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WikiProject Philately (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
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Etymology & other 2003 & 2004 posts[edit]

This should definitely have the etymology of philately near the top.

I don't know how to salvage this, maybe somebody else can: Stan 19:08 Mar 1, 2003 (UTC)

Stamps by country - Some philatelists prefer to limit their study to the stamps produced by a particular stamp issuing authority, or "country" in its broadest sense of the word. This may refer to defunct, rebel or sub-national groups which felt the need to provide or pretend to provide postal services within their jurisdictions.

Postal stationery - These philatelists study such items as post cards and stamped envelopes used to facilitate postal service without the need to affix a gummed stamp to an envelope.

Philately in fiction and art - These people like to study the influence of philately in other areas such as the following:

  • Novels
  • Plays
  • Poetry
  • Jig-saw puzzles about stamps
  • Stamps on neckties
The above has been revised, and now should be more satisfactory. Eclecticology 18:46 Mar 2, 2003 (UTC)
OK, "postal stationery" I can see, but "by country" and "fiction and art" categories I've never heard of before, and I don't have any literature discussing either of these as such. I suppose they could go in, but is there a reference work to go with? (Williams has nothing.) Stan 20:10 Mar 2, 2003 (UTC)

I uploaded an image which may be of use File:LordKitchenerstamp055.jpg, it's a bit crooked, but I can't figure out how to fix it. I put it at Music of Trinidad and Tobago but someone may find it useful in a stamp-related page. Tuf-Kat 23:37, Jan 14, 2004 (UTC)

"Timbrophily" vs "Timbrophilia"[edit]

I rechecked Williams, and it's definitely "timbrophily" that was the proposed term. "Timbrophilia" might be a generalized affection for stamps, but we shouldn't mention it unless it's been documented as a past or present synonym of "philately". Stan 13:22, 2 Oct 2004 (UTC)


For those interested, here are userboxes set up for placement on one's userpage. --Aquarius Rising 23:40, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Code Result
{{User:Scepia/stamp collecting}}
Stamp UK Penny Red pl148.jpg This user is interested in philately,
but prefers to call it stamp collecting.
Stamp UK Penny Red pl148.jpg This user is interested in philately.

Image placement[edit]

Ya know, I carefully selected and arranged all the images so as to illustrate the concepts being discussed in the adjacent text. Moving them all into a gallery of microscopic thumbnails completely destroys that value. I'm going to revert unless somebody makes a really really good counterargument. (What is it with galleries these days anyway? Hundreds of well-illustrated articles are being ruined.) Stan 23:24, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Oh! very sorry, I made it into a gallery since the text and the images were not flowing very well. I thought it would look better in a gallery since they were all captioned. Please go ahead and revert it back to old format.--PremKudvaTalk 04:05, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Stan. Even though different browsers display images slightly differently I think it is better to try and place appropriate images close to the related text. When there is no real relationship between the text and the images there may be a case for the gallery of images as in Post box or stamp_collecting_equipment that Premkudva did. Cheers ww2censor 04:40, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
OK, rolled back to pre-gallerification, thanks for the permission! Did you have a specific flow problem in mind? I only use Moz on OS X, if some other browser was struggling, I wouldn't know about it. Perhaps the text should be pumped up, I find the flow is optimal at an average of about 1 - 1.5 images onscreen at any one time, and right now this one has 2- and even 3-image screens that do seem a bit squeezed. Stan 04:48, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Philately vs Stamp Collecting[edit]

THEY ARE SYNONYMOUS. This issue is so silly! It is like asking "is oceanography the study of the oceans?". LOL seriously! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:31, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Is there a reason there are two seperate articles for these? Cogswobble 17:03, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Philately encompasses Stamp collecting but not visa versa. ww2censor 04:27, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the answer! Cogswobble 22:12, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not convinced for the need for separate articles. It's nice to maintain the distinction, which we can by explaining it in the text of the article, but in popular usage the difference is not all that significant.
If you have a look at the articles as they stand today, most of what is written in each is completely relevant to the other. Both articles mention equipment, specializations and organizations (though to inconsistently different degrees of detail), while additional information under Collecting such as history and catalogues is relevant to Philately.
For these reasons, I recommend a common article under Philately (the broader category) with a paragraph near the top describing the difference in emphasis between them.
Raichu2 (talk) 20:54, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry but I think you just don't know the difference. Sure there are overlaps but Stamp collecting is not Philately not visa versa. Maybe both article needs more editing to differentiate better to satisfy you but I will not support you nor, I presume, will any of the stamp collectors or philatelists here either. Maybe you will get support from non-specialists. I think this would be similar to suggesting a merge of Government and Politics; sure they cover a lot of the same ground but are distinctly different activities. I doubt anyone would agree with that merge. ww2censor (talk) 23:56, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
It would not be the death of WP to merge the two, but I think you'd end up with a portmanteau article, half of which talks about collecting and half of which talks about study, and then a year from now, someone new will come along and say "hey! there should be two articles!" 1/2 :-) One of these days I should tear myself away from pics and per-country philately, and update these two articles. Stan (talk) 01:30, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Must agree with Stan that both articles need some work and if merged would, without doubt, be demerged later. ww2censor (talk) 04:42, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

