The Three Legs of the Stool
Organised philately is often likened to a three legged stool. Like a three legged stool, each leg is vital for it to function properly. In this analogy, the three legs are the collectors, the trade and the postal administrations.
Clubs and Societies
Collectors contribute to organised philately in many ways. For most, it is through membership of a philatelic club or society who are in turn affiliated with their State or Territory Philatelic Council.
Australia’s State and Territory Philatelic / Stamp Councils provide a wide range of services and facilities many of which are free of charge. These vary from Council to Council but typically include organisation of State level exhibitions, exhibiting and judges training courses and workshops, youth activities, display frames for hire and promotion of stamp clubs and societies. Some Councils are fortunate to own their own premises and are therefore able to provide meeting facilities, philatelic libraries and other activities. All councils are staffed by volunteers from their respective philatelic communities.
There are actually several philatelic and numismatic dealers’ associations currently operating in Australia, however it is the Australasian Philatelic Traders’ Association or APTA which is formally associated with the Australian Philatelic Federation.
The Trade provides the vital and necessary link between collectors. This is done in many ways, through stamp shops, mail order businesses, auctions, and by attendance at exhibitions and fairs. As a trade organisation, APTA is active in developing organised philately by organising shows, sponsoring special prizes at exhibitions, and working with the APF to develop and implement a range of initiatives.
Australia Post is Australia’s official postal administration. Australia Post works closely with the APF in promoting collecting, research, exhibiting, and the like.