noun \fə-ˈla-tə-lē\

: the study or collection of postage stamps

Full Definition of PHILATELY

:  the collection and study of postage and imprinted stamps :  stamp collecting
phil·a·tel·ic \ˌfi-lə-ˈte-lik\ adjective
phil·a·tel·i·cal·ly \-li-k(ə-)lē\ adverb


French philatélie, from phil- + Greek ateleia tax exemption, from atelēs free from tax, from a- + telos tax; perhaps akin to Greek tlēnai to bear; from the fact that a stamped letter frees the recipient from paying the mailing charges — more at tolerate
First Known Use: circa 1865


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Inverted airplane airmail stamp, U.S., 1918—Lee Boltin

Collection and study of postage stamps. The first postage stamps were issued in England in 1840, and in the U.S. in 1842. Stamp collectors usually specialize, collecting stamps of one country, one period of time, or one subject (e.g., birds, flowers, art). Value depends on rarity and condition. An issue of stamps that includes a printer's error may have increased value.


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