COIN LOVER VIS­ITS

Chinchilla News - - FRONT PAGE - Amani Vassiliou Amani.Vassiliou@chin­chillanews.com.au

THEY say you never for­get your first love and if any can at­test to that truth, it would be John Platts.

Mr Platts has been an avid coin and stamp col­lec­tor since he was a young boy.

“When peo­ple ask what’s your first love, aren’t you sup­posed to say your wife? ” Mr Platts laughed.

“Not me; this is my first love. I en­joy it, I live it and I breathe it.”

For four weeks out of the yearly cal­en­dar, Mr Platts trav­els town-to-town across re­gional Queens­land armed with his vast col­lec­tion of an­tique es­tate jew­ellery, stamps and coins.

Over the week­end, Mr Platts trav­elled to Chin­chilla set­ting up shop in­side the Chin­chilla Catholic Church Hall.

Mr Platts said the col­lec­tion was born from a “hobby that got out hand”.

“My par­ents were in­ter­ested in stamps and coins be­fore I was, and they re­ally in­stilled that pas­sion into me.

“I worked on the milkrun when I was about ten and all my money went into coins.”

“The first ma­jor one I bought was for $1500, and, now it’s worth over $100,000.”

That lucky coin Mr Platts re­calls is the Aus­tralian Ho­ley Dol­lar - the first coin made in Aus­tralia.

To­day, there are only 15 of the coins left in the world, which were cre­ated by stamp­ing the cen­tres out of 40,000 im­ported Span­ish sil­ver eight-real coins.

For Mr Platts, that first pur­chase was only the be­gin­ning.

“When I left school at 15, I had a heap of coins in my piggy bank,” he said.

“I de­cided rather than work­ing for any­one else, I would open up my own busi­ness.”

De­spite the ups and downs of the lo­cal econ­omy, that busi­ness called John Platts Stamps and Coins has stood proudly in the Mackay CBD for close to 40 years

And what you may ask is the con­tin­u­ing al­lure of coin col­lect­ing?

“Ev­ery coin has a his­tory to it,” Mr Platz said.

“I’ve got Ro­man coins that date back to 2500 years.

“Imag­ine if they could talk, oh it would be fan­tas­tic.

“They would just tell you so many sto­ries.”

In his 16th year vis­it­ing Chin­chilla, Mr Platts im­mersed vis­i­tors seek­ing shel­ter from the rain an op­por­tu­nity to be im­mersed in his har­boured vast wealth of knowl­edge and pas­sion.

“I have the 1927 one pound note on dis­play which is very very rare,” he said.

“In 1927 it was not worth a lot of money be­cause it was just be­fore the Great De­pres­sion, but, to­day it is worth about a thou­sand dol­lars.

“There is also the fa­mous 1930’s penny which is one of Aus­tralia’s rarest coins. They only struck 1600 of them and to­day it’s worth $20,000.”

A ques­tion Mr Platts is all too happy to an­swer, is will the hum­ble stamp and coin col­lec­tion lose its pop­u­lar­ity in face of money’s shift­ing na­ture.

“Yes, it will be­come a cash­less so­ci­ety but coin col­lect­ing will al­ways be a big hobby,” he said.

“The world is in a great era of change and the in­dus­try is only get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter.”

PHOTO: AMANI VASSILIOU

LIFE­TIME LOVE: Coin and stamp col­lec­tor John Platts show­cas­ing the rare 1927 one pound note and the fa­mous 1930s penny.

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