The word “philately” is the English version of the French word "philatélie", coined by Georges Herpin in 1864. Herpin stated that stamps had been collected and studied for the previous six or seven years and a better name was required for the new hobby than timbromanie, which was disliked. He took the Greek root word phil or philo, meaning an attraction or affinity for something, and ateleia, meaning "exempt from duties and taxes" to form "philatelie". The introduction of postage stamps meant that the receipt of letters was now free of charge, whereas before stamps it was normal for postal charges to be paid by the recipient of a letter.
The alternative terms "timbromania", "timbrophily" and "timbrology" gradually fell out of use as philately gained acceptance during the 1860s.
Philatelists collect stamps for the sentimental value given to the work of art, theme, rarity of the stamp, educational reasons, shape, or as an investment.
Collecting stamps is also an excellent hobby for the younger generation. Children very often inherit stamp collections from grandparents or other members of the family and do not know what to do with it. NamPost Philately is currently busy with a programme whereby schoolchildren are educated in managing their stamp collections. The general idea is to encourage them to collect and to enjoy the hobby!
NamPost Philately issues two types of stamp.
Commemorative stamps are issued to mark special events, occasions of national or international importance, and also to cover themes of general interest. They are normally withdrawn from sale at the post office after six months, and after twelve months at the stamp bureau.
Definitive stamps are essentially issued for postage purposes. The issue comprises of a full range of about sixteen denominations which are released every five years.
Philatelic counters are available at all Head Post Offices, and services include the following:
Heritage and History
It is recognised that stamps are economical and effective ambassadors for the country of origin, that their design is part of national heritage, that stamps play an important role in the education of the young, and that mutual recognition of national symbols through philately can lead to a greater cultural understanding amongst nations.
The stamps used within a country educate and enhance its own citizens through promoting awareness of issues such as the preservation of fauna and flora, heritage, and history. Stamps are therefore an integral part of the cultural fabric of a country, and themes should be chosen and portrayed well, with high-quality production.