My Grandad was a postmaster. And he had a passion for collecting things that he thought might be worth something someday. So, as you can imagine, he owned a fairly large stamp collection. In his Will he specified that when he died this collection is to be sold and the money split between his four grandchildren. Given that my auntie has enough stuff to deal with in Cornwall, after the funeral my parents brought this stamp collection home to work out what was there and to get it valued. The whole thing intrigued me – all my life I’d known there was a stamp collection up in the attic at Gran and Papa’s house, but apart from the small fraction he’d given to Big Sis and I as children, I’d never seen it. So I offered to spend a couple of days at home, going through it all.
It was a good job that somebody did go through it before sending it off to be valued, as I also found hundreds of slides, photographs and personal family items. There were also numerous albums, 2 boxes of loose stamps, a box of old books about stamps, a suitcase full of first day covers, a fairly large number of mint condition stamps, a massive pile of unusual envelopes, a collection of postcards and a small collection of coins. Some items dated back to the beginning of last century, and some even earlier.
I have absolutely no idea how much it is all worth. But it was absolutely fascinating to look through it all – you never quite knew what you were going to find next. Reading letters which were sent over 50 years ago, and are part of my family history, was really interesting. For example, my Dad came across a postcard that had been sent from my great grandad to my great aunt, when she was 10.
Anyway, I have removed all the personal items, separated the coins and postcards which I believe will go to a different specialist, and packed it all back up again. It’s going to a friend of a friend who can value it and knows people in the stamp collecting world who might be interested in buying some of it. In a way, it would be nice to keep it for our future generations, but the practicalities of sharing a stamp collection four ways, is impossible. And none of the grandchildren have a particular interest in keeping it going, so it makes sense to sell it. We just have to wait and see how much it’s worth.