Thursday, May 28, 2009

British collector rates Papua New Guinea stamps among world's best

A British stamp collector has rated Papua New Guinea postage stamps among the best in the world.

United Kingdom-based R.E.A Howard said recently in a letter to the PNG Philatelic Bureau that he began collecting PNG stamps in 1937.

“I have really enjoyed your issues from 1937 and I am only missing four stamps plus one stamp booklet. I must congratulate you on your new issue service, this compares with the very best, do keep it up,” he said.

The bureau’s February 2009 issue, which Mr Howard referred to, features the country’s different frog species and was a joint project between Post PNG and conservation organisation WWF.

The British High Commissioner to PNG, David Dunn, said Mr Howard’s attraction to PNG stamps is not surprising.

“PNG stamps are amongst the most collectable in the world and with their vibrant colors and scenes depicting PNG life and the vast array of indigenous flora and fauna remain as popular today as this were in 1937,” he said.

Post PNG Ltd managing director, Peter Maiden, said the Post PNG philatelic bureau was established in 1959 as part of the Australian colonial administration’s Posts and Telegraphs Department and has a long and colorful history.

“One of the bureau’s early pioneers wrote about an American woman travelling to PNG from California in 1966 because she liked our stamps. And the bureau’s first big order came from the United Kingdom after it received a cheque of over £1000 from a Harry Allan, who sent another cheque with the same value three months later for another stamp collection,” he added.

Mr Maiden said thanks to the hard work put in by the bureau’s pioneers which has continued to this day by current staff, PNG stamps continue to be sold globally through agents based in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and the USA.

Mr Howard has decided to pull the curtain down on his hobby and indicated PNG was one of the few countries he restricted his collecting to.

“Now that I am in my 86th year I have decided with regret that I must now give up stamp collecting. Over recent years I have restricted my collecting to just a few countries, included those in PNG,” he said.

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