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Philately is the activity of collecting and studying of postage stamps and related items.

What is a stamp?

  • Prepayment for postage
  • Tool for celebration and promotion of a national heritage
  • A collectible item

Types of stamps and stamp sets

There are two types of stamps that are issued i.e.

Definitive Stamps
These are stamps issued to celebrate the development of a country through such themes as industry and commerce and natural resources and any other developmental issues. They depict the resources that a country possesses for example buildings that are considered important in the development of a country, National Monuments, Animals and Birds and important economic activities such as agriculture.

These are issued to commemorate national events and personalities in the history of a nation. These are usually a good way of recording the nationhood of a people. Such commemorations can be for a country’s independence, national leaders (political and business) and any other significant anniversary. The natural resources of a country can also be depicted, such as the trees, tourist sites, animals and insects.
There are several stamp combinations that form sets in which collectors like to keep such as:

  • A set of single stamps

This is where a set is composed of stamps of each denomination, i.e., if an issue has four denominations of stamps and then the set of single stamps would be made out of 4 or more different value stamps.

Set of two

Set of two stamps of each denomination in a stamp issue.

Set of three

Set of three stamps of each denomination in a stamp issue.

Blocks of four

Set of four stamps of each denomination in that issue. We have3 types of such blocks namely:

(a)Cylinder control or robot block – shows the number and types of colours used in producing the stamp.
(b) Imprint block – shows the company and the country that has produced the stamp.
(c) Value block – shows the total value of stamps on a sheet of that denomination and the serial number of the sheet.

  • Double bottom row – this product has all the 3 ‘blocks of four’ described above.
  • First Day Cover (FDC) – a special envelope, which is designed to go along with the theme of an issue. The envelope can be sold either with a full complement of each denomination of the stamps in that issue and endorsed with a special machine cancellation mark indicating the date of issue, or simply, on its own. FDCs with stamps are sold only on the day when an issue of stamps is released. For example, if our issue date is 25 October 2010, FDCs are sold only on this day, after which they are withdrawn from sale and shredded.  FDC stamps can be sold on or before the date of issue.
  • Miniature sheet-is a sheet of stamps composed of all denominations of stamps in that particular issue of stamps
    All the products mentioned above are offered as mint or cancelled, except for the First Day Cover (FDC) with stamps, which has to be cancelled before it leaves the Philatelic Bureau

Zimbabwe Posts Stamp Policy

  • Commemorative stamps are produced  four times a year
  • These stamps are valid for a period of four years.
  • They can be bought at the bureau throughout the first 24 months but are only available throughout the postal network for six months from date of issue.
  • Definitive stamps are issued once in five years.
  • They are the normal postage stamps during the whole period and are valid for up to 8 years.
  • (Other administration policies vary. An example is in England where we are reliably informed they had 48 issues in 1999)
The Philatelic Bureau
2nd Floor Harare Main Post Office
Box 4220, Harare.
Tel +263 4 783585