The Chess champion Anatoly Karpov as an avid collector of stamps and philatelic items

March 29th, 2015 hurries to inform about one of the greatest chess players ever Anatoly Yevgenyevich Karpov , who is also an avid collector of stamps and can boast by a hugely valuable collection led by Belgian philately items.

Karpov has always been an avid collector, devoting the same relentless dedication to collectibles as he has to his chess. Like most of his classmates he collected pins and generated a collection featuring about 30,000 sport, Olympic and chess pins.

He also collects stamps however, and the first stamp in his collection was the USSR stamp celebrating 40 years of the Red Army in 1958. But it wasn't Soviet stamps which really grabbed Karpov's interest.

Instead Karpov's attention was drawn by colonies of the British Empire, and also stamps showing animals which could not be seen in Russia such as snakes, kangaroos or zebras. He has gone on to collect chess and Olympic Games stamps from the first modern Olympic Games in Athens, Greece (1896).

Karpov also has a range of stamps from the USSR, France, Monaco, and the Netherlands, but his most valuable selection is from Belgium and the Belgian Congo, of which he has the largest existing collection. The earliest stamps (until around 1869) are notable for their attractive designs.

One of his Belgian stamps is one of just fourteen examples of the famous Termonde invert which shows one of the buildings upside down. It is thought to be worth around $100,000. By some estimations Karpovs collections of stamps and other items are worth US$15m. But he has not collected primarily as an investment.

Karpov has spent some of 2010 finishing off a book which will place all the collectibles in their historical context. The book was delayed when the original text was stolen, but the book is now substantially complete.

In his later years Karpov has had some involvement with politics including at one point being the President of the Soviet Peace Fund, and has an interest in international relations. Karpov has often said he sees stamps as a useful tool for connecting with other cultures, and a route into communicating with people all round the world.

The Chess champion Anatoly Karpov Souvenir Sheet