What is Philately

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The common term of the 1860's was "timbromanie," which means stamp madness. A French collector named George Herpin who detested “stamp madness” coined the term Philateleia or Philately in 1864.

The word roots back to two Greek terms:
phil-, philo- Meaning love or attraction
ateleia meaning exemption from payment or tax or a- [without] + telos [tax or charge]

philatelic (phil'a·tel'ic)
philatelical (phil'a·tel'i·cal) [adj.]
philatelically (phil'a·tel'i·cal·ly) [adv.]
philatelist (phi·lat'e·list) [n.]
So it could be said to mean: “love of no tax”. Who would disagree with that!

The root of the term:

In various countries it was common before the postage stamp or pre-paid delivery became the normal method of shipping that letters and parcels were paid for by the receiver not the sender. If the sender pre-paid the charges then the package was marked Free. That handwritten notation was eventually replaced by an impressed receipt stamp much like a post mark or a small label. These labels evolved into the prepaid postage stamps that are in common use today.

Philately Today:

However; philately is not limited to tax relief or the postage stamp alone. It has become inclusive of all types of stamps including those used for other purposes, taxes or fees. In addition anything pertaining to the delivery of mail and in certain cases use of the non-postage stamps. This can include postal equipment, envelopes, stationary, official correspondence particularly when connected to the design, release or distribution of stamps, original artwork and proofs, etc.

Source: http://www.coneysstamps.com