Building an Olympic philatelic collection can be fun as there are a nearly infinite number of ways to collect. But before we discuss Olympic Philately, let us define what it means to be a stamp collector, or philatelist.
What is PHILATELY?
Philately, or stamp collecting, is a hobby in which one collects or accumulates products developed and produced by a national postal authority which is a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU). There exist a wide variety of postal products including postage stamps and stamped postal stationery (postal cards, aerograms, etc.), circular date stamps, commemorative cancellations, postage meters and other postal service matter all of which either paid postage or helped in some way to carry the mails. Some collectors also like to include vignettes or labels (they look like stamps but have no postal value), privately-produced cachets, Christmas seals and revenue stamps in their collections, but these are considered non-postal ephemera.
How is OLYMPIC philately different?
Olympic philately is a category of collecting in which the images or subjects on the postal products are related to the Olympic Games or the Olympic movement. The theme or topic you select may, for example, recount a moment in the history of the Ancient Olympic Games, chronicle the development of the Modern Olympic movement, reveal aspects of the organization of the Olympic Games, mark achievements of a host country, or commemorate special events like Olympic flights or an Olympic Torch Relay.
No matter what approach you take in building your collection, there are many possible types of philatelic items, or elements, available. Apart from basic postal issues, find out if there are booklets of stamps or coils in addition to the sheet stamps. Look for artwork, essays and proofs. As collectors, we all know that half the fun is in the hunt, so track down those elusive postmarks and cancellations. Pay attention to the postmark dates if you want to commemorate the day a medalist won his gold. And don’t forget to ferret out those Olympic committee or sponsor covers that can help tell your story.
How do you organize a collection?
The mechanics of organizing a collection can be as simple as depositing new acquisitions in a shoe box, or as complex as creating your own annotated pages in an album. Logistically, Olympic philately covers such a vast arena of collectible material that most philatelists decide to limit the scope of their collections either chronologically or by theme/topic. The key here is to frame the limits of your collection to fit your interests, time, and yes, budget. Whatever way you choose to assemble your Olympic collection the goal is, after all, to just have fun! Get some tips about organizing your collection chronologically or by theme.