Lyn Saul spends most afternoons organising used stamps into neat piles for donation. (ABC Mid North Coast: Gabrielle Lyons)
In a sunroom tucked at the back of Lyn Saul’s home, tens of thousands of used stamps are neatly organised in preparation for postage.
Ms Saul has been collecting since she was in her early teens, but over the past 35 years she has been donating her collection to the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, in Sydney’s North Rocks, for stamp auctions.
“When I moved to Kempsey in the 1980s, my neighbour asked me if I was a stamp collector, I didn’t expect three large boxes filled to the brim,” she said.
“I panicked and didn’t know what to do with them, after a call with a girlfriend we decided on a charity,
“Now, friends and businesses send stamps to me, I sort through them and ship them down to Sydney.”
RIDBC Fundraising Executive Nadine Kanaan said Ms Saul is one of the foundation’s major stamp suppliers.
“From every [stamp] auction, we usually receive a couple of thousand dollars in donations as a result,” she said.
“One of the stamps that went to the auction house a couple of years ago valued at near $8,000,
“We have had some stamps donated dated back to the 1800s, and all through the ’50s and ’60s.”
Lyn Saul is known as ‘the stamp lady’ as she walks around central Kempsey searching for used stamps. (ABC Mid North Coast: Gabrielle Lyons)
Donations from across the world
Originally, Ms Saul posted on community notice boards and personally contacted local businesses in search of used stamps to donate.
“People in town call me the stamp lady,” she said.
Now, she has people sending her postage stamps from across the country, and occasionally from across the world.
“I have a lady from Western Australia who regularly sends to me. Another in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory,” she said.
“Occasionally I get full albums of stamps,
“But like us all, we are all getting older and those who send to me regularly are passing on.”
She has acquired stamps from many countries around the world including the United States, India, Japan, Germany and even Antarctica.
“Oddly though, I haven’t seen any stamps from New Zealand,” she said.
Drop in postage stamps
When Ms Saul begun collecting used stamps, she would be sending half-metre high boxes.
“The boxes I would send were always full to the brim, I would have to push them down to close the box,” she said.
“I had been sending boxes of about that size for the past 30 years.”
However more recently, she said she had noticed a substantial drop in postage stamps.
“Over the past three years, I haven’t been getting the same quantity I use to,” she said.
“Now I am only sending three or four boxes a year, and they are only tub size, and not often full.”
Ms Saul said she was disappointed to see how postage and sending letters had changed.
“Not even bills come in letter form any more, stamps are no longer necessary.”
RIDBC’s Ms Kanaan said she had not noticed a decline in stamp donations to the foundation.
“Every month we are still receiving filled boxes and bags. We have a room dedicated to stamps,” she said.
“Our stamp donations are incredibly important in supporting the services we have running here, along with community donations. They are keeping the doors open,
“I personally thank Lyn for all the effort she puts in, and I look forward to the next 35 years of her involvement.”
Ms Saul said she didn’t need to know how much she has personally helped to raise for the RIDBC.
“I am helping them and contributing to a good cause, and I intend to keep doing this for as long as possible,” she said.
“If postage services were to stop, I would drop dead,
“I don’t think postage will ever stop completely, we will always need someone to deliver parcels and letters.”
Ms Saul has been surprised by the number of international stamps she has received. (ABC Mid North Coast: Gabrielle Lyons)