“Most letters only cost a penny or two to mail at that point,” says Craig.
However, high value stamps of the day can be great investments and tend to appreciate by around 10% each year, he says.
A favorite is a five shillings stamp depicting the Sydney Harbor Bridge, produced in 1932. This stamp, in mint condition (previously unused) can range from $ 1,200 to $ 1,400.
Although this is a substantial amount, it is paltry compared to the £ 2 stamp of a kangaroo depicted on a red map of Australia first issued in 1912. “This one is extremely rare, with a price tag of several tens of thousands of dollars. ” Craig said.
If he admits that these stamps appeal to collectors with “deep pockets,” for bargain hunters and new collectors looking for a solid return on their investment, he suggests looking for decimal currency stamps released in the mid-1960s. Some of them were originally issued with a face value of just 30 cents, but are now worth $ 25, Craig says.
“With most collectors, it’s about getting a complete set. And for the kids, that’s an important lesson – finish something you started, ”says Craig.
John Pearson, owner of the Pittwater Philatelic Service, began collecting stamps at the age of eight. He is now 63 years old.
“At first, I was supervised by a philatelic agent from the local post office,” says Pearson.
When asked to name his preferred area of interest, he declared “the historic stamps of the 19th century”.
Although not part of his collection, a stamp that has long been on his radar is the “holy grail” of Australian philately – the “inverted swan” of Western Australia, circa 1854.
“Ironically, it’s the frame – or the fact that the swan was placed upside down in its frame – that makes it so precious,” Pearson says.
Priced at over $ 250,000 – in used condition – Pearson says he doesn’t expect to find one any time soon!
Stephen Crafti is a specialist in contemporary design, including architecture, furniture, fashion and decorative arts.