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‘Philately’ means the study of revenue and postage stamps   -  broader than just collecting them although this may well be part of it.  It covers, inter alia, the technical aspects of stamp production, the study of what is depicted on stamps, and the use which is made of stamps.   A  knowledge of philately will greatly broaden your interest in the collecting of stamps, as well as making it much more likely that your collection will be of value and of interest to others.   

 The printing of postage stamps was one of the first examples of mass production, and there are occasional examples of mistakes in production, as well as forgeries, and both of these categories are very collectable.

http://www.ukphilately.org.uk/hintro.htm    gives a good general introduction to philately  - which is broader than just stamp collecting

http://www.ukphilately.org.uk/ABPS/index.htm  the Association of British Philatelic Societies aims to meet  the needs of individual collectors and local philatelic societies

http://www.rpsl.org.uk/  the Royal Philatelic Society London is the oldest philatelic society in the world

http://www.stanleygibbons.com/home/index.asp  the most famous name in stamp collecting