Medical stamp collecting
Sanjay Pai introduces us to a fascinating hobby
Stamp collecting has been described as the hobby of kings and the king of hobbies—and for once such a description may not be an exaggeration.
A Medline search for “philately” shows as many as 1842 hits, implying that medical journals and doctors treat philately with considerable respect. The use of email could mean that the number of stamp collectors will decrease over the years but serious philatelists have never relied purely on letters in the mailbox to collect their stamps.
Until 1840 it was the recipient who paid for the letter. The postage due depended on the weight of the envelope and the distance it had travelled. In the 1830s, a commission led by Rowland Hill (1795-1879) made recommendations to change the existing postal system in England. Hill suggested a uniform rate of postage—and that the sender pay for it.
The Penny Black was the first stamp to be sold,