Unwanted collections can prove a major boost for bird conservation – can you help?
GOT A COLLECTION of stamps, coins, postcards, or similar? Want to help international bird conservation? You could clear out your attic and at the same time play a part in saving some of the world’s most threatened bird species, thanks to Collectibles for Conservation. Back in March 2014, Birdlife Species Champion Daniel Mirecki joined forces with Birdlife International with the aim of raising funds for the Birdlife Preventing Extinctions Programme, which has already benefited species such as Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Sociable Lapwing, Northern Bald Ibis, Canada Warbler, Philippine Eagle and Secretarybird. In many cases, such as the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, the support of the Programme has staved off imminent extinction, and offers hope that a sustainable wild population can be rebuilt. Daniel’s company, Cover Story, has expertise in postal history (old letter and correspondence archives), philately (old or specialised stamp collections), and postcards from around the world, and his idea was to sell on donated collections in aid of Birdlife International. Using his professional skills and connections, he can value donations and then ensure that they are placed in the auctions where they will sell best. Donations already received include several stamp collections, one of them bird-themed, coins including a 2,000-year-old example from Afghanistan, and a number of historic bank-notes. A 0% vendor’s commission has been arranged with leading auctioneers David Feldman in Switzerland, and Grosvenor Auctions in London. All costs are borne by Daniel, meaning donors aren’t charged, and all proceeds go directly towards helping birds. Cover Story has also made contacts with a network of specialists in other fields, in order to maximise the return on non-postal collections. Many lovingly compiled and much-treasured collections have now been passed down to younger generations – some of whom are less interested in their parents’ and grandparents’ hobbies and pastimes. When this happens, collectibles and collections are often stored carefully away, and usually remain hidden in cupboards or drawers for years on end. Daniel said: “Please scour your cupboards for collectibles. Perhaps you have inherited a collection, which is of little interest to you but has a financial value, which can now be released to help save a threatened species from extinction.” See the panel for details of how you can help. Donated collections provide vital resources to help birds in need