A Frenchman, Georges Herpin, coined the word Philately, meaning the study of postage stamps, stamped envelopes, postmarks, postcards and other material relating to postal delivery. It has been derived from Greek “philos” meaning “love” and “ateleia” meaning “that which is tax-free”; the post came free of charge to the recipient rendering it untaxed.
The hobby of collecting stamps perhaps started with the lady who advertised in The Times of London in 1841 – “a young lady, being desirous of covering her dressing-room with cancelled postage stamps.”
Stamp collecting is all about collecting stamps and arranging them in albums. Philately, is real serious stamp study. A philatelist collects stamps, arranges them and knows a whole lot about its history, manufacture and about the information portrayed on it.
Philately has been classified into
* Traditional – collecting stamps country wise. This includes collecting all kinds of stamps, essays, proofs, watermarks, gum, errors and forgeries.
* Postal history – tracing the postal history of a country through philatelic material. This includes collecting postal articles showing markings, postal routes, postal rates, development of postal system, automation of mail. disaster mail, maritime mail etc.
* Postal stationery – collecting post cards, envelopes, covers etc. The collection can include registration mail, acknowledgements, certificates of posting and telegraph mail.
* Aero-philately – collecting aviation and airmail stamps, postal articles carried or dropped from air, cancellations, rocket mail, balloon mail and pigeon mail.
* Thematic Philately – collecting stamps pertaining to a theme like birds, flowers etc.
* Literature Philately – collecting literature on stamps like catalogues, research articles, handbooks, philatelic periodicals etc.
* Fiscal Philately – collection of revenue stamps and stamped documents which have been used to pay revenues or taxes.
* Maximaphilly – collection of picture postcards showing the stamp design or a picture with some relation to the stamp on it.
* Astrophilately – collecting stamps related to space, rocket mail, astronomy, history of space research etc.
* Mophila – collection of modern stamps restricted to last 15 years.
* Social Philately – collection of postal articles describing the social history. The exhibit can contain upto 40% non philatelic material to supplement the exhibit