THE BEGINNING – WHERE DID IT ALL START???
In 1965 Nonno Giordano died and left his stamp collection to his 3 grandchildren. The two boys weren’t interested and as Nonno had lived with them since they were little, all three had been involved in looking at and sorting out the stamp collection which dates back to the 1880’s. Melise, the oldest decided she would attempt to sort the collection.
When Willy’s Dad died in 1961, Willy (the second of 4 boys in the family followed by a “laatlammetjie” daughter) being the only one interested, also took over his Dad’s collection.
Willy and Melise met and married in 1972, both with stamp collections dating back to the late 19th century. Over the years, the stamps were taken out of cupboards and attempts were made at sorting and as it was such a big job with little prospect of success, the two collections just went back into the spare cupboards until the next time. Every time the stamps came out of the cupboard Willy’s interest was rekindled and he combed through the ads in the newspapers and added to the collection. Most recently (about 2013), soon after Willy retired, he decided to make a real attempt at sorting the stamps, he had a study which was dedicated to this, with a permanent table so that if necessary the stamps could be left out until the next day and nobody would fiddle.
In 2015, Carl and his children moved away from Johannesburg to the relative peace of the Garden Route. Willy’s study, with permanent tables with the stamps, became a bedroom, the stamps were put back into the cupboard and for the last year no further thought was given to the two collections which had grown quite considerably over the last 40 or so years.
On 10 September the stamp collection was discussed. Melise was worried that having been in a cupboard for so much time, there might be damage, so it was decided to make space available and the collection was unpacked. When Carl realised the magnitude of the collection he realised that it had been impossible for two people to attempt, even for 3 it is a daunting task, but with Carl’s IT background, as a family, a decision was made to sort and catalogue this collection and what better way than via the Internet.
We estimate that there are in excess of 1 millions stamps from all over the world, 90 albums full, boxes and more albums with First Day Covers and Blocks, and then still boxes for loose stamps to be sorted from scratch – there are old stamps, new stamps, blocks of stamps, first day covers, stamps from countries which no longer exist, the variety is just too much to describe.
On this Family Richter Stamp Collection website, we intend showing the world what our unique stamp collection looks like. In order to do this, we are undertaking the mammoth task of cataloguing the stamps and placing them on our website. For the time being we have decided against using software for cataloguing, but we may decide to change our minds at a later stage. This means that our website will grow on a daily basis. We are only a week into the project so are just at the beginning. We have a plan, a system and a will to complete this project. We are hoping that Paige (10) and Dylan (9) will also become interested as this project will certainly take the rest of our lives (Willy and Melise) and probably also that of Carl. It is a really exciting project and one which has brought us as a family very close together. It has also exposed Granny and Grandpa to computers on a much wider scale than we thought possible and we hope that you will follow our story as we work on showcasing our families’ collection to the rest of the world.
Those in the “granny and grandpa” age will understand and appreciate the fact that since retiring, we have spent our free time playing bridge, playing bowls and travelling this beautiful country of ours. Granny actually also goes to gym 5 times a week when we are not away from home. However, since Carl, Paige and Dylan arrived, things have changed. Although we still do the “B”’s, bridge and bowls, we also still travel about 4 times a year (however for shorter periods) we no longer have so much time to watch TV, especially the repeats which you don’t realise until the programme has been going for at least 10 minutes, no longer have so much time to read and do Sudoku’s, and of course no longer have so much time to play silly games on our computers. The decision to undertake the job of sorting and showcasing our collection to the world has meant that at our age, we have made a conscious decision to manage our time better so that we both have the time to work on our project on a daily basis.
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