Helvetia Philatelic Society of Great Britain

for stamps and postal history of Switzerland

Founded over 70 years ago, we pride ourselves on being a friendly and welcoming society for collectors and students of Swiss stamps and postal history. Our membership is located both in the UK and throughout the world. Beginners and experts alike are welcome to join and participate in our activities. To find out more, click here.

What’s New

May 2021: The virtual AGM has been arranged for 20th May 2021 at 4.30 pm as announced in the latest newsletter.

ZOOM: Guidance notes, prepared by a member of the Society, Martin Lodge, to help those unfamiliar with the IT procedures necessary to access and participate in HPS ZOOM meetings are now available on the website in the Useful Links section. If members wish to watch or participate in meetings they must first register their name and email address with the Chairman, Bob Medland. For each specific meeting, only registered members ( and reciprocal members) will then be sent joining details for each meeting.

News of the latest virtual philatelic meetings

The  HPS meeting  on 15 April attracted 24 participants. There was no theme and the programme was based entirely on a diverse and contrasting series of seven  short  contributions shown in a batting order devised, choreographed and umpired by the Chairman, Bob Medland . After opening with another example of a Pro infirmis card, interest then moved to an exploration  by Tim Hargreaves about the postal history of a Franco label cover sent to Odense, Denmark.

This was followed  by Norton Wragg  making an  attractive  presentation  of covers associated with Suisse Atlantique shipping services. These were sent  from various parts of the globe but all with Swiss stamps affixed. Undoubtedly philatelic but reminding us about this merchant service, its past wartime establishment in 1941 and purpose which was to secure essential supplies for Switzerland in times of economic difficulty.

Mike Sharp took a step back in time with a story about the postal history of a letter sent in 1787 from Richterswil to Scotland . Pre Napoleonic letters sent to Great Britain are scarce. In Switzerland, fragmented postal services and localised currency use add to the difficulties of establishing both tariff and precise routing to the Channel coast. Uncertainties were highlighted.

With a return to the modern era of of the PTT  in a novel presentation by Eric Lienhard, the introduction and use of PTT notification cards, both change of address and new telephone numbers, was described and illustrated.

Hans-Jurgen Zinken introduced us to a major collaborative project which is intended to capture and record all known postmarks of Switzerland used during the years 1865 – 1926. This builds on previous published work associated with Guller cancellers. It is a two year project and interested philatelists are invited to take part.

David Colman gave  a short display of Perfins illustrating 8 possible orientations  when applying the the punch and Phil Vaughan concluded the meeting with a query about a postal cover sent to Germany.

A more detailed account of the meeting will be reported in a forthcoming newsletter.

American Helvetia Philatelic Society virtual meeting 2 April 2021: There were up to 30 participants including two HPS members. The subject  was buying and selling in European auctions. As is the case in the UK, opportunities to build collections without resort to the philatelic traders of Switzerland and other European auction houses is hampered by the availability of material  locally. Discussions were based around the personal experience of those participants who had made overseas purchases.

Of the internet website platforms , there was particular interest in Philasearch prompting some screen sharing to demonstrate how the search facility could be exploited. For some purchases of particular value or items, known to be at risk of forgery, the use of expert philatelic services to secure certification was raised. The Schweizerischer Briefmarken-Prufer-Verband (Swiss Association of Philatelic Experts) SBPV is a recognised source of such expertise and assurance.

Finally, there was also comment about the commercial aspects, both variable commission charges and the most economical way to make payments.

The meeting closed with a couple of postal history item queries including an explanation of the Kocher stamp commercial labels issued in 1909.

Reminder about the benefit of membership: The Society welcomes to our website all visitors interested in the philately and postal history of Switzerland. There is a wealth of information freely available through the pages and links. However, for a modest annual subscription, archive newsletter access is not restricted to those published 5 or more years ago. There are other benefits including an extensive lending library service and the option of participating in a popular packet sales service amongst members seeking to purchase elusive items or sell duplicate material.

Networking: News of