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Stamp Collector or Philatelist? Is there a difference?

We all know what a stamp collector is. And maybe you also know the term philatelist. But you probably think they are the same. But they really aren't. In this article I explain the difference.


A collection of stamps

A Stamp collector is a person that well ... collects stamps! I am a stamp collector.

You know what a "Stamp Collector" is. And maybe you have heard the term "Philatelist". If so then you probably think the two terms are the same but actually they aren't. A stamp collector is a person who collects stamps. It is a wonderful thing. And I am one for sure. I love my collection. But a philatelist is a person who also studies various aspects of stamps including the history stamps, the design of them. And all the various wonderful things that are involved with stamps. So, not only am I a collector but I am also a lover of the study of stamps or a "Philatelist".

What are some of the things that a philatelist is interested in?

Well, there are a lot of things but let me give you a short list.

  • The History of Stamps
  • The Design of Stamps
  • The printing of stamps
  • The variations of stamps, for example: Air Mail, special delivery, postage due, revenue, commemorative, definitive, etc.
  • The formats of stamps: for example: Sheets of stamps, coils, imperforate stamps, plate blocks, miniature sheets
  • First Day Covers
  • Topical stamps for example: Birds on stamps, space stamps, stamps on stamps etc.
  • Errors on stamps, Inverted stamps are a popular and well known area of errors
  • Postal marks,
  • Pre-cancels
  • Counterfeiting of stamps, forgeries and fakes
  • Famous people in the stamp world


The stamp collecting stamp

And collectors also can pursue any or all of these including first day covers, pre-cancels, plate blocks, etc.

So that is it. That is the difference. What are you? Are you both? It doesn't matter which path you follow just as long as you enjoy the world of stamps!


New - I have a selection of books on stamp collecting that are in the public domain. You can download them here. Free Books on Stamp Collecting



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