According to the definition provided by Royal Spanish Academy of Language (R.A.E.), philately is “the collection and study of stamps as a hobby”.
A multitude of people have delved into the passionate world of stamp collecting over the years, transforming it into not just a hobby but, as the R.A.E. points out, a way of life.
Interest in stamp collecting started around the same time they first appeared in the United Kingdom in 1840.
The term to designate this activity, philately, came into use two decades later in 1864, when Gustave Herpin used it in the magazine Le Collectioneur de timbres-poste to refer to stamp collecting.
The origin of the word is the combination of the two Greek terms “philo” (love, friend, lover) and “atéleia” (exempt from taxes and contributions)
Even though there is no record of who the first stamp collectors were, there are references to people who, shortly after stamps were first introduced, published adverts in newspapers asking to exchange correspondence with like-minded people for the purpose of receiving stamps and collecting them.
Stamp collecting continues to have faithful followers today. Every year in different countries around the world, philatelic exhibitions of these little stamps are held, attended by enthusiasts from many countries.
In Spain, the annual EXFILNA is an eagerly awaited event for collectors from both home and abroad, where, apart form being able to enjoy specific collections, you can also find out about the latest innovations that are revolutionising the world of philately.
The stamp with which Correos would like to commemorate stamp collectors features the famous painting The Philatelist, the 1929 work by the Swiss painter François Barraud. What’s more, it is printed with a magnifying effect which makes it even more special, if that’s possible.