The term which was coined in the 19th century by M.G. Herpin, a French collector, to describe stamp collecting. It is a combination of the Greek words philo -- lover, or fond of -- and atelia -- free of payment or tax.
Philately is the study of revenue or postage stamps. This includes the design, production and uses of stamps after they are issued by postal authorities. Although many equate it with stamp collecting, it is a distinct activity.