Journal of the Anatomical Society of India

: 2022  |  Volume : 71  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 259--260

Philately, world postage stamps, history of medicine, and anatomists

Vishram Singh, BV Murlimanju, Rajanigandha Vadgaonkar 
 Department of Anatomy, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. B V Murlimanju
Department of Anatomy, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore - 575 004, Karnataka

How to cite this article:
Singh V, Murlimanju B V, Vadgaonkar R. Philately, world postage stamps, history of medicine, and anatomists.J Anat Soc India 2022;71:259-260

How to cite this URL:
Singh V, Murlimanju B V, Vadgaonkar R. Philately, world postage stamps, history of medicine, and anatomists. J Anat Soc India [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Mar 24 ];71:259-260
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Philately deals with the study and assortment of postal stamps. However, there are no barriers for the connection between the history of medicine and philately. It is very much exciting to see the portraits of people of world-famous anatomists, medical reputation, medical inventions, welfare organizations of medicine, and diseases as postal stamps. Postal departments all over the world have supported the efforts of governments in creating awareness and spreading information on health topics and programs. Great Britain has issued the first stamp globally in the year 1840.[1] In India, from 1837 onward, the East India Company used hand-struck stamps. However, the first stamp in India was printed in 1854 by Victoria-George VI during British India. Before the era of telephones, computers, and mobile phones, postal letters were the best and only method of communication nationally and internationally. Postage stamps are the token offered for postal charges and they are also utilized to spread essential information about history, culture, awareness, and achievements.[2] The hobby of postal stamp collection is now changed to digital philately due to advanced technology. A total of 48,159 stamps from 184 countries are registered in the World Association for the Development of Philately (WADP).[2] In 1970, France released a postal stamp featuring a French professor of pharmacy, Pierre Joseph Pelletier, and his student, Joseph Coventou, who together prepared pure salts of quinine and tested them clinically. This postal stamp was released to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the discovery of quinine.[3] The highest number of entries in the WADP is by France (1258), followed by Japan (1106), and the other top entries included the USA (1096), Portugal (1029), Belgium (994), Great Britain (987), Australia (954), Hungary (915), Spain (849), and Romania (846). Indian stamps totaled 554 entries, and the least entry in the WADP Numbering System is by the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[2]

During the 7th international conference of anatomy, which was held in New York City, USA, in 1960, Oscar V. Batson, who identified the vertebral venous system, was remembered.[4] Aristotle was published on a postal stamp from Greek and Galen in Yemen.[5] Leonardo da Vinci, who was instrumental in patenting the cross-sectional anatomy, was given on a stamp in France [Figure 1]a. Andreas Vesalius [Figure 1]b[5] is considered the founder of modern anatomy, and World Anatomy Day is celebrated on every year, October 15, which is the death anniversary of him. World Anatomy Day is an initiative of “International Federation of Association of Anatomists.” The picture of Andreas Vesalius, which shows the surgical dissection of the upper extremity, was reproduced [Figure 1]c.[5] Niels Stensen, who identified the duct of the parotid gland, was commemorated in Denmark in 1969.{Figure 1}

Although philately will not cover the whole historical anatomists and medicine, whatever published pictures on the postal stamps will introduce the world famous academicians and scientists into the fascinating medical field and the history of human anatomy.[5]


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3Paidhungat JV. Medical philately (medical personalities on stamps). J Assoc Physicians India 2001;49:909.
4Sauer ME. Anatomists on postage stamps. Anat Rec 1950;106:314.
5O'Rahilly R. Philatelic introduction to the history of anatomy. Clin Anat 1997;10:337-40.