Stamps Collecting and Philately

A George Washington stamp of United States, issued in 1908
A George Washington stamp of United States, issued in 1908 | Source
World's oldest postage stamp
World's oldest postage stamp

What is Philately?

Philately is the study of postal stamps and postal history. Although it is generally related to collecting postage stamps, it is not necessary that all of stamp collectors study the history of stamps.On the other hand, it is not necessary that a philatelist possesses the stamps which he studies. The person who studies this subject, is known as a philatelist.

The study is not limited to stamps, but also includes study of other postal stationery, like Post Cards, Inland Letters, Postal Envelops, First Day Covers, Special Labels etc. It also includes study of cancellation marks, including special cancellation marks.

Branches of Philately

There are many branches of philately, which are related to specialization of the field of study. The most known branches are:

Thematic philately: Study of stamps on a specific theme. Some of the most popular themes are: Science, Sports, History, Personalities, Events etc.

Postal Stationary: The study of post cards, envelopes with stamps, inland letters, aerograms etc.

Postal History: Study of history of postal stamps and postal communication

Aerophilately: Philately related to airmail

Some Philatelic Terms

Aerogramme: A piece of paper issued by postal department for public for International communication

Air Mail: Mail sent by air, i.e. by airplanes

Cancellation Mark: The mark which cancels the value of the stamp for reuse

Commemorative Stamp: A special stamp issued for remembrance of a person or occasion

Definitive Stamp: Stamps for regular use

First Day Cover: A postal cover with newly issued stamp and a special cancellation mark. This cover is available at major post offices only on the first day of issue of the stamp

Inland Letter: A piece of paper issued by postal department for public for inland communication

International Reply Coupon: A coupon which can be exchanged with postal stamps for reply communication. This is used as reply postage for international communication

Mint Stamp: A postage stamps in its original state of issue, never used and was not pasted anywhere

Perforation: Holes between two stamps made for easy separation of them

Philatelic Bureau: A department in Post Offices where newly issued postal stamps and related material is sold

Philatelist: The person who study philately

Philately: Study of postal stamps and postal history

Postage Stamp: A piece of paper with the name of the country, price and an image or artwork, which is used as a proof of payment of postage

Post Card: A card issued by Postal Department for public for communication

Sea Mail: Mail sent by seat routes

Stamp Catalog: A catalog containing market prices of rare stamps.

Stamp Collector: The person who collects postal stamps

Surface Mail: Mail sent by surface routes

Thematic Philately: Study of postal stamps on specific themes

Topical Philately: Study of postal stamps on specific topics

First Day Cover

First Day Cover issued by Nederland Post on the occasion of 1956 Olympics.
First Day Cover issued by Nederland Post on the occasion of 1956 Olympics. | Source

Some Early Philatelists

Oscar Berger-Levrault was a stamp collector from Strasbourg, France. (1826-1903) He is known as one of the early philatelists. He is credited for his contribution in systematic and scientific collection of stamps and postal stationary. He was one of the inventors of stamp catalog.

Sir Daniel Cooper (1821-1902) was Founder President of Philatelic Society of London, now known as Royal Philatelic Society London.

Ernest de Silva (1887-1957) was a Sri Lankan businessman, and one of the world's most known philatelists.

Emilio Diena (1860-1941) was a researcher and authority on Italian stamps.

Reverend Robert Brisco Earée (1846-1928) was an Eanglish philatelist, expert in studies of philatelic forgeries.

Edward Benjamin Evans (1846-1922) was a distinguished philatelist and philatelic journalist, known for his specialization in stamps of Mauritius, Confederate States of America and the Indian feudatory states.

Adelaide Lucy Fenton (1824-1897) was the first female philatelist and philatelic journalist.

King George V (1865-1936) was a king of United Kingdom, known for his Royal collection of stamps.

Edward Stanley Gibbons (1840-1913) was founder of Stanley Gibbons Ltd., a publishing house especially established for publishing stamp catalogues, stamp-related books and magazines.

Rare Postage Stamps Video

More by this Author


Comments 13 comments

Darja1981 3 years ago

Nice hub about philately, I used to collect stamps in my teenage years and I still have them. I have a few stamps that are more than 120 years old.


srsddn profile image

srsddn 3 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

Thanks for putting Philately in historic perspective. I used to collect stamps from childhood but now I have passed it on to my son. It is a great hobby. Thumbed up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for all the useful details about philately, jainismus. I used to collect stamps when I was a child, but I didn't realize that there was so much more to philately! Thanks for the information.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting and you have informed me well of the study on stamps, thanks for enlightening me.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi, my partner used to collect stamps, its so fascinating, especially the old victorian penny blacks and reds, really interesting, thanks!


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Thank you Angela for reading and finding this Hub useful.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Thank you Catherine for expressing your views on this topic. It was nice to know you have the same hobby.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

teaches12345, you are absolutely right. In near future, postage stamps are going antique things and they will become more valuable, as probably there will be no new issues of stamps.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

My son collected stamps when he was young. He had such a great collection of them and they were so interesting to look at. I wonder if they will become obsolete as more and more people use the internet for mail services. Then they will really become valuable!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

This is actually very timely information for me -- I happen to have a very old stamp scrapbook, full of stamps and some loose (inherited) and I've been trying to research a bit to see if I should keep it or just try and sell the whole lot on eBay. Thank you so much for the timely (at least to me) information -- excellent writing! Best/Sis


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 4 years ago from Los Angeles

Hello janisimus, What a nice overview of stamp collecting. Stamps, in additional to their history, are beautiful little pieces of art to me. I especially love to look at the older engraved ones through my loupe. I've lost interest in the new stamps because they lack the special qualities they once had. I still have my collection that I work on every now and then as a rainy day hobby. :)


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Thank you Sir, for reading and expressing your views. Philately is really great hobby, which tells us about a lot of things........


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Good summary of a hobby/passion that I always thought would be fascinating. There are such wonderful stamps out there, depicting so much history....I think it would be a great hobby!

Nice job my friend!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working