THE theft of stamp collections happens so often that Daryl now prefers to use only his first name when speaking with the media.
"One of the worst things that we've found over the years too is vandals getting in," he said. They just do all manner of unspeakable bodily functions over them."
Daryl, of the Waverley Philatelic Society, has been collecting stamps since 1978. A friend of the family had been sending stamps home to his children and it wasn't long before Daryl was re-hooked on his childhood hobby.
"You find that most philatelists, if you ask them how much their collections are worth, will probably stare at you blankly and say, 'I don't know'," he jokes.
"Most of the collections are like mine. We've probably spent more on documenting and cataloguing than what we'll ever get returned in value."
While some people collect stamps with themes like animals, Daryl collects his according to country.
But the 64-year-old says this isn't too great a feat. Sweden started issuing stamps in about 1858. By 1990 the country only had about 1618 stamps.
"Use of the internet's changed how we collect a lot," Daryl says. "It has spawned hundreds more websites just simply by collectors advertising to sell their stamps. "A lot of stamps are bought on eBay and similar websites."
But for beginners, the best source of stamps are places such as the Waverley Philatelic Society and other local clubs. The society has more than 90 members aged from their 50s to their 80s.
"We find a lot of the younger people don't come in until they're older," Daryl says.
Despite the advent of email and other electronic means of communication, he believes stamp collecting is unlikely to die out.
"In the forseeable future with all the electronic mail and that sort of business, it may make inroads but the post office makes too much money ... to stop issuing stamps."
The Waverley Philatelic Society is holding its monthly evening meeting in the Waverley Community Centre, 41 Millers Crescent, Mt Waverley, at 7.30pm on Thursday, February 14, and its monthly daytime meeting at the Mount Waverley Uniting Church from 9.30am on Friday, February 15. Details: Dennis 9898 4102.