands of stamps, banknotes and coins in his small antique shop in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Raad Abdul Jabbar sits in his small Sulaimani shop surrounded by stamps from all sides.

The stamp collector and business owner hails from Baghdad, but had moved to the Kurdistan region because it was relatively safer during Iraq's sectarian conflict in Iraq in 2007.

The 54-year-old started collecting stamps as a hobby when he was teenager, turning the activity into a business some 20 years ago.

"My hobby became a source of income for me. I was a hobbyist since I was 15 years old," he says.

At his shop, he tucks away the more expensive stamps in folders to protect them from damage.

Abdul Jabbar says he has even more folders full of stamps at his home.

Most of the stamps that he owns go back to the time when Iraq was a kingdom and his collection includes a postal stamp that was issued for the inauguration of King Faisal I, the first king of Iraq.

That stamp is worth around $200 and other stamps start selling for $10 and can reach up to $400.

In Iraq, the Faisal lineage ended in 1958 when the monarchy was overthrown in an army coup.

But the stamp issued for King Faisal I is the most demanded at Abdul Jabbar's shop.

The business owner also collects and sells banknotes and coins from different countries.

The most valuable banknote is an Egyptian pound from King Farouq’s era and some Chinese currencies dating back to the 1930s-1940s.

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