About Us

Here are the Keyrole Players involved in this Huge Project of Sorting, Cataloguing, Storing, Building the Website, Doing the Research, Creating the Articles & Blogs, and then Presenting this to you.

Willy Lucien Richter (born 1944, The Hague, The Netherlands)

Willy was born in Holland, lost his Dad at an early age, and as a result started work when he was 14.  Subsequently he joined the merchant navy, did his hotel training, 18 months army training in Germany, and just before his 20th birthday, he decided to immigrate to South Africa, mainly for the warmer weather.  On arrival here he worked at the Hellenic Hotel in Pretoria, and in his first months here, the winter of 1965, people were dying on the streets from the severe cold weather.  He thought, what am I doing here, this is colder than Holland. Willy stayed in the hospitality business for the first years in South Africa, and was for some time Assistant Manager of the Blue Marlin Hotel.  When we met in 1971/2, he had moved over to sales, to get away from hospitality’s ridiculous hours.

Maria-Luisa Richter (born 1948, Johannesburg, South Africa)

I come from a multilingual background, with an Italian Mom, and a South African Dad whose Mom was German and who’s Dad came from Scotland.

My Italian grandparents spent six months of the year in South Africa with us, so it meant that my two brothers and I were pretty fluent in Italian.  At school I was also able to do German as a subject and went on to do a degree in foreign languages.  Just when I was offered a job to work in Italy, I met Willy on the last day of 1971 and we sort of decided that marriage was on the cards after our first date.  We got married 4 months later.  For the first 20 years, my work was as a secretary, as a Mom, and after completing my H.Ed, I taught for 17 years.

Melise, Willy and Carl (1993 – present)

During the first 20 years of our marriage, we had been transferred from Durban, to Port Elizabeth and then Cape Town.  Not so much fun, especially for Carl having to make new friends every time we moved.  After our last transfer to Cape Town, Carl and his best friend from Port Elizabeth decided that boarding school was the way to go.  We managed to get them into Paarl Gymnasium for their last 4 years at High School.  This meant that we did not have to stay in Cape Town, as Carl was in a safe environment, homework supervised, plenty sport, plenty discipline.  We were suddenly childless and could easily make the decision to move.  Many couples struggle to come to terms with the “empty nest” syndrome, but in our case, the situation was easy.  Carl gave us the opportunity to get out of the big city at a young age.  Often people decide to move when they reach retirement age, but believe me, moving is stressful, they say it is one of the most stressful thing we experience in our lives, but doing it in your 40’s is much easier than doing it in your 60’s.

Having had enough of the corporate world, Willy took a package, I gave up teaching, we sold our house in Cape Town and after looking at many places, we decided George was the place for us.  Willy was 49, I was 44 and we thought we’d take early retirement.  We weren’t really sure how, just decided that the big cities were no longer for us.  The move to George was the start of the best decision of our lives. With the proceeds from our Cape Town house, we bought a small labourers cottage in George as well as a flat near the Technikon in Cape Town (thinking of the future for Carl and also so that we would have accommodation near him).  Once a month we travelled to Cape Town, fetched Carl in Paarl, and together we could spend the weekend in Cape Town.  He was happy and we had to opportunity to do something different with our lives. On our Cape Town weekends we were able to scuba dive, go to the theatre, visit “real” shops – it was a wonderful time.

In George the “retired Derby and Jones” pretty soon realised that we had to keep busy, also that we could not afford to draw on our pensions.     We added a 3 bedroom house to the back of the property in George.  This meant that the old cottage was perfect for me to start a small “pocket Money” business and for Willy to do something to keep himself busy.

I started a wool shop, using R500 to start the business. We had been warned that starting a new business was dicey.  Well, that was true.  We just ploughed everything back into the business.  Fortunately we lived in the house at the back of the business, so were able to reduce our living costs.    Willy worked as a consultant for a friend’s business (which was based in PE) but after about a year started his own business.  Both businesses grew, I had 5 staff in the shop that were all very reliable, we were able to go overseas every year to a different country, often via the Netherlands as many of his friends and family still live there. Because we have travelled such a lot, apart from the normal suspects, countries visited include Russia, Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt…. we can really relate to the stamps of the countries we are cataloguing.   Although Willy’s business had grown, he only needed one staff member and actually only worked about 3 days a week.  For the rest, he was actually employed by the Wool Studio. He became handyman, banker, you name it, it was his job.   The wool shop had grown to such an extent that we were in the top 20 customers of the largest wool retailer in South Africa.  Quite something for a business which I had thought would definitely give me some pocket money. The shop was an amazing part of our lives.  Although I had always knitted, actually since Grade 2 at school, knitting became a passion.  An avid reader, I was only reading about one book a month.  If I was not knitting or working out patterns in front of the TV, I was sorting out wool.  At the time, the factory used to supply what they called “seconds”.  The wool arrived in 15kg bags.  It was 15kg of wool, plain and simple, balls which consisted of 2 strands of different colours, or different types, actually some of the wools were perfect, looking like the wool we ordered regularly from the factory.  The customers could not believe they were getting the same wool that we were selling on the shelves for a tiny fraction of the price.    This was a great source of income as we sold the sorted wool at an exceptionally low price and people flocked to the shop for our “seconds”.

When Carl had got married in 2005, he lived in Johannesburg.  We flew up twice a year once the children were born for their birthdays, but life in George was very much work, work and more work.  We lost sight of the “living” business.   By 2005, the shop had grown to such a degree that we had stolen many rooms from our little house and were actually living in a small one bedroom house.  In 2007 we moved out of the house into a normal house where friends and visitor’s were again welcome as we had space.  It also meant that we did not get up in the morning and go to work which we really did when we lived behind the shop.  Most mornings Willy and I were busy at work by 6 in the morning and I would only go into the house to make dinner.  In the new house I began to take an interest in gardening again, I also joined the gym, something that I really enjoyed, and today I still swim at least 5 times a week. We were still at work by 7 in the morning.  Our prime focus never shifted from the shop

Willy retired in 2010, I carried on with my business, wondering what I would do if I didn’t have the business.  My mind could not see past work.    It seemed to really consume me and Willy, retired, suffered, as I really did neglect him.  He was still my handyman and banker etc, but this never took up more than an hour a day, so he was spending most of the day alone, reading, watching TV and doing puzzles and games on the computer.   My Mom died in 2013 (aged 88) after a wonderfully full life, and I suddenly realised that there was more to life than just working.  One of my staff had expressed an interest in purchasing the business and 10 months after my Mom died, I was also retired.  Now what???

We started playing bowls and bridge, which we still do.  We travelled this beautiful country of ours and kept ourselves busy.  When Carl’s marriage fell apart, we all took the decision that once his house was sold, he would move down to George.  He and his family arrived in September 2015.  We made a few changes to our house and they are still living here.  The kids are doing incredibly well at school, they both play sport and go to gymnastics, so suddenly our Derby and Jones household has become like a train station.  It was actually pretty overwhelming at first.  After years of having free time during which we watched TV, read, puzzled and played stupid games on the computer, our brains had started to go to sleep.

After they had been living with us for a year, I raised the question of Willy’s stamp collection which had been in a cupboard, closed for the year.  I was worried about damage, whether caused by fish moths or moisture, so the decision was taken to have a look.  Carl could not believe how many albums there were and the fact that we had not been able to catalogue or sort the stamps during the 44 years of our marriage was discussed.  The stamps were really Willy’s baby, and during our working years, there had never really been time.  Once we “retired” to George, we definitely had more time, despite the demands of our businesses, and eventually Willy had made his study a stamp room, with a permanent table, so that if he was interrupted, he could just close the door and leave everything as it was.  We didn’t really know how to sort the stamps, but at least an attempt was made.  When Carl and the kids arrived, the study had become a bedroom and goodbye stamps once again.

After some soul searching conversations, the decision was made that with Carl’s IT know how and our willingness to learn, we would showcase our collection to the world.

As far as brain usage is concerned, we have probably quadrupled ours.  Willy has been taught how to scan the stamps, he has learnt how to find any information he requires on Google and he is thoroughly enjoying his tasks.  I have also learnt these skills, but because I have always been a good typist, it is necessary for me to feed the data into the spreadsheet, and in the process I have learnt to use Excel and in fact what Carl refers to as many “advanced” functions of the programme.  I have had to do lots of research on the countries and the history of their stamps, knowledge which I cannot keep to myself and which I am constantly sharing with whoever is near enough to listen.

So that is where we all come from.  Our days are consumed with carting and fetching children, at least two hours of stamps every morning, bridge twice a week, bowls twice a week, for me gym every day. Carl and the kids have also recently joined the gym and are really enjoying the discipline. There is not time for much more, but if necessary we find the time.

In the 18 months from the time that I sold the shop until Carl and the kids arrived when we went away, e.g. to Kruger, we were away for 4 to 5 weeks.  Last week we went to the Karoo National Park, enjoyed it, but were back after 4 days, couldn’t wait to get back to the stamps.  So who says you are old at 70, not us, we really feel as though we have been given a new lease on life, due not only to Carl and the kids, but also to THE STAMP COLLECTION.

Carl Richter (born 1976, Durban, South Africa)

Carl Richter

I was raised as single child, by 2 very hard working parents, and learnt independence & responsibility from a young age.  As such I have been involved in computers most of my life and predate the current PC concept…my first computer was a ZX81/Spectrum, which consisted of a keyboard and a cassette recorder which plugged into the old box TV sets.

Upon completion of High School, I went and studied Programming & Accountancy at Tertiary level, however found that I had no Passion for this, and decided to travel Internationally, whilst gaining some form of work experience.

During my travels, I found that I did have a Passion for Hospitality as many travellers have found it is easy to serve drinks, and I found that I was really good at this.  Upon my return to South Africa I again went to study at Tertiary level, however this time to further my career in Hospitality.  I do need to add, that during all my Tertiary Education periods, I have always ensured that I have had a job to sustain me, and have not always relied on my parents to support me.

Upon completion of my Hospitality Management Diploma (age 22), I essentially took my first real formal position as a Restaurant Floor Manager.  For the next 12 years I moved around within the Hospitality sector, both locally and Internationally, working at venues such as The Victoria Junction Hotel (4*) in Cape Town, The Palace of the Lost City (5*) in Sun City, The Michelangelo Hotel (5*) in Sandton, Felicite Private Island (6*) in the Seychelles, The Arklow Bay Hotel & Spa (4/5*) in Ireland, The Rosebank Hotel (4*) in Johannesburg and a few other venues.  I have covered Managerial positions such as Restaurant, Bar, Room Service, Honour (Mini) Bars, Conference & Banqueting, Procurement, Cost Control and Food & Beverage Management.  I have even had awesome opportunities to meet, cater and care for the likes of Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson, Danny Glover and a few other celebrities.

When my 1st child was born, I decided to exit the Hospitality industry due to the long and inconsistent hours, and took a huge salary knock down, so as to take a position promoting natural herbal supplements in pharmacies with the potential of a position as Area Sales Representative, which did come to light.  For the next few years I worked in this industry of supplying Natural Herbal Supplements in positions ranging from Area Sales Representative, Regional Sales Manager, to National Sales Manager, before I was retrenched.

At this time, the only position I was able to find was a Sales Representative position in the Medical Aid IT industry (a company that handles electronic Medical Aid claims between pharmacies/doctors & the Medical Schemes), which kept me busy for a 9 month stretch before my contract was cancelled.

And so I entered the Glass Processing Tools industry as a Sales Representative, again being retrenched.  I will say though, my experience and skills in Hospitality always helped me out, as every time I became unemployed, I was able to take a waitering position to cover financial shortages until I was able to find re-employment.

I was picked up by 1 of my clients at the time as a Sales Representative, and was able to prove myself worthy of the Managing Director roll of this medium sized Interior Design Company creating & manufacturing Functional & Display Art from Glass, Aluminium & Stainless Steel.

Then came the biggest crisis in my Life…Divorce…the situation required relocation due to financial constraints…which also led to unemployment and a huge uncertainty as to what to do for the future.  It also made me a single parent, which I am sure any other single parent can tell you is a 24/7 job in itself.

I decided to take the last of my savings and to go and study again.  This time back to my roots of IT, I studied Web Design & Online Marketing.  Upon completion of these, there was still a huge lack of motivation, self discipline, passion & direction (probably due to the divorce, as I am now single for the 1st time in 16 years), even though I was keeping myself busy by building websites for clients and doing some online marketing for others.  The great thing is that I am working for myself.

Then I came across Wealthy Affiliate, an Online Training Academy, which has and still is teaching me how to increase my online earnings.  Together with this, the family Stamp Collection has become my future and my online business, which keeps me busy, and creates a stable income for me to be able to look after myself and my 2 wonderful kids.


During the course of the creation of this website, and the cataloguing of our stamp collection, we will be learning about everything stamps related, and as such will be increasing our knowledge & skills in this field.  We will be posting articles, blogs and new content that will be of value to you the reader/visitor, which will be able to help you with your stamp collection or business.  So should you have any questions, kindly feel free to contact me on carl.richter@webmail.co.za at anytime.

The following are those, for whom this Project is being undertaken…

The Future Family Richter

Paige Richter (born 2005, Johannesburg, South Africa)Paige Richter

Paige is a born academic, she loves to learn and to succeed in her academics.

She enjoys the outdoors as well, partaking in field hokkie, netball, swimming, gymnastics & cycling.

She is exceptionally neat and “Everything Has a Place, & Everything In It’s Place”.

Her current goal:  To become a Doctor

Dylan Richter (born 2007, Johannesburg, South Africa)Dylan Richter

Dylan loves working with his hands, and also enjoys the outdoors, doing rugby where Paige does hokkie, but also partaking, and joining her with all the other activities.

He may not be as neat as his sister, but he succeeds just as well and can come up with some of the most hilarious saying.

His current goal:  Not to sit detention