Question: I would like to know if there are any active stamp collecting clubs on Oahu. My grandfather, who was an avid stamp collector, passed away recently. Cleaning his things, we found a large amount of loose stamps, stamp albums, postcards and other stamp memorabilia that he collected throughout the years. We want to donate it to a stamp club if there is one.
Hawaii Philatelic Society
can help appraise stamps
Answer: Call the Hawaiian Philatelic Society at 521-5721.
The society has about 350 adult members -- about half from Hawaii and some from as far away as Japan, Germany and South America, as well as the mainland United States -- and 15 to 20 members in its youth club, said President Wayne Yakuma. Either he or another member also could advise you as to whether there is any valuable, or at least marketable, stamp in your grandfather's collection.
The adult group meets the second Monday night of every month, currently at the Richards Street YWCA. The youth group meets the Saturday after the second Monday (not in July, however) at Manoa School.
You might also check out stamp collectors at the Hawaii All-Collectors Show to be held July 20-22 at the Blaisdell exhibition hall.
This year, the society will be selling stamp covers marking the 25th anniversary of the sailing of the Polynesian vessel Hokule'a. "Some were mailed from French Polynesia, and others were actually taken down on the canoe and then brought back on the canoe and postmarked on the day they returned," Yakuma said.
We asked him about the Hawaiian Philatelic Society, as well as about stamp collecting in general.
"Right now, the stamp market is weak, as most of the collectible markets are," he said. "So now is not the best time to sell, but depending on what (you) want to do, (you) should talk to someone who has some knowledge" of the stamps in your grandfather's collection.
There are a LOT of stamps out there. In 1960 there used to be only one Scott's annual listing all the stamps, Yakuma said. Today, there are five or six catalogues, each one 700 to 800 pages long, he said.
The Hawaiian Philatelic Society, naturally, is interested in the various facets of Hawaiian stamp collecting. "We have an 'expertising' committee which looks at old Hawaiian stamps and 'expertises' them," Yakuma said.
There are some Hawaiian stamps that you can still get for 50 to 75 cents "at the right auction at the right time," he noted, while others might be "ultra-expensive." He recalled seeing close up a stamp owned by former Advertiser Publisher Thurston Twigg-Smith's Persis Corp. that sold for half a million dollars.
Yakuma also pointed out there is a big difference between being an "accumulator" and being a "collector."
"When you're able to talk about (stamps), able to write the stories about it and understand the whys and wherefores, then you're collecting," he said. "When you just go down to the post office and buy the stuff, then you're accumulating it because you really don't know what the heck you're getting."
Although he admits to still simply accumulating some stamps, Yakuma says, for the serious collector, "there is a lot of study involved if you're going to know at least what's going on."
Q: I lived in Hawaii from 1980 to 1990. I believe I am owed a state income tax refund for some of those years. Is there a way to find out?
A: Call the state Department of Taxation at 1-800-222-3229, said spokeswoman Linda Cacpal. By providing your Social Security number, staff will be able to access your files. For Hawaii residents wishing to check their files, call 587-4242.
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