By Anna Bain
Philately has been a closed book to me for many years, but I have always collected stamps to pass on to charity. Because of the work I do I tend to have contacts not only in the UK but worldwide, and have persuaded many of them to send me their used stamps. Sometimes by the box full in fact.
So I pass them on to a friend here on Orkney, called Bob, who is a serious philatelist, and he sorted them and sold them on eBay to raise funds for RNLI. But a couple of years ago he was finding it all a bit much and was on the verge of giving it up. We felt that would be really very sad – he had raised over £4,000 for RNLI by doing this and it’s so worthwhile. So we decided to work together and Bob sorts them all out and makes up the lots and we do the eBaying and the sendouts of the ones that have been bought and all the proceeds from the sale go to RNLI.
It’s actually been really interesting because what Bob doesn’t know about stamps just isn’t worth knowing. As a result I am probably learning more than I ever wanted to know. Scanning and listing them takes up an hour or two at weekends, but it’s quite relaxing and enjoyable – and some of them are really beautiful, I almost feel like keeping them myself (almost but not quite that is …). You get fun ones like these from the Just So Stories and pretty ones and more serious ones that appeal to the true philatelist .
We have sold other things that Bob has acquired from friends including some old cameras, but we try to keep it simple and sell things that are easy to post. One kind person who had bought some stamps sent us a batch of old bank notes to sell for example, and they went like hot cakes.
Some lots only fetch the basic 99p but others ramp up considerably – we had a sheet of really pretty Australian ones for sale a while ago, all different and all with kangaroos on, and that went for over £30.
I am told that a pair of yellow wellies cost around £14, so we tend to think of our week’s efforts in terms of how many pairs of wellies it will buy.
And, dear reader, you could help – if you have some old stamps squirreled away that you don’t want, please get in touch as we would love to have them to sell for RNLI.
You can email me at email@example.com – contributions would be gratefully received.