My first article of this blog 10 surprising reasons to be a philately enthusiast is the first contribution to this blog. This whole idea is driven by my childhood passion for collecting stamps. As a five-year-old, I was fascinated by different types of stamps that I came across. I loved the different colors, shapes, sizes, and, pictures on those beautiful pieces of history. I rekindled my passion after forty years and uncovered a whole new world of historic beauty hidden in different wonderful pieces of stamps that I collected and researched. Let’s embark upon a whole new journey into the intriguing and historic world of stamps and I will try to help my readers as much as possible.
Any discussion or written material about the world of Philately cannot be complete without giving credit to Sir Rowland Hill.
He was a British Administrator, Educator, and the Father of modern-day postal service which was adopted globally and that has transitioned into what it is today. He propounded postal reforms and formulated them in his publication “Postal Office Reform” between 1835 and 1837.
He observed and proved that the major cost of Postal transportation was due to processing of the letters and related documents and not the costs of carriage to their intended destination because the end recipient was responsible for the payment on delivery. Many of these were refused which caused a two-way journey with no revenue for the Exchequer.
He introduced with the help of the Exchequer two instruments (A)Prepaid Envelopes and (B)First Postage Stamp. The stamp designs were One-Penny Black and Two Penny Blue both bearing a profile of Queen Victoria. The stamps were launched on 1st May 1840 and released for commercial use on 6th May 1840.
These postage stamps were adopted semiofficially by the New York postal department in 1842 for intercity despatch. Subsequently, the Brazilian empire and the Swiss Cantons of Zurich and Geneva adopted and published stamps. In the year 1847 US government-issued stamps worth 5 Cents and 10 Cents which had pictures of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. By 1850 Austria and Germany joined the club with other countries of the world following suit subsequently. In the next section of “10 Surprising Reasons To Be A Philately Enthusiast,” we will dwell upon some historical facts and figures.
History of Philately: –
The dictionary meaning of the word Philately is that entails the study of postage stamps, first-day covers, envelopes, postcards, and related material used for collection purposes. This is adapted from the French word “philatélie” which was introduced by Georges Herpin in 1864. He used the Greek words “Philos” and “atelia” meaning “Love for that which is tax-free” because a postage stamp helped the letter to be delivered to the intended recipient without any involvement of costs and taxes.
The first historically recorded reference to stamp collecting goes to an advertisement placed by a young lady in “The Times” in 1941. It read as “A young lady, being desirous of covering her dressing room with canceled postage stamps.”
The first systematic collection was published in 1861 by Oscar Berger-Levrault in Strasbourg and Alfred Potiquet in Paris. In 1862 Frederick Booty, J.E. Gray, and Mount Brown published the first catalogs. In the third edition of Brown’s series of 1866, there was a mention of 2,400 varieties of postal stationery, stamps, envelopes and letter sheets. The modern-day prominent catalogs such as Scott (USA), Yvert & Teller (France), Michel’s (Germany), Stanley Gibbons (England) publish more than 200,000 varieties of stamps. Moving on to our next section of this article “10 Surprising Reasons To Be A Philately Enthusiast” we look at the actual benefits of following the King of Hobbies.
Helps to develop focus and patience:
Stamp collecting, as opposed to Smartphone addiction or Video games or Television, is not about “Instant Gratification”. Instead of rapid demand for human attention, it is about sustained engagement. The intricacies of history, color, design, and image printed on a small piece of paper makes the human brain more engaged and more contended.
Inculcates traits like cleanliness and orderliness:
It is a wholesome hobby with available detailed and comprehensive catalogs that are appealing in the information that they share about more than a million unique stamps in circulation across the globe. Stamp collecting teaches to organize, be visually appealing and neat.
According to various child development researches, children have fantastic and impressive capabilities for structuring objects according to classifications, geography, history, and detail. If this hobby is encouraged with children at an early age they gain to learn about different languages, currencies, and historical instances. In today’s globally connected digital world it helps to have expertise.
De-Stress and Avoid Boredom:
Stamp collecting is a very engrossing and creative activity. Based on my experience I believe that this passion helps to restore your mind from stress and boredom. For aging people, it helps to keep their mind active, and as they say, an active mind is a young mind.
It needs time before getting into the specialization of this hobby to turn it into a secondary source of income or maybe even a full-time earning business. In the west, there are many successful businesses built around this hobby, but they are majorly concentrated in the US and Europe. But for sure if you play it in a measured manner you should concentrate on countries like the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, China, Australia, Great Britain, Russia, and Italy.
Many Influential Personalities are Collectors:
It came to me as a pleasant surprise when I came across names as Philately enthusiasts. Names like QE II, Yul Brynner, Charles Chaplin, Warren Buffet, Freddie Mercury, John Lennon, Franklin Roosevelt to name a few.
Believe it or not, these stunning pieces of artwork, intricate design, and history can surely add to one’s knowledge on subjects such as Global history, Art, Sports, Aviation, Space, Flora and Fauna, Events, Personalities, and many other thematic areas.
Because of Digital technology the whole world has now converted into a remotely connected village. Today I have some really good contacts all across the globe ranging from US, Canada, Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, France, Great Britain, China, Poland, Romania, Macedonia (Country of Alexander the Great), Italy. Lot of cultural and historical knowledge to gain.
Creation of a Legacy:
Come to think of it years of hard work structured into collected into stock books is a great legacy for old-timers to pass onto their next generation which can be a real gift as antiques or source of education or keeping your historical culture intact or source of making money.
As shared earlier Philately is a wholesome and endless activity. If one engages in it religiously for over a while, then there are some great memories and nostalgic moments from the past. Philately can also be a great connector between families.
With this, we come to the end of our article about “10 surprising reasons to be a Philately Enthusiast” and I hope my first post helps the readers to give them a broad overview of how interestingly beneficial this “King of Hobbies” can be. All comments and feedback are highly appreciated, and I am always available via email to answer any questions regarding this activity.
Self Taught Techie, Father to a budding philatelist son and a Global Business Professional Having Traveled across four continents. I have helped European and Indian Businesses to turn around and realize business objectives in 180 to 270 days. Reading & Writing is my second nature. I rekindled my childhood passion for stamps after forty years and love to collect European Pre 1960s MNH OG stamps majorly from France, Germany, and Italy.