South Africa’s largest stamp collecting event was held at the Italian Club in Bedfordview last week.
The National Philatelic Exhibition, hosted by the South African Philatelic Dealers Association, opened on October 12.
The exhibition concluded on October 15.
Mr Willie Vukela, the deputy director general of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, gave an opening address at the event and spoke on behalf of the minister.
He said he was excited to be part of the ceremony.
He said postal services connect people not only in a country but around the world.
“Stamps are the smallest ambassadors of a country,” he said.
Mr Vukela said he would like to see more young people getting involved in stamp collection.
As part of world post month, he urged members of the community to try writing a letter, even if people battle with writing.
The event hosted a number of international and local stamp dealers.
Mr Steve van den Hurk, president of the Philatelic Federation of South Africa, said the event was the biggest stamp collection and dealer exhibition in Southern Africa.
He added that South African Development communities also attended the event and included Botswana, Namibia and Malawi.
“Exhibitions like these are important,” said Mr van den Hurk
He added that when people collect stamps they can also learn new information.
“You can study an entire topic or field by collecting stamps,” said Mr van den Hurk.
“A big challenge to the stamp collecting community is the forgery of stamps,” he said.
With the technology available today, it has become easier for forgers to make fake stamps.
“Stamp forgery is a global problem for collectors and dealers,” said Mr Michael Wigmore, the chairperson of the South African expert committee which authenticates stamps.
He added that the first postal stamp, a Penny Black from 1840, had anti forgery features designed on the stamp.
He said people would take the stamp off the envelope, soak it to get rid of the posted markings and keep on reusing it.
Mr van den Hurk said stamp collecting and dealing had become a dying hobby.
“The youth don’t write letters anymore, they don’t understand what stamp collecting is about.”
According to Mr van den Hurk, one of the reasons for the lack of interest was a result of technology and no one writing letters and making use of stamps.
Mr Wigmore said philatelic events are enjoyable as there is not that much competition and everyone looks out for one another.
He said all the collectors and dealers know each other and get along.
Watch part of Mr Vukela’s opening speech: