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

Lifelong love collecting coins

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 left in the world of the coins which were created by stamping the centres out 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 to 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.”