Syria: War & Philately

Syria: War & Philately

Syrian War started in 2011 and it’s closely coming to its’ end. Today we’ll see how a war impacts the life of a philatelist.


A Little Background to Syrian War

I guess that most of us have heard of this war so far. People could have different opinions and take different sides, but we can all agree that wars don’t bring anything good to the majority of the people. This is the case also with the Syrian War. As it usually happens, superpowers and/or local powers find a country where they’ll play their match not taking care of the people at all. Unfortunately, as Number Six from BSG would say: “All of this has happened before. All of this will happen again.”

This war was also the trigger for the today’s story, a story of Elias Lolei. I find this story also personally very close because something similar happened to me. I will let Elias speak now.


The Beginning

Elias Lolei


“I started collecting at the age of 7, I think. It started with cutting down the edge of envelopes where the stamp was. Then my aunt got me my first stock book. I think that was the real start. My collection grew slowly with used stamps mainly or whatever I could afford. In my late teens, my family started noticing my passion so whoever had any stamps, passed them on to me. My collection is at least 2 generation old and includes my uncle’s and second aunt’s collection. This new addition boosted my collection big times and I started noticing the beauty of mint stamps.”

“There is something really fascinating about this small piece of paper being preserved in such a great condition over many years. From then on, I started collecting mint only. In my early 20s, I started using the Internet for my collection so I met many people from around the globe and that was another major milestone in my collecting journey, starting to trade internationally.”


The War

“Everything was going great until 2011. A crisis began in Syria and I had to leave with my family in 2012. Due to how much weight my collection had, I could not take it with me on a plane. So, I put it all in plastic bags. Locked it in my closet and prayed to all the gods of the universe to keep it safe. After 6 long years, I visited back my country and found my collection the way I left it. What a relief.”


Elias Lolei - collection


And the Happy End

 “And this time I was prepared… I took 2 full suitcases with nothing but stamps back to Canada with me. My collection is now finally with me once again. Now, however, I’m merging what I had with what I managed to collect in the past 6 years… so my house has been a mess for the past week or so with stamps all over the place lol.”


Elias Lolei - collection


“Oh, and… somewhere along the way I also got involved with coins and banknotes.

As for what it means to me… my collection to me is my most precious belonging. I have a full bookcase dedicated to it. Sometimes when I think about it… I really wish I meet someone and have a kid who would get into this hobby… Otherwise, I’m in a trouble lol.”


Elias Lolei - collection


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  1. Isabelle Ramdoo · August 9, 2018 Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story Elias and it’s so great that you got re-united with your collection 😉 I know what that means. I left my country to take up an exciting job opportunity abroad and could not bring them with me the first time. Eventually after a few years I did bring all of them with me!! I can totally relate to the feeling of your stamps being the most precious thing you have 🙂 Good luck!!

  2. Ajay · August 9, 2018 Reply

    Very good to hear this.
    All those hardwork u put for this art sustained ..very happy for u

  3. Dave Rodrigues · August 9, 2018 Reply

    Interesting article about a hobby with war as a background. But all’s well that ends well…

  4. David Albert · August 20, 2018 Reply

    Elias, thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad you are safe, and that you’ve been reunited with your collection. If I may…I do not know many philatelists focused on Syria, and I am hoping you can steer me in the right direction…by any chance do you know what significance the sun and ears of wheat have on Syrian stamps? I have the following stamp….

    Sun and Ears of Wheat (brown orange)
    Denom: 0.50 piastres
    Scott # 315 MNH
    Issued 1946

    …but have been unsuccessful finding any information about its imagery. If you don’t know, no worries. Thank you. Best, David

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