Do you practice philately?

If you collect stamps, you are a philatelist!

french postage stamp1Philately (a noun) means the collection and study of postage and imprinted stamps, i.e. stamp collecting.

How did this word’s usage come about? The story goes……


french postage stamp2“George Herpin was a French stamp fancier back in the 1860s, when stamps were a fairly new invention. Before stamps, the recipient of a letter – not the sender – had to pay the postage. Stamps forced the sender to foot the bill, and created a lot of stamp lovers among folks on the receiving end of the mail – and a mania for stamp collecting.


french postage stamp3“Timbromania” was toyed with as a term for this new hobby – from the French word for stamp, “timbre.” But when Herpin suggested “philatélie” (anglicized to “philately”), combining the Greek root phil-, meaning “loving,” with Greek ateleia, meaning “tax-exemption,” stamp lovers everywhere took a fancy to it and the name stuck.”



4 thoughts on “Do you practice philately?

  1. I used to collect stamps when I was young, though not really seriously. I started mainly because I had half a dozen pen pals from around the world. I also had some old stamps from mail my mother had saved from the early 1900s. I still have the stamps – I think. But I never had any worth much. I did have an elderly friend once who had huge stamp books and owned at least one of the first issues (known as the black stamp) from the Isle of Jersey, from the mid-1800s if I remember right. I think his collection was worth a lot of money, but when he died, his daughter had to sell to a dealer, so didn’t get near what it was worth.


    1. I never had any collections when I was young, now I collect books (but only those I love to read). Other than being an interesting word, I’ve never really collected anything. Too busy dreaming and writing and playing in the garden!
      Nice to see you here Diane.


      1. I have a huge book collection, too. I will soon have to rent an extra apartment just to keep books in. 🙂 I have a small collection of porcelain dolls as well, but I haven’t really collected anything for a long time – except maybe dust!


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