On the 6th of January, Poland reverberates with the joyous celebration of Philatelist Day, an occasion that pays homage to the rich legacy of philately within the country. This date marks the inception of the inaugural Polish philatelic association, “The Philatelists’ Club,” which was established in Krakow back in 1893.
Philately, at its core, delves into the meticulous study of postage stamps and the captivating tapestry of postal history. While its roots are anchored in the examination of stamps, modern philately encompasses the avid collection of various postal artifacts.
Evolution of Philately: From Stamps to a Global Community of 200 Million
The genesis of philately traces back to the dawn of postage stamps in 1840. The initial community of philatelists coalesced in Belgium during the 1850s, heralding the genesis of a pursuit that found its early home in Krakow, where the first Polish association emerged in 1893. The year 1926 marked a milestone with the establishment of the International Philatelic Federation, while in 1950, the Polish Philatelists Union took root in Poland. Today, the global contingent devoted to philately is estimated to comprise a staggering 200 million enthusiasts.
Philatelist: Guardian of Stamp History and Scholarly Pursuits
Central to this vibrant pursuit is the philatelist, an individual deeply engrossed in this captivating hobby. The term itself, coined by the French philatelist Georges Herpin, derives from the Greek roots phil(o)-, signifying “an attraction or affinity for something,” and ateleia, connoting “exempt from duties and taxes,” culminating in the term “philatélie.”
As Poland revels in the commemoration of Philatelist Day, it not only honors a cherished pastime but also underscores the enduring fascination and scholarly dedication to the intricate world of postage stamps and postal history.