Early Years – Stamp Collecting

In the 1930s exchanging letters with pen-friends in Australia and overseas was another personal contact hobby. Stamp collectors around the world were happy to exchange stamps of their country for Australian issues and many lasting friendships grew out of such contacts. Postage rates were sensible and encouraged letter writing. We paid 2d (2c) for Australia and the British Empire and 3d (3c) for letters to foreign countries. The International Reply Coupons (Imperial 3c, Foreign 7c) were used for some overseas letters where you had to prepay for a reply. The IRC was taken into the distant post office to be exchanged for a local stamp.

I still have several First Day of Issue envelopes sent to me by correspondents who saw Australia as a place as remote as Outer Mongolia. Letters of a more general nature and local viewcards were exchanged with letter writers in some of the other States of Australia and in New Zealand. I still have photos of Alice Marne of Palmerston North (NZ), and Beryl Haydock then living at 457 Glenmore Road, Edgecliffe, Sydney. Both the girls were 15 at the time, the same age as myself. One wonders where they are now? 

Stamp Collecting and Business (1946-1947)

In late April (1946) I had put into operation an idea I had mulled over in my mind when still up at Manus Island after VJ Day. I had always been a stamp collector and in my idle moments had given thought to becoming at least a part-time dealer. Late in April I had written to the Dept Trade and Customs in Canberra seeking permission to import from the USA stamps to the value of 100 pounds ($200). Back came the approval to apply for a licence and later I was advised that my import quota would be 130 pounds ($260) C.I.F.E., (Cost, Insurance, Freight, & Exchange). The quotas would be available every year. Returned servicemen were being helped in many matters like this. 

Letter – From: F A Meere, Acting Director (Customs?) – To: Doug Cash – Granting of Licence to Import Postage Stamps. Source: Doug Cash Collection

When the stamps (mostly pre-war) arrived we sorted them into the various countries and made up packets of the different countries and of the world. I had standard white envelopes printed to my own design, white envelopes, red design borders, and blue print. I have some in my life story file and they still look good to me. We put some in the windows of Mum’s shop and sold a few but no rush. The war over, a new life ahead, new thoughts and new ideas.

I now felt it was time to put a bit more work into developing my stamp collector trade. Through 1947 my bulk supplies of foreign stamps had been sorted out with family help. We used printed envelopes I had designed with red and blue borders around the title and price sections. The registered trade names used were “Lucky Strike”, “Gold Mine” and “Boomerang”. I can still picture Joan’s parents, Lucie and Arthur Moore, sitting across the table from us separating out the stamps from the bulk packets received from the Canadian wholesalers, Spier Bros. of Montreal, Canada.

The philatelic experts and dealers in Perth included Mr I Challis and I received a letter from him inviting me to join a group planning to form an Australian Stamp Dealers’ Association, which I did. Mr Challis had his business at 599 Hay Street, part of the Town Hall Buildings, close to Craven’s the Chemist. The new body was formed and most dealers in Australia became members.

Document – Stamp Packets. Source: Doug Cash Collection

I now felt it was time to put a bit more work into developing my stamp collector trade. Through 1947 my bulk supplies of foreign stamps had been sorted out with family help. We used printed envelopes I had designed with red and blue borders around the title and price sections. The registered trade names used were “Lucky Strike”, “Gold Mine” and “Boomerang”. I can still picture Joan’s parents, Lucie and Arthur Moore, sitting across the table from us separating out the stamps from the bulk packets received from the Canadian wholesalers, Spier Bros. of Montreal, Canada.

One result of my dealing in a very small way with North America was a letter from the American States Export Co. West 40th Street NY. Il quote briefly to preserve this record of those times gone by: 

“Now that the “cut-back” program of the U.S. Government is in full swing, and our factories working entirely on the production of peace-time goods, American mills, factories and markets all are, or shortly will be, pouring out a tremendous flood of goods of every type of consumer-merchandise for domestic and export use”. 

“We are in a position to purchase* the following merchandise for you: apparel for men, women and children, coats, dresses, hats, shoes, clothing, furnishings, cotton goods, blankets, hardware, house furnishings, homewares, furniture, toys, machinery, drugs, chemicals, foodstuffs, rayons, notions, etc.” *up to $100,000,000. Author’s note: Notions? Pins, needles, tapes, thread (cottons).

“We employ a staff of 40, all expertly schooled, and we occupy a loft (sic) comprising 20,000 square feet in the heart of the metropolitan market ….. If you are ever in New York, our offices are offered as your business home here; our staff is here to work with you, saving you time and money… Our service charge is only 5% of the cost of merchandise we buy for you … Ben F Levis Pres.”

Author’s note: $100,000,000? Too big a league for me.

 

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