The hobby that he has been carrying out for more than five decades, avid philatelist Johnny Lowis' tiger stamp collection surpasses 80% of the total tiger stamps currently in circulation globally. The Chinese Singaporean currently possesses more than 9,50,000 stamps in his collection, out of which his tiger stamp collection carries a great significance to him as he was born in January 1950 which is also called the 'Year of the Tiger'.
Following his passion for collecting stamps, Lowis started collecting tiger stamps 24 years ago in 1998 and currently owns some of the most unusual stamps including the world's first tiger stamp which was issued by the British Malaya in 1891.
The stamps issued in Malaya were not a part of the Straits Settlement as the concerned states were still issuing stamps depicting Queen Victoria at the time. Henceforth, the four states including Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, and Selangor came out with separate issues on the Malayan Tiger.
Meanwhile, it has been estimated that with a total of 600 tiger stamps in circulation globally, Lowis alone owns about 500 out of them, most of which he had acquired online through eBay and Delcampe, or exchanged with other stamp collectors.
Lowis is still awaiting another 100 zodiac stamps from different countries including Japan, China, North Korea, Vietnam, United States, Australia, Canada, and France. However, he has still not received any issue on the Malaysia post and is hoping for one very soon.
The 72-year-old Johnny Lewis started collecting stamps from the age of 15 when he was gifted an album of stamps by his father. However, it later got him into a serious profession, with British stamps becoming his main source of inspiration. The graphic designer who had graduated from the De Monfort University in Leicester, England currently has about half a million pieces of stamps in his entire collection, among which the Chinese zodiac stamps are his favorites, which he started collecting in 1995.
After starting his collection for stamps, his first zodiac stamp exhibition was held at the Singapore Philatelic Museum in 2002 after which he expanded his search for more stamps and to date, he currently owns 5,000 different zodiac stamps.
Moreover, his stamp collection has also been exhibited at other places including Malaysia KL Auto Show, Hong Kong North Point Community Centre, and other stamp clubs across various countries.