Collection has Jose's individual stamp

CATHERINE GAFFANEY
Last updated 05:00 11/07/2014
Jose Vattoth
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

FOOTBALL FAN: Jose Vattoth with some of his collection of Football World Cup stamps.

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Some football fans spend thousands travelling to international matches; some stay home and spend their money in sweepstakes, but few celebrate football the way Jose Vattoth does.

The Indian immigrant and Newtown resident has almost 2000 football stamps - a collection that has taken him 28 years to amass.

The stamps depict more than 150 countries in an array of colours and styles, from a pure silver stamp released by France in 2010 to an Austrian stamp created by adidas, which is made of the same material as footballs.

His collection begins with the first release of football stamps - a trio indicative of Uruguay's domination of the 1924 Olympics - and ends with a fresh-off-the-press release of this year's Fifa World Cup.

Yet the collection isn't complete. The Brazilian supporter hopes to have the whole picture of what he calls "the most beautiful game".

"I want it to be positive, educative and informative. I want to show the whole journey of the history of football."

Vattoth says depicting the journey is not about how many stamps he has, or whether they cost him $10 or $100, but about the stories they tell.

"I want to tell different stories. Where in the world [the stamps] come from and where the famous players are from.

"People hear of famous players then if they look at the stamps they can see the picture of them. It will be embedded in their mind."

Vattoth's journey to football philately (stamp collecting) began at school. He played football with his peers and collected general stamps after his philatelic uncle got him in to it.

But it wasn't until he was 25, long after his transition from player to avid fan, that he began to tie his interests together. "I started building the collection slowly. It became a nice hobby."

The fact not many people collect football stamps heightened their appeal. Vattoth used to be in the Wellington Philatelic Society, but left after finding himself the only football-focused collector.

People are interested in sports, but more so rugby and even more so the Olympics, according to Wellington stamp dealer John Eccles.

Vattoth has already had two well-attended exhibitions of his stamps in India. Whether or not he has one in Wellington is a decision he is yet to make.

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