These stamps are not for licking

17:00, Aug 07 2011
valda palenski
Rare find: Valda Palenski with a Penny Black stamp, valued at $175, at the Stamp Fair in Fitzroy.

Hundreds flocked to the Taranaki Philatelic Society stamp fair at Fitzroy at the weekend, but the postage enthusiasts were keeping their wonders firmly away from light, heat and moisture.

And many collectors were keeping mum on how many they owned.

"A good stamp collector doesn't count stamps on the number they've got, it's the quality of stamps, their scarcity and grade," stamp dealer Valda Palenski said.

For the record though, Mrs Palenski numbers her collection in the thousands and has been hoarding for 50 years and stamp dealing for 30.

The Palmerston North woman travels to stamp fairs around New Zealand about seven times a year.

"New Plymouth is quite well known for having a higher than average percentage in the country of good quality stamp dealers," she said.

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And despite fears selling online has driven the price of the hallmarks down, Mrs Palenski said that was only the case for lower priced material.

True philatelists got advice from experts and used stamp dealers, paying up to thousands of dollars for them.

Asked if philately is still a popular pastime, her reply is an immediate, "Oh yes."

"People still like collecting things because of the history of the stamp. Collecting goes back almost 200 years and people like the stories about the markings of the stamps and the post offices they came from."

Mrs Palenski said philately was versatile, with people collecting from around the world or based on themes, such as agriculture.

Taranaki Philatelic Society president Chris Hinton said nearly 300 enthusiasts attended the event, some serious philatelists among them.

"There's usually one or two big spenders, they were there for quite a while. They always have to find that one stamp they've been looking for."

As for Mrs Palenski, her big sale of the day was a scarce set of four stamps from the 1906 Christchurch exhibition – for $750.

Taranaki Daily News