Issue Date: 12 May 2021
Stamp Design: Nancy Torres López
Sheet Composition: 25 stamps
Stamp Size: 40 x 48 mm
Printing Method: Offset lithography
Paper: Matte white couché, self-adhesive 110 g/m²
Printer: Telleres de impresión de Estampillas y Valores (TIEV)
Quantity: 100,000 stamps
A philatelist is a person who pursues the study of postage stamps and related objects and of postal history. The word “philately” is the English transliteration of the French philatélie, coined by Georges Herpin in 1864. Herpin stated that stamps had been collected and studied for the previous six or seven years and a better name was required for the new hobby than timbromanie (roughly “stamp quest”), which was disliked. The alternative terms timbromania, timbrophily and timbrology gradually fell out of use as philately gained acceptance during the 1860s. Herpin took the Greek root word φιλ(ο)- phil(o)-, meaning “an attraction or affinity for something”, and ἀτέλεια ateleia, meaning “exempt from duties and taxes” to form philatelie.
Some historians believe that the first philatelist appeared on the day of the release of the world’s first postage stamp, 6 May 1840, when the Liverson, Denby and Lavie London law office sent a letter to Scotland franked with ten uncut Penny Blacks, stamped with the postmark “LS.6MY6. 1840.” In 1992 at an auction in Zurich, this envelope was sold for 690 thousand francs.
Traditional philately has been stated to be the study of the technical aspects of stamp production and stamp identification, including:
- The stamp design process
- The paper used (wove, laid and including watermarks)
- The method of printing (engraving, typography)
- The gum
- The method of separation (perforation, rouletting)
- Any overprints on the stamp
- Any security markings, underprints or perforated initials (“perfins”)
- The study of philatelic fakes and forgeries
Some of the areas studied by philatelists include:
- Thematic philately, also known as topical philately, is the study of what is depicted on individual stamps. There are hundreds of popular subjects, such as birds, and ships, poets, presidents, monarchs, maps, aircraft, spacecraft, sports, and insects on stamps. Stamps depicted on stamps also constitute a topical area of collecting. Interesting aspects of topical philately include design mistakes and alterations; for instance, the recent editing out of cigarettes from the pictures used for United States stamps, and the stories of how particular images came to be used.
- Postal history studies the postal systems and how they operate and, or, the study of postage stamps and covers and associated material illustrating historical episodes of postal systems both before and after the introduction of the adhesive stamps. It includes the study of postmarks, post offices, postal authorities, postal rates and regulations and the process by which letters are moved from sender to recipient, including routes and choice of conveyance. A classic example is the Pony Express, which was the fastest way to send letters across the United States during the few months that it operated. Covers that can be proven to have been sent by the Pony Express are highly prized by collectors.
- Aerophilately is the branch of postal history that specializes in the study of airmail. Philatelists have observed the development of mail transport by air from its beginning, and all aspects of airmail services have been extensively studied and documented by specialists.
- Astrophilately is the branch of postal history that specializes in the study of stamps and postmarked envelopes that are connected to outer space.
- Postal stationery includes stamped envelopes, postal cards, letter sheets, aérogrammes (airletter sheets) and wrappers, most of which have an embossed or imprinted stamp or indicia indicating the prepayment of postage.
- Erinnophilia is the study of objects that look like stamps, but are not postal stamps. Examples include Easter Seals, Christmas Seals, propaganda labels, and private local post stamps, and more.
- Philatelic literature documents the results of the philatelic study and includes thousands of books and periodicals.
- Revenue philately is the study of stamps used to collect taxes or fees on such things as legal documents, court fees, receipts, tobacco, alcoholic drinks, drugs and medicines, playing cards, hunting licenses and newspapers.
- Maximaphily is the study of Maximum Cards. Maximum Cards can be defined as a picture postcard with a postage stamp on the same theme and cancellation, with a maximum concordance between all three.
Stamp collecting is has been one of the world’s most popular hobbies since the late nineteenth century with the rapid growth of the postal service, and is generally accepted as one of the areas that make up the wider subject of philately. A philatelist may, but does not have to, collect stamps. It is not uncommon for the term philatelist to be used to mean a stamp collector. Many casual stamp collectors accumulate stamps for sheer enjoyment and relaxation without worrying about the tiny details. The creation of a large or comprehensive collection, however, generally requires some philatelic knowledge and will usually contain areas of philatelic studies.
The world’s oldest philatelic society is the Royal Philatelic Society London, which was founded on 10 April 1869, as the Philatelic Society. In North America, major national societies include the American Philatelic Society, the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada and the Mexico-Elmhurst Philatelic Society International.
In 1926, the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP) was founded in Zurich, where international philatelic exhibitions have been regularly organized since 1929. The first World Philatelic Exhibition in Prague was held between August and September 1962; in 1976, the FIP brought together national societies from 57 countries, which held over 100 exhibitions, and in 1987, over 60 countries entered the FIP. From 28 August to 1 September 2004, the first World Stamp Championship was held in Singapore.
In 1934, the idea to celebrate an annual Postage Stamp Day was suggested by Hans von Rudolphi, a German philatelist. The idea was adopted rapidly in Germany, and gained later adoption in other countries. Stamp Day is a memorial day established by the postal administration of a country and annually celebrated, which is designed to attract public attention to, popularize the use of, and expand the reach of postal correspondence, and contribute to the development of philately.
It is unknown when and under whose auspices World Philatelist Day was first declared but several entities have issued stamps to mark this special date in recent years.