Portal:Philately

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The Philately Portal

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Philately is the study of revenue or postage stamps. This includes the design, production, and uses of stamps after they are issued. A postage stamp is evidence of pre-paying a fee for postal services. Postal history is the study of postal systems of the past. It includes the study of rates charged, routes followed, and special handling of letters.

Stamp collecting is the collecting of postage stamps and related objects, such as covers (envelopes, postcards or parcels with stamps affixed). It is one of the world's most popular hobbies, with estimates of the number of collectors ranging up to 20 million in the United States alone.

Selected article

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Letter sheets are items of postal stationery issued by a postal authority. A letter sheet is a piece of paper that can be folded, usually sealed, most often with sealing wax in the 18th and 19th century, and mailed without the use of an envelope that only became popular in the late 19th century.

The first postal stationery item issued by a government is thought to be the coat of arms of Venice on a 1608 lettersheet. Part of Rowland Hill's postal reforms in the United Kingdom were the introduction of prepaid lettersheets and envelopes in 1840 designed by the artist William Mulready, whose name is always associated with these lettersheets and envelopes. Aerograms are a mid-20th century development of the letter sheet.

Selected image

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A magnifying glass is a convex lens which is used to produce a magnified image of an object. The lens is usually mounted in a frame with a handle though other designs are produced. A magnifying glass works by creating a magnified virtual image of an object behind the lens. Stamp collectors frequently use magnifying glasses to inspect their stamps. This photograph shows the magnified image of the Deutsche Post 1 Reichsmark stamp issued on May 12 1946.

Selected biography

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Henry Bishop (1611–1691) was Postmaster General of the United Kingdom and inventor of the first postmark used on mail. In 1660, at The Restoration, Henry Bishop paid £21,500 per year to farm the Post Office for a term of seven years. Bishop was the first officially appointed Postmaster General to Charles II, but within a year of taking office he was accused of abuses. Bishop gave up the remainder of his lease to Daniel O'Neill.

The "Bishop Mark", which takes his name, introduced in 1661, was designed to show the date on which a letter was received by the post and to ensure that the dispatch of letters would not be delayed.

Things you can do

There is a discussion about getting more people involved in Philately on Wikipedia. Join the discussion and share your thoughts here.

WikiProject Philately organizes the development of articles relating to philately. The collaboration focuses on one article at a time until they can proudly put that article up as a featured article candidate. This will last until they have run through a pool of "featurable" articles, then they will use a time-based system.

Currently there is one philatelic featured article, if you can help with another candidate, please do so.

For those who want to skip ahead to the smaller articles, the WikiProject also maintains a list of articles in need of improvement or that need to be started. There are also many red inked topics that need to be started on the list of philatelic topics page.


Postage stamps of Ireland is a Cscr-featured.svg Featured article
British Library Philatelic Collections, Postal codes in Canada, Pony Express, and 2009 Royal Mail industrial disputes are Symbol support vote.svg Good articles

Did you know...

... that the first Penny Post was established in London in 1680 by William Dockwra nearly 200 years before the better known Uniform Penny Post that was part of the postal reforms of 1839 and 1840 in Great Britain.

... that Czesław Słania (1921-2005) is the most prolific stamp engraver, with more than 1,000 post stamps for 28 postal administrations?

... that a forerunner is a postage stamp used during the time period before a region or territory issues stamps of its own?

... that the Royal Philatelic Society is the oldest philatelic society in the world, founded in London in 1869?

... that Marcophily is the specialised study and collection of postmarks, cancellations and postal markings applied by hand or machine on mail?

... that throughout U.S. history, different types of mail bags have been called mail pouch, mail sack, mail satchel, catcher pouch, mochila saddle mailbag, and portmanteau depending on form, function, place and time?

... that Non-denominated postage are postage stamps that do not show a monetary value on the face?

... that the Daguin machine was a cancelling machine first used in post offices in Paris in 1884?

... that the first airmail of the United States was a personal letter from George Washington carried on an aerial balloon flight from Philadelphia by Jean Pierre Blanchard?

Stamp of the month

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The Inverted Jenny was a postage stamp, issued by the United States on May 10, 1918. The image of a Curtiss JN-4 airplane in the center of the design was accidentally printed upside-down. One sheet, of 100 stamps, was found at a post office and bought by a collector just four days after issue on May 14 and sold soon afterwards for US$15,000.

Because the stamp was printed in two colors, each sheet had to be fed through the printing press twice, a process that resulted in the invert error. Several misprinted sheets were found during the production process and destroyed. This error is one of the most prized in all philately; as of 2003, an inverted Jenny would typically sell for around US$150,000.

Selected bibliography

Williams, Louis N., & Williams, Maurice (1990). Fundamentals of Philately {revised ed.). American Philatelic Society. ISBN 0-9335-8013-4.

Hornung, Otto (1970). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Stamp Collecting. Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-01797-4.

Stuart Rossiter & John Fowler (1991). World History Stamp Atlas (reprint ed.). pub: Black Cat. ISBN 0-7481-0309-0.

New articles

3 September 2016 Post Office Act 1908

Expanded articles

13 Nov. 2014 Inverted Jenny –
23 Oct. 2013 Trans-Mississippi Issue –

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