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SMW LAGOS 2019 #TRAVELAFRICADAY: #SMWPOSTCARDS
After our #SMWTravelstory panel session, our next Travel Africa Day event was a meet-up session titled Postcard and Stamp Collectors’ Hangout. In this session, we discussed the World of Stamp and Postcard Collection and how they are great marketing tools for promoting tourism inside and outside Nigeria. We also discussed how stamp and postcard collectors are using social media platforms to redefine communication and encouraging people to send handwritten letters in this digital era.
Our speakers were Mr. Bayo Fadairo, the President of Lagos Philatelic Club, Mr. Laja Shoniran, the Vice- President of Lagos Philatelic Club, Dr. Raphael James, the Director General of Center of Research, Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD) and the Philatelic Bureau, Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) Representatives, Mrs. Edith Anene and Mr. Godspower Elewhe.
ABOUT STAMP AND POSTCARD COLLECTORS
Stamp Collectors are called Philatelists. They are people who collect and study stamps as a hobby. Some philatelists do not collect stamps, they just prefer to study them. While many casual stamp collectors, like me, collect stamps for fun without worrying about the tiny details. Like I prefer collecting stamps that come with postcards.
Postcard Collectors are called Deltiologists. They are people who collect postcards as a hobby. Most postcard collectors are interested in the picture side of the postcard because it tell stories about the place it comes from. There are some postcard collectors who prefer postcards that have not passed through the mails. Most Stamp collectors are usually not interested in postcards unless they have passed through the mailing process.
Stamp and Postcards are popularly known as the Siamese Twins because they both need each other to thrive
BENEFITS OF POSTCARD AND STAMP COLLECTION IN THE DIGITAL ERA
Mr. Fadairo shared how he started collecting stamps at a young age in the 1970s. One of the ways he started was by collecting his father’s used envelopes that had stamps on them. Currently he has over 1,000+ stamps in his stamp book collection. To him, collecting stamps is a huge investment like real estate. The older the stamps, the more valuable they are. In the Stamp Dealers’ Community, stamps are usually traded for a fee or trade by barter by Stamp Collectors all over the world.
He sees social media a major tool for marketing and selling stamps. In his days when there were no social media, it was hard to connect with other stamp collectors within and outside Nigeria. But now, with just a click of the button, stamp collectors all over the world are exchanging stamps with each other.
He was not interested in postcards until later in his adulthood. He started seeing its value when he got his first postcard from his pen-pal in Germany. Since then he started buying, sending and collecting postcards.
Mr. Shoniran shared how his love for arts drew him to stamp collecting. Buying artworks was proving too expensive to collect and pretty hard to store. So he resolute to collecting stamps which he sees as miniature artworks that share the stories, culture and history of a place.
He too got involved with postcards through pen-pals. Postcards, to him, are like stamps. The pictures on the postcards usually depict the culture and history of the places they are from which is part of encouraging tourism.
Dr. Raphael first heard about stamp collection after watching a movie about a girl whose late father left her his stamp collection in his will. Years after she acquired the stamp collection, she sold it for millions of dollars. Since then, Dr. Raphael has been buying and collecting stamps. He shared how he preserves his over 1,000+ stamps and how much worth some would be if sold to stamp dealers. He too sees stamps as an investment and encourages younger people to start collecting and investing in them.
As an avid traveler, he loves to explore Nigeria and loves taking pictures of her beautiful environment and diverse cultures. To document and share these memories, he makes postcards which he share with other travel enthusiasts. In his free public library, he displaces some of his stamps, postcards, coins, books and other collections which he uses to educate visitors about the history of Nigeria and the world.
Both Mrs. Anene and Mr. Elewhe shared how NIPOST has been contributing towards the Philatelic community. The Lagos Philatelic Club currently holds their monthly meetings, which holds every second Tuesday, at NIPOST Marina, Lagos Island Philately Bureau. NIPOST recently released a new stamp which was available for sale at the session.
During the Q & A session, participants shared their concerns about the lack of proper advertisement and availability of old stamps at NIPOST services all over the nation. One participant shared some of the issues he had getting information about the Philatelic Bureau at various states he visited.
I shared my current frustration with sending postcards outside Nigeria. A few days before our SMW Lagos session, I visited my post box at NIPOST Surulere. Sadly, the only thing in it was my bill to renew my post box. Over the last six months, I have not been able to send postcards outside Nigeria because it is too expensive. The last time I sent a postcard to Australia it cost One Thousand Naira (N1,000), that is about Three Dollars ($3) using the current exchange rate of N362 to $1. It used to cost a maximum of N250 (0.6 cents) sending postcards to places as far as Australia. Now it costs triple the prize. I requested for NIPOST to kindly review the stamp tarrif to make it affordable for the Nigerian postcard community to continue sending postcards outside the country and for people like me to keep my postbox open and active.
END OF SESSION
As the session came to an end, I shared my story about my love for sending postcards and how I joined an online community called Postcrossing. It is a social media platform that allows people to send and receive postcards from random postcard lovers around the world. I encouraged participants to join the platform and start connecting with other postcard lovers from all over the world.
For their last words, the speakers encouraged participants to start collecting stamps and to start seeing them as future investments.
After the session, Dr. Raphael gave out free postcards. Participants got to write themselves or send postcards to loved ones and NIPOST offered to post them. To send a postcard within Nigeria costs N50 (0.1 cent).
For my #SMWPostcards outfit, I partnered with the following ‘Made-in-Naija’ brands: