Transcarpathian collector of autographs became a record-holder
A 74-year-old citizen of Transcarpathia, Joseph Gasnyuk, has got an unusual hobby. He has been collecting autographs for more than 50 years. He collected the signatures of all the first astronauts in the world. He may boast of autographs of presidents and prime ministers from different countries. In total, his collection consists of more than 4,000 autographs. Now his achievements appeared in the Ukrainian Book of Records.
The collector occupied a wardrobe in a living room room. Shelves are stacked with albums. There are envelopes and cards with autographs. It all started in the sixties. Mr. Gasnyuk decided to write the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. ‘I wrote to him, and he answered. During the next three months, I got 7 autographs. And then for over 7.5 years I had been writing to him,’- Joseph Gasnyuk shares his memories.
Then he decided to collect autographs of astronauts. He began to write to others – Titov, Popovich, Tereshkova, Bykovskiy. When the man had received all the signatures, he got down to the world leaders. He now has several thousand letters with signatures. At home all looks like a small museum. Joseph made his own stand on the wall where he placed the most valuable units of his collection – ‘On this stand there are a portrait and a letter of Yuri Gagarin, the signature of Kofi Annan, Tony Blair, Yeltsin ... There is even a letter from the Queen of England Elizabeth II’.
The total value of the collection is more than 100,000 U.S. dollars. Now only the envelope with the signature of Gagarin is worth at least a thousand. Joseph Zigmundovych has been so involved in his hobby that he even got into the Ukrainian Book of Records. For the Day of Cosmonautics a representative of the Book of Records awarded Mr. Joseph with a diploma certifying his record in the category of ‘Collections’ – ‘Today we awarded Joseph Z. Gasnyuk with the Ukrainian Book of Records diploma. I would say more, the record has chances to become a part of the Guinness Book of Records. That is exactly what we are going to do now,’- said Vladislav Lakatosh, who handed in the diploma to the record holding collector.
Pensioner does not even count his autographs any more. For 50 years he has collected more than a hundred albums. All letters and envelopes in them are neatly folded under the film not to be damaged because it was not easy to collect them. Mr. Joseph says, ‘I could stay hungry because there was not enough money for bread. But I bought an envelope in order to gather this collection. It costs me all my life.’
Unfortunately, neither children nor grandchildren got involved with the hobby. Now he is looking for a person who would be able to continue the work of his life.
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