David Unwin / Stuff
Bruce Graves and Colin Dyer unveil the personalized stamps of the Manawatū Philatelic Society marking 100 years of philately.
From Royal Mail delivery vans to NZ Post Paxster buggies, Manawatū philatelists have been fascinated by the stories behind the stamps.
To celebrate their company’s 100th anniversary, they have chosen delivery vehicles from the 1920s and today to feature on personalized stamps which they hope will become treasured collectibles.
Manawatū Philatelic Society president Colin Dyer and newsletter editor Bruce Graves look forward to the limited-edition release at a centennial dinner on Saturday.
There will be a separate public unveiling, complete with centenary postmarks and envelopes, at an exhibition of stamps, coins and postcards at the Palmerston North Community Recreation Center on Saturday October 15th.
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Graves and fellow collector Tony Thackery wrote a history of the society, from 1922 to its peak in the 1980s when it had over 300 members.
It was a time when people had disposable income and time for the hobby, generally collecting by subject matter – Graves was fascinated by anything to do with space – and before the digital age reduced the volumes of mail.
As some 262 post offices across Manawatū have shrunk to a handful of outlets, postmarks have become just as valuable and interesting as the stamps themselves, serving as a reminder of the post office’s role in a small community. , up to following the path of an important letter.
Some bore numerous postmarks, illustrating the efforts made by postal workers to have letters redirected to their recipients.
The practice of soaking stamps from paper and articulating them in albums remained, but collectors found new ways to display the full package and tell stories of history through stamps.
“It’s not just stamps on a page anymore.”
Graves said that whenever people came to him to sell or sell collections, he advised them to keep any addressed envelopes that could provide valuable insight into the family’s history.
The society now had about 60 members, with an infectious enthusiasm for their hobby.
While many young people barely knew what a postage stamp was, collectors sorted, displayed and told the stories behind the stamps, their seals and their envelopes in ever-changing ways.
They had noticed a surge in interest and recruited new members, following the Covid-19 lockdowns which gave people time at home to explore the contents of their cupboards.
The men said the death of Queen Elizabeth II would draw a line under certain collections specializing in stamps depicting the monarchy, while other philatelists would eagerly await the first issue of stamps depicting King Charles III.