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Social Philately

Social Philately is a relatively new concept in collecting. The origins of "Social Philately" are credited to Australia back in the 1980s. Social Philately attempts to link philately with the social or economic history of the selected subject or topic. It can cover such events as the history of a town, the history of a business, the history of an industry, the history of an individual or in fact the history of anything you can imagine. It can contain philatelic items and non-philatelic items which relate directly to your topic. It can contain letters, newspaper clippings, tickets, leaflets, souvenirs, photos or anything else that you think is suitable.

The function of the non-philatelic items is to amplify your collection not to add decoration to it. You will need to collect information and learn as much as you can on the subject, so that you can write an interesting history on the topic.

As any good thematic collection tells a story so a social philately collection should also do the same, taking full advantage of the freedom to include a broader range of items.

Exhibiting Social Philately

Many collectors once they have formed such a collection are then keen to display it and opportunities for this exist at all levels, local national and international. To exhibit at a competition in an "Open Class Philately" section, up to about 50% non-philatelic material is generally allowed.

Internationally, Social Philately is judged by the following:-
Treatment (20) and Importance (5 for philatelic and 5 for social) - 30
Philatelic and related Social Knowledge, Personal Study and Research - 35
Condition - 10
Rarity - 20
Presentation - 5
Total - 100

Selected pages on Social Philately

What is Social Philately
from the National Philatelic Society

Social Philately
By Prashant H Pandya
If we want to define Social Philately in single sentence we can say that Social Philately is the Social History told by way of mail and ephemera (pamphlets, notices, hand bills, tickets etc)...

Ceylon to Hong Kong Newspaper Wrapper
from Stamp Domain
A wrapper addressed to Arthur H Limpus on HMS Terrible with a very rare "RECEIVED IN FORWARD BAG" handstruck marking

Posted from the Top of a Mountain!
from Stamp Domain
"The Pike’s Peak News" newspaper wrapper

Australian Postal History & Social Philately
by Maurice Mishkel
A comprehensive site with over 500 philatelic papers. All papers have an Australian connection, a few of them have only a tenuous connection with Australia, for the covers were sent from Australia to interesting people &/or places, in other countries.

Franklin Hanford & a Mystery Fraternity Symbol
from Stamp Domain

Insurance In India
by Naresh Agarwal

A letter from a WWII Polish Soldier to his bank!
from Stamp Domain
Envelope with a 1945 postmark of Field Post Office 252 and a Polish postal cryptonym P/40 S addressed to the Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh.

A newspaper wrapper from the Philadelphia Cricket Club
from Stamp Domain
Cricket in Philadelphia, United States

The Glencadam Distillery
from Stamp Domain
Newspaper Wrappers - junk mail from a Whisky Distillery?

The Cologne Post 1921 - 1929
from Stamp Domain
On 31 March 1919 the first issue of a daily newspaper for British Armed Forces in Germany was published. The newspaper, the Cologne Post, continued to be published till 17 January 1926.