Charles and Stephanie Bromser are a rare husband and wife philatelic team from Melbourne, working together to tell the Space story in all its glory. Their unique philatelic collection is one that is not only impressive, but has also earned them a box full of awards from exhibitions in Australia and across the world.
Charles’ philatelic journey began in 1957 when he joined a local Rocket Stamp Club where he would receive a bag of rocket stamps each month. At just 12 years of age, his parents moved to the Netherlands, where he continued his journey collecting stamps from all over Europe.
“My parents lived right by a stamp market so it was easy for me to continue collecting stamps. The market was interesting and I eventually had my own stall where I sold and traded stamps.”
Charles’ fascination with all things space intensified during his university years, where he studied physics and cosmology. He began collecting space-related items and used them as a way to tell the story of ‘Our Solar System’.
When he turned 22, Charles moved back to Australia. He met Stephanie in Sydney who became intrigued by his collection.
“She discovered my stamp albums,” he said. “At that stage, I wasn’t collecting as much. I remember her telling me that I either do something with my collection or get rid of them. So together, we became joint collectors.”
The former high school science teacher can’t put a number to how large their collection has grown over the years. Today, the couple are well-known exhibitors, showcasing their impressive collection to philatelic enthusiasts all over the world.
“Stephanie is the researcher and the story teller and I am the hunter gatherer. We have a room full of space related material. I stopped counting at 10,000,” Charles said. “Every piece tells a story and the two most interesting pieces in our collection have fascinating historical tales.”
“Stephanie and I own one of the first pieces of Rocket Mail from Austria. Back in the 30s people were looking for ways to deliver mail more promptly. Why wait weeks or days to receive mail when you can get it in 40 minutes? Stephanie and I came across this in a stamp auction in West Brisbane and now it’s part of our collection."
“Another interesting part of our collection is a piece of Space Mail I received from a cosmonaut, which I had exchanged for something ‘Australian’. Of course NASA has now forbidden Space Mail after Apollo 15. Apart from Russia, astronauts across the world have been banned from taking covers into space so this exchange was very special to me.”
The philatelic pair are now gearing up for their next event, where they might showcase their exhibit ‘Movers and Shakers’ at the world stamp exhibition, the once-in-a-decade event that will be held in New York in 2016 and will celebrate the most important people of the last millennium.
This article was produced at the time of publication and will not be updated.