Philately by J.
Philately? What is that?
Many years ago, beyond the longest recollection of the oldest of the
young people, a school-teacher in Paris (so one story goes) advised her
pupils to get specimens of different postage stamps, in order the better
to study their geography. There was a general searching among old
letters to secure these little bits of bright-colored papers. Parents
and friends were asked to save the stamps from their letters; strangers
at the post-office were pounced upon, the moment they received their
letters, for the stamps; and from this little beginning sprang
At first it was limited to boys and girls; but the older people, seeing
the interest excited over these little pictures, and led on by their
endeavors to please their young acquaintances, began themselves taking
an interest in the things. From a pleasure it gradually became a study,
and a most fascinating one; and soon there were no more enthusiastic
collectors than the people advanced in years, wealth, position, and
social, literary, and scientific attainments. And to-day many great
people turn with pleasure from the cares of their life to the pages of
their stamp albums, to look over the numerous evidences of the growth
of the postal system, or to help some young friend in the filling up of
a modest little blank-book.
In spite of the ridicule which has been heaped upon the collector of
stamps, the interest in stamp-collecting is as great to-day as it was a
dozen years ago, and from Prince Edward Island to Australia will be
found stamp "merchants," as they delight to call themselves, stamp
papers, and stamp agencies, to supply the continually increasing demands
of young and old collectors. Societies exist in several countries, at
the meetings of which most learned papers are read to show the why and
the wherefore of this or that stamp, and even the government at
Montevideo has authorized a stamp society, lately established there, to
use a private postal card.
This pursuit of stamp collecting is called Philately, from two Greek
words, which have been translated "the love of stamps," and those who
engage in the pleasure or the pursuit are pleased to call themselves
This little "chat" shall be closed by a reference to the illustrations
of some curious or interesting stamps, and a notice of stamps that have
been issued during the past few months.
Fig. 1 is one of the series of United States stamps for postage on large
packages of newspapers and periodicals, and represents a value of
forty-eight dollars. There is a higher value of sixty dollars. These
stamps are perfect gems, and are among the most beautiful in the world.
Fig. 2 represents one of the stamps in use to-day in Japan. It is only
necessary to compare a specimen of this issue with the first stamps used
in Japan to see how rapidly the Japanese acquire every modern
Fig. 3 is one of the current Guatemala stamps, printed in Paris, which
found their way to collectors before they were delivered to the
government. The thick black line on either side is a bird's tail—the
quezal, or national bird, one of the most beautiful on this continent.
Figs. 4 and 5 represent stamps used in two of the native states of
India. The native stamps of India, ugly as many of them are, are among
the most interesting found in the collector's album, and quite difficult
Fig. 6 is one from the South African Republic, or the Transvaal, lately
seized by England.
Some of the newest issues are:
.—A new value, 4d
., blue; and a postal card, 1½d
red-brown on buff.
Cape of Good Hope.—The 4d., blue, surcharged in red above,
Dominica.—New values of ½d., yellow; 2½d., brown; 4d.,
blue; and a postal card of 1½d., red-brown.
Danish West Indies.—A new value, 50c., same type as current
series, in mauve.
Gold Coast.—Stamps of ½d., golden yellow, and 2d., green;
and card of 1½d., red-brown.
Great Britain.—The 2½d. stamp is printed in blue, and the
2s. changes from blue to red-brown.
Montserrat.—New stamps of 2½d., red-brown, and 4d., blue;
and postal card of 1½d., red-brown.
Nevis.—New stamps of 2½d., red-brown, and 4d., blue; and
postal card of 1½d., red-brown.
Peru.—A new series of stamps is in preparation, but for the
present the authorities surcharge the current stamp with the
words, "Union Postale Universelle" and "Plata," in an oval. The
1c. changes its color to green, the 2c. to carmine, and the
20c. is suppressed.
Roumelia.—This province of Turkey begins its stamp history with a
postal card of the value of 10 paras, as expressed on the face,
but in reality of 15 paras, at which it is sold.