VALE - Simon Dunkerley 1959-2009
By Glen Stephens
(This was the 2 facing pages tribute that appeared in the April 2009 “Stamp News” magazine.)
It is my sad task to report that Simon Dunkerley, a good friend and stamp dealer colleague for 30 years, passed away at home in mid February.
Simon had health problems for some time - he had just turned 50 years of age.
Simon Dunkerley was a leading Melbourne dealer in errors and rarities etc, and wrote a "Stamp News" column each month.
A past President of ASDA (APTA), and member of the PTS in London, he had served on the Expertising Committee of the Royal Philatelic Society of Victoria. (RPSV)
Simon actively consulted with the Editor of Stanley Gibbons catalogues each year to keep them updated with true market prices, and new error and missing colour discoveries.
Likewise with the Australasian Commonwealth Specialists’ Catalogue (ACSC) Editor.
He was especially active in getting crooks banned from ebay, who offered re-gums, forged official perfins and overprints, and postmarks from this region.
About thirty ‘different’ sellers - nearly all the same person, were banned by ebay, and he thus saved collectors an absolute fortune due to his tireless work in that field – right up until his passing – www.uetuew.notlong.com
Simon was very active in stamps at many levels ... and he started at a very young age.
The "age" rules were changed at the Brighton Philatelic Society so that he could join at the tender age of 12 and receive approval books. (The age HAD been 18.)
Simon won a Large Silver at the 'Cuppex 87' National for his exhibit of Western Australia postal fiscal stamps.
He was one of the most knowledgeable and most respected dealers to ever sell stamps in this country, and he will be missed enormously. By dealers and collectors alike. A real gentleman. No collector or dealer ever said a bad word about Simon.
Simon was my best friend in the Dealer Community, and his wise advice and counsel, and input over the decades was immense - and generously given at all times.
He would often phone me around midnight for hours long chats, as he like me, was quite the ‘night owl’.
His knowledge of Australian stamps was encyclopaedic, and without referring to books he could generally answer the most detailed of questions.
Simon was a Foundation member with me of www.stampboards.com since start-up in April 2007, and he actively served as a Volunteer Moderator, working for the benefit of the other members there.
He made over 750 posts on that Bulletin Board, and the stamp knowledge and copious detail in each one was a feature, and is a permanent legacy to him.
Those posts perfectly summed up Simon's approach to stamps - he never commented on anything until he had thought about it carefully, and had thoroughly researched all his facts.
I'll miss him greatly.
We had countless dinners together, on 3 continents over the decades, and he was a real gentleman and man of honour.
Simon and Angela both spent a great deal of time and energy on Christian Church related activities, and I know those religious among us will have them both in their prayers.
My sincere condolences to wife Angela, and his two children Stephanie and Andrew at this difficult time. His funeral was held February 27th.
Scores of friends and colleagues from all over the globe left pages of tributes to Simon here – www.ziewej.notlong.com – please join them if you wish.
The following is taken from a trade magazine interview Simon gave me -
"My introduction to the stamp trade saw me working after school for a local dealer, soaking, sorting and packing stamps," he told me.
"At the ripe old age of 12, I was trusted to run that shop for a week! Paid at the princely sum of 80¢ an hour, I was able to carefully add to my collection."
"I soon became fascinated in the King George V head issues of Australia and began to haunt the stamp shops several times a week, and I even started attending stamp auctions. From that point onwards, I could see that my future lay in the world of stamp hinges, perforations, and watermarks."
Fast forward to January 1977, when Dunkerley joined the stamp trade full time.
He initially worked for the legendary firm of Robson Lowe in Melbourne, under the guidance of Ray Kelly.
Simon went on: "As auction describer, I very quickly had to learn the ropes. I vividly recall my first morning, when Ray handed me an important collection of NSW ‘Sydney View’ stamps."
"Having never ever before seen a Sydney View stamp, it was suddenly my job to classify them by catalogue number, grade them by condition, and place a fair estimate on about 80 individual copies.”
“I guess I learned fairly quickly, as the stamps sold well, the vendor was happy. Ray was happy and I was overjoyed at actually being paid to learn about stamps!"
In October of 1977, Dunkerley changed firms and began working for Rodney A. Perry in Melbourne, who ran major public auctions and had a strong mail-order retail business.
For the next 3½ years, coinciding with the phenomenal boom in prices for stamp material worldwide, Simon worked as purchasing and sales manager.
A major part of his job was to fly to every Australian state and inspect virtually every lot at every main auction.
"The sheer volume of the material I handled and viewed, from every corner of the world, gave me a genuine understanding of relative scarcity, and condition parameters," he said.
"This is something you can never learn from books. Working for Australia's leading firm during that heady period was an invaluable apprenticeship, the like of which few dealers anywhere in the world have had the opportunity to experience."
In 1981, he fulfilled a desire to study by completing a Bachelor of Economics degree at Monash University. He then studied part-time for two years towards an MBA at Melbourne University.
At the same time, Simon commenced his long term career of dealing mail order from home. This expanded to a full-time career in 1987.
Simon built a well respected "niche" business specializing in error and variety stamps of Australasia.
One item he fondly recalls handling is the legendary Western Australia 1854 4d "Inverted Frame" which he sold in 1992 for $A60,000.
I spent many days with him in New York in 2007, where he spent over a million dollars buying Arthur Gray’s Kangaroos for clients.
Dunkerley’ s tertiary background in economics and statistics assisted in another of his passions.
He created an extensive database on price changes of key Australasian and Australian Colonies stamps, ranging back to 1960, using Stanley Gibbons catalogue values.
Simon Dunkerley at the 2008 National Show in Canberra, manning the www.stampboards.com table
Photo I took of Simon and good friend Richard Juzwin in New York in 2007.
All the superb articles my best friend in the stamp world, Simon Dunkerley published in “Stamp News” over many years have been rebuilt from the original files. They are re-produced HERE in full, and for perpetuity, with the permission of “Stamp News”, and his widow Angela, and I hope current and future collectors thus gain from this man’s enormous philatelic knowledge.
The VALE articles on his sad passing in February 2009 are found HERE and HERE and HERE - the latter link allows clients and friends of Simon’s to leave messages.
Full Time Stamp Dealer in Australia for 30 years.
Life Member -
American Stamp Dealers' Association. (New York)
Also Member - Philatelic Traders' Society. (London) ANDA. (Melbourne) American Philatelic Society, etc