Who would have thought the once-popular children’s pastime of stamp collecting was still alive? Well, not only is stamp collecting still going strong, but it continues to make a world of difference to communities around the globe through the Lutheran Church of Australia’s (LCA) Stamps for Mission program.
Since its inception in 1938, almost $446,000 has been raised for mission causes, says Peter Nitschke, Stamps for Mission national project director.
Stamps for Mission, a fundraising arm of LCA International Mission, was established through the efforts of Pastor Ted Koch and Mr Ern Unger, who spent 65 years collecting stamps and building a national team of helpers.
Peter began following Ern’s footsteps after a chance meeting in Parkes in 2003 when Peter and his wife Margaret were travelling back to South Australia after living in Queensland for 15 years.
As carer to Margaret, who was ill with multiple myeloma, it was a job with the flexible hours Peter felt he could help with. And so began almost two decades of support for an industrious team that gathers, cleans and sorts stamps.
While millions of stamps go through Peter’s hands each year, occasionally he finds a rare gem, such as a post-marked envelope worth $2500. The stamps are sold to local collectors and larger philatelic businesses. An A4 box of stamps can be worth between $300 and $1100.
Thankfully, Peter says there are no signs of stamp collecting dying out. And finding helpers became even easier during a year of COVID lockdowns!
‘When COVID first hit, I had three people come and ask for stamps as they didn’t know what they were going to do during lockdown’, he says.
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