New Trend: Social Philately

20 February, 2015

A new form of collecting is becoming increasingly popular among stamp fans: Social Philately. It's the new trend that began in the 1980s in Australia and New Zealand, and has arrived increasingly in Europe since the turn of the millennium. The main idea is to research and document a piece's historical, regional, or biographical background in context of the collector. The living history that is created is not only fascinating stamp fans.


An air-mail letter from the Second World war, sent on 20, November 1942 by a mother in the small village of Homberg. "My dear boy..." she wrote to her son, and described life back at home and great concern for him. The letter arrived, but her son was no longer alive: "Deliver to Sender, killed in action - Germany" is on the envelope. The letter is a historical document, and a moving snapshot of depressing times, with the fate of an individual philatelically documented. Who was the mother who wrote this letter in vain? What are all the things she put onto paper? And where exactly in Homberg did the family live? What was the place in time in 1942, probably like...?
Piece by piece, the supporters of the Social Philately trend now put together this puzzle revolving around a letter, eventually depicting an overall picture of the historical, regional and biographical context of the collected object. Photos, postcards, newspaper clippings, maps and many other materials are involved besides the classical, purely philatelic material that's used. Unlike the conventional postage stamp, audit trails, and the rest of the collectable postal stationery, where it's all about postal type, rates, condition, and that sort of thing, the collector can in this way be a "puzzle piece", thinking outside the box of philately, making it extremely diverse and exciting. The letter is therefore brought to a new life. It's the starting point for a detailed designed true story, in which the "authors" search for clues and can create their own individual priorities.

Social Philately originates as early as the 1980s in Australia and New Zealand. In the year 2000, as part of an exhibition in the UK, the Europeans got to know this new way of collecting and enthusiastically accepted the trend. "Social Philately is a new sociological approach and is currently one of the fastest growing types of exhibits," declared Jan Billion, philatelic expert and editor of the journal "Deutsche Briefmarken-Revue".

Messe Sindelfingen together with Billion will soon organize one of the most important events in stamp collecting in Germany, the "Internationale Briefmarken-Börse München" ("International Stamp Fair in Munich"), which will be held from 5th to 7th March at the MOC, where in addition to the classic philatelic collectibles, accessories, as well as many letters, and various other items will be offered alongside, which are suitable start-up collectables for Social Philately. The fair is considered an important event in stamp-collecting and attracts thousands of collectors and those interested in the north of Munich every year. "We make these three days at the MOC a focal point of Philately," said project manager Martina Kaiser of Messe Sindelfingen team, successfully hosting the Stamp Fair for the 18th time in Bayern. Renowned traders both local and international, postal administrators/agencies, specialty publishers, auctioneers, work groups, and philatelic associations are expected back at the fair this year to present their treasures (a wide range of collectibles such as stamps, covers, postal stationery, postcards and letters) in a variety of price ranges, plus all sorts of collectable accessories, ranging from the traditional stamp album to the latest philatelic software. The "Center of Philately" provides collective knowledge and intensive counseling for experienced as well as future collectors. Martina Kaiser said, "There are many renowned experts from different organizations and a dozen associations ready for the public with all their knowledge." Another technical highlights is "Forum für Sammle" with its informative presentation program.
This is a perfect opportunity for stamp fans to learn about the latest trends in the philatelic market and to acquire new objects for their own collection as well as a rich terrain for interested newcomers.

"Internationale Briefmarken-Börse München" will take place from 5th to 7th March at the MOC Munich and is open from 10:00-16:00 on Thursday and Friday, and 10:00-18:00 on Saturday. Admission is free.


For more information about "Internationale Briefmarken-Börse München 2015" click here