Meet Tomo Katuric, World-Class Philatelist from Kamenari

By , 15 Feb 2019, 17:00 PM Meet the People
Meet Tomo Katuric, World-Class Philatelist from Kamenari Tomo Katuric at the World Exhibition in Atina, private photo collection

February 15, 2019 - The sea captain, Tomo Katuric, is the president of the Alliance of the Philatelists of Montenegro, but also a member of the Royal Philatelic Society in London and the European Philatelic Academy in Paris. His great successes recommended him also to be a member of the jury of the World Association of Philatelists FIPA.

Tomo is one of the two people from Balkans to become a member of the Royal Philatelic Society in London, sponsored by Queen Elisabeth II. The Society was founded in 1869 under the patronage of the royal family and consists of 1609 members.

“I become a member in January 2007 with the recommendation of Mr Alan Higgins, an English Lord- one of the leading persons in the world of English philately, as well as at the recommendation of the President of the Philatelists of Italy- Alessandro Agostosi. It was an honor and a pleasure because you can be recommended there only through your success, and by that time I had already had two world gold medals- from Washington and Malaga,” explains Tomo Katuric.

“The gold from Washington is very special to me because it stands as the first gold medal engraved in the culture of Montenegro - as the first gold medal coming to Montenegro after the referendum on independence,” says Tomo. The World Philatelic Exhibition, held in 2006 in Washington under the patronage of the President of the USA, was also the first public solo performance of the Montenegrin Postal Service at a philatelic exhibition after 1897. Tomo won the Gold medal among 650 exhibitioners from 70 countries presenting his unique collection “The Postal History of Boka 1809-1875.”

He is the successor to the old Captain's family from Kamenari in Boka Bay. About 50 percent of philatelic collections that he now owns with his wife and son succeeded, while the rest managed to upgrade to world auctions, thus reaching the world's largest philately class.

“The Katuric family arrived in Boka in 1697 during the Turkey-Venice wars, also known as Moreja wars. They were mainly sailors and merchants. My great grandfather Mato was a sailing ship captain, my grandfather Tomo was a merchant, inherited by my father Djuro, also inheriting the bar in Kamenari in 1906 which has been opened ever since,” explains Tomo.

He started exhibiting in 2001, but he took on philately in 1974 when his uncle Lazar “handed” his collection to Tomo to continue the tradition which had been started by his great grandfather Mato. Katuric’s collection is unique, and its big part comes from the family correspondence letters.

tomo katuric postal history of bokaFrom the collection "The Postal History of Boka 1809-1875", Copyright: Boka News"

"Today, Tomo owns up to 15 gold medals from world exhibitions. The greatest attention and acknowledgment is drawn to his main philately collecting collection from the days of Napoleon and the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The collection "Postal History of Boka Bay 1809-1875" contains 250 letters, or 128 pages from the Napoleon era. It includes the first postmark issued in Austro-Hungarian 1850, as well as letters from the time Napoleon ruled over these areas. Until 1850, the letters were only sealed, qualifying as pre-philately, but in the collection, there were also letters with stamps, that is, after the founding of the Post Office of the World in Bern in 1874, when Montenegro was one of the 22 founding countries.

The family of Katurić is a collection of four collections, and besides mentioned, Tomo owns a philatelist collection "The Boka and Montenegro Occupation 1941-1945." The son Djordje has a collection of "The letters of the Bokelian Sailors 1839-1880", and his wife Jelisaveta achieves remarkable successes on the world exhibits presenting her collection "The Letters of Sailors from the Austro-Hungarian Fleet 1914-1918". According to FIPA rules, one man can exhibit a maximum of two, and a family of four collections. The Katuric family is also unique in our country and can boast of over 40 of the most significant recognitions of European and world exhibitions.

It is interesting to point out that the post office in Boka Bay, or more precisely in Herceg Novi, has been open for 70 years longer.

"The post at Herceg Novi was opened in 1804, 70 years before Cetinje. This shows us the history, culture and the mail of these regions. This kind of information cannot be praised by most of the 92 member states that are gathered by the World Philatelist Organization."

All collections of the Katuric family talk about Boka Bay and its maritime history, which is not surprising given that the love for collecting and seafaring are the inseparable segments of their members' lives for more than two hundred years.

Tomo is delighted to bring the story of the culture of our region around the globe, even after the celebrated era of the Bokelian maritime affairs. “I have been to and exhibited on all the continents, except Arctic and Antarctica. Thanks to philately and sailing, I have visited more than 200 cities and have seen five out of seven world wonders, proudly representing my home place Kamenari, the town of Herceg Novi, the Boka Bay and Montenegro.”

There is no rule to the profession most commonly dealing with philately. Still, within the circle of the top world philatelist, Tomo is the only seaman. “It is interesting that I am usually not called by my real name but “Bocca di Cattaro”- after my collection,” Tomo proudly marks.

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