Scouts on Stamps
In thematic, or topical, stamp collecting, where you collect stamps after their illustrations, the interest for philately and other hobbies can be combined. Scout Philately is an interesting part of thematic philately, and comprises the collecting of philatelic material related to the boy scout and girl guide / girl scout movements.
Many countries have issued stamps in honour of scouting. Their own country's scout stamps are usually the only contact with scout philately for most stamp collectors. Probably many also have seen one or more of the special postmarks that have been used at scout camps.
Scouting was founded in England in 1907 by the later Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell. He was one of the superheroes of that time, after his commanding of the garrison in Mafeking, Cape of Good Hope, during the siege. Stamp supply was short, and in April, 1900 emergency stamps were produced, intended for local postage within the sieged town. One of the stamps shows a portrait of Baden-Powell. Even though this was 7 years before scouting started, the Mafeking stamps are considered the first scouting stamps.
The next step in the history of scout philately originates from the liberation of Czechoslovakia from the Austrian-Hungarian empire. A postal service in Praha was run by the local scouts. For this scout mail delivery service, dedicated stamps, postal stationery and special postmarks were used.
The scouting idea spread quickly all over the world, and during the 90 years history of scouting, many scout and guide stamps have been issued. More than 200 countries and territories have issued several thousand stamps depicting scouting activities. These stamps, as well as souvenir sheets, postal stationery, scout camp cancellations, machine cancellations and meter slogans form the collecting area Scout Philately. This represents an interesting and enjoyable way of combining scouting and philately.