OK I've done a little bit of research. Up to now I was not opposed to separate articles, I was simply pointing out that there would be considerable overlap, so that the material could be arranged under the major topic. Like I said, much of the existing material on WP on each article is relevant to the other, which proves my point. Furthermore many books on the subject ably succeed in covering both aspects; they just arrange appropriate material in suitable chapters.

Up to now I too have thought of philately as the technical study of stamps, while collecting was finding and arranging stamps of a country, etc. Higher authorities, however, do not agree:

  • cites Columbia with the definition, "collection and study of postage stamps and of materials relating to their history and use". It does not have an entry for stamp collecting.
  • Merriam-Webster ( says, "the collection and study of postage and imprinted stamps". It does not have an entry for stamp collecting either.
  • My Macquarie dictionary has a very similar definition of philately as covering both aspects. It has an entry for stamp-collector with the simple definition of "a philatelist".

Perhaps looking at a few more authorities for comparison could be useful, but it would appear that the term philately does encompass both study and collection of stamps, so that a separate article for stamp collecting is inadvisable. Raichu2 (talk) 11:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Hah, not only can I top the general references authoritywise, but L.N. Williams' Fundamentals of Philately, pp. 32-34, has a section headed "Philately and Stamp Collecting", in which he lays out the reasons for the distinction, concluding with "Collecting is incidental and not essential to philately". He does note his disagreement with dictionaries. I also observe that the coin people have found the distinction useful as well, witness numismatics and coin collecting. In a similar fashion, physics and mechanical engineering are different articles too. :-) Stan (talk) 14:34, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, Raichu2's references are general ones that do not make the specific distinction because they do not understand it. Stan makes the points well especially showing comparisons. You can in fact be a philatelist and not collect stamps at all but not all stamp collectors will study the stamp, they just collect for collection sake and don't bother to study the stamps they collect, so are not philatelists per se. Stamp collecting does not encompass philately but philately can encompass stamp collecting. ww2censor (talk) 15:12, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
"do not make the specific distinction because they do not understand it": Do we define a term according to what it "should" be (so Williams), or according to how the term is used in practice (the official Webster policy)? What is the wikipedia policy (this has been an issue for all lexicographers)?
Another question, if we have separate pages, how do we keep the large body of common material in sync? If someone fixes a mistake in the area of say storage of stamps on the "stamp collecting" page, how would they then know to check the philately page? Raichu2 (talk) 20:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I think one can find plenty of authorities for both making a distinction and not, so this is not really a point on which appeal to authority serves us adequately (and far from the first such case in WP!); one gets into silly arguments about which authority is more authoritative, and doesn't get anywhere. For me, the most compelling reason to separate is a practical one, in that we have two kinds of material, and so it's useful for the purposes of WP to have the two articles. Something like stamp storage seems pretty clearly only about collections, so I would expect that there would be nothing to do in the philately article. Ironically, rereading this article, one of the reasons it's shortish is that much of the pure philatelic content is covered in depth in additional articles, so this one tends to be more of an index than it should be. It should be more like country articles, which have 2-3 paragraphs on such subtopic, as well as separate articles ("History of X", "Economy of X", etc). Two full-length philately and collecting articles will be more obviously desirable to keep separate, right now the usefulness of the distinction is not so obvious. Stan (talk) 01:35, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

OK since this is a bigger debate than I realized, I've done a bit more digging. I did a poll at the virtual stamp club, a lively philatelic forum, and out of 62 respondents so far, 59 (95%) believe that philately encompasses both collection and study of stamps. Some respondents quoted philatelic literature (including L.N. Williams) as saying the same thing. All philatelic web sites where I have found a definition of philately state that it encompasses both aspects, including Linns (which AFAIK is a respected publisher). Sure, many indicate that there is more to it than just collecting, but they don't exclude collecting from its scope.

My personal opinion is now the opposite of what I thought originally: the term philately as defined and used by both lexicographers and philatelists definitely includes both aspects. My original reasons for supporting the merging of the two articles was only that there was a lot of overlap but that the distinction should be maintained. Now I think the opposite:

  • The definition of philately should be changed to encompass stamp collecting, but with a note in deference of those with a different opinion provided we can find a verifiable quote in its support.
  • The two pages could be maintained if philately links to stamp collecting with a note that aspects relating to collection, maintenance, storage, handling and display of stamps is to be found under that heading. The point is that the article should indicate that those aspects peculiar to stamp collecting are still encompassed within the field of philately. Or some suitable compromise like that. Those who study stamps still need to obtain, store, handle and display them.
  • Stamp collecting should have a link to philately to indicate that there is a broader field that includes the study of stamps (if there isn't one already).
  • Both articles need to be expanded, I think. I know there are lots of individual articles where the in-depth stuff resides, but the main articles need to at least mention those areas and link to them (where they don't already).
  • Philately mentions "topical philately". Shouldn't that come under stamp collecting?

Raichu2 (talk) 07:54, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

You mean like topical stamp collecting? On merging, if you're just dying to do it yourself, OK, give it a shot and let's see how it looks. But I would appreciate it if you would make the commitment, not just to mash the two articles together, but to clear up any ensuing problems such as redundant links and repeated text, here and in other articles. It's not really fair to do just a little bit of this kind of big job and then move on, expecting others to clean up after you. Stan (talk) 15:37, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Philately: Etymology[edit]

Philately is a fusion of "phil" the Greek word for love and "atélia" (pronounced a-tay-li-ah) the Greek word for "freedom from charges (taken to mean recipient's freedom from delivery charges by virtue of the stamp that the sender affixed to the letter)...Source: The Random House Dictionary of the English Language. Cnutraj 08:07, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

The above is a rather far-fetched theory! The much more likelier explanation is that philatelie is a westernised rendition of philo+telos (i.e. love of charges - in this case postal charges = stamps). The Greek rendition of the word is philotelismos - --Irlandos (talk) 10:24, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

We don't have to guess, you know - Georges Herpin coined the term in a November 1864 article, explaining that it was a combination based on "philos" and "atelis", the latter explained as "free, exempt from any charge or tax, franked". Fundamentals of Philately has a nice little summary on p. 32. Stan (talk) 19:37, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Wording choice[edit]

In the introduction, "...a stamp collector may choose to acquire and arrange the little pictures without being much troubled about their origin or usage." This phrase seems a bit unencyclopedic. Suggestion: "...stamp collecting is the acquisition of stamps, at times without regard for origin or usage." 03:07, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone mind if I act on my suggestion? --Fcsuper 17:31, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Done. --Fcsuper (talk) 00:47, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Types of philately[edit]

The lists under "Types of philately" might be a better fit under the article Topical stamp collecting. The bulleted items seem to be such unnecessarily. I realize this is a comment about formatting only. It just struck me as odd when I was browsing through the article and then looked at that section for points of interest only to find out it was nothing more than a laundry list. Fcsuper 03:15, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Actually this really needs either a substantial expansion or even rewrite into a more comprehensive article. Do you want to help? ww2censor 03:28, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
I'll help where I can. I'm not knowledgeable in this field. Didn't even know what "never hinged" meant until yesterday. :) --Fcsuper 17:30, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Not uncommon for random editors to start random lists in the middle of an article. I moved the list to the topical collecting article, and linked to it from here. We need some sort of semi-objective criterion for what "X on stamps" deserve explicit mention - could be the 20 most popular, if any statistics or available, or maybe just the topics for which the ATA etc have published a list. (Without a written criterion, the list will just be too arbitrary to be meaningful.) Stan 05:45, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, Stan. --Fcsuper 17:30, 10 November 2007 (UTC)


What needs to be expanded? If it's not a specific task, the tag should be removed. --In Defense of the Artist (talk) 21:23, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Actually it need more than just expansion, but possibly a rewrite and restructure to cover aspects not covered here. ww2censor (talk) 22:11, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
I think the tag should be removed. It is needs to be more encylopediatic, then that tag should be added instead. Any objections to the rv of the expansion tag? fcsuper (How's That?, That's How!) (Exclusionistic Immediatist ) 00:37, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Completed without objection. fcsuper (How's That?, That's How!) (Exclusionistic Immediatist ) 14:52, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Catalogue of the World ?[edit]

Is this link appropriate for WP, especially in the Socities section? It looks like a commercial business site to me. Sv1xv (talk) 11:31, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

An interesting project, sort of a half-ebay half-wiki. Too full of errors to be of any interest to us, look at the top of 1899 and see all the British Columbia stamps that actually date from 30-40 years earlier. We want to point people to better sources of info, not poorer ones. :-) (But pull all the PD images onto commons!) Stan (talk) 14:03, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Unsourced and, for Ireland anyway, have copied the images from You can shop at their store though it does not seem to be working yet. Not verifiable as yet, if ever. ww2censor (talk) 16:50, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
If it is unsourced etc (I agree), why did you put it back in the article main text under philatelic societies? Couldn't you just delete it? I moved it from the main article to "Further reading" beacuse it is not appropriate for WP. Sv1xv (talk) 18:57, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Oops! I reverted instead of deleting, but it's gone now. ww2censor (talk) 22:26, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Philately Definition[edit]

I know I'm new to this but I thought why not start with the Definition. :)

Current Version[edit]

Philately is the study and collecting of revenue and postage stamps.

Proposed Change[edit]

Philately by definition covers broadly the collection and study of postage stamps, revenue, postal stationary, postal marks and the history surrounding each.

DjTaber62 (talk) 20:07, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

The proposal is kind of wordy. Someone that wants to get in, get the key info ("what is this weird word?"), and get out, doesn't want a first sentence that introduces a bunch more specialized terms. A second sentence could be something like "Philately's scope include stamp-related items such as postal stationery, along with the study of postal marks and postal history." While we're on the subject of lede wording, I note that someone added "and collecting" to the first sentence, then later it says "may or may not include collecting". I think the "may or may not" is probably closer to common usage, the distinction we may make here being borderline pedantic, but in any case the first para ought to be self-consistent. Stan (talk) 14:25, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback! I like the idea of the 2nd sentence inclusion to bring those other terms to light. Also the comment on consistency around "may or may not" include collecting. Hopefully, get few more thoughts from the community to embrace a revision here. :) DjTaber62 (talk) 14:59, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Stan puts it well. I don't remember if it was me but I may even have added the "may or may not" phrase for clarity but collecting is not a necessary requirement to be a philatelist. ww2censor (talk) 18:58, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Taking from our discussion some thoughts...I tried drafting a new version of the opening paragraph. It's on a subpage from my userpage, where I thought it would be best to experiment with it. You can find it here: New Paragraph
Thanks! DjTaber62 (talk) 13:19, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
There is no need to do this on a userpage, you can just discuss it right here where more people will see it and may give input. I re-added some detail to your proposed opening sentence. BTW, you should probably familiarise yourself with WP:LEDE if you are working on opening paragraphs or article ledes. Cheers ww2censor (talk) 18:09, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Philately is stamp collecting. See Merriam webster. Wikipedia is not a specialist dictionary. Wikipedia is for generalists. See GFDL, 3.0 License, Terms of Use and About Wikipedia for details. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:04, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't the subject include peridromophilia?Leutha (talk) 21:23, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
No. ww2censor (talk) 22:17, 1 August 2011 (UTC)


A user recently removed tweezers as philately tools, reasoning that these shouldn't be used. I wonder if this a) is correct and b)if so, shouldn't we mention something about the frequent use of these tools and why they are "dangerous"?--Narayan (talk) 17:44, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

I agreed with the change though not for the stated reason - stamp tongs characterizes them as a type of tweezer, so it's a confusing redundancy. I checked three general refs, and none actually said "don't use tweezers"; the closest any got was "don't use your stamp tongs around the house", observing that damaged tweezer tips could in turn damage the stamps. Stan (talk) 18:27, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
I think the point being made was that stamp tongs tend to have rounded blunt tips while tweezers often have sharp pointed tips and might cause damage. The trouble is, not everyone uses the term stamp tongs. It is rarely used in the UK for instance. Maidonian (talk) 11:26, 3 December 2010 (UTC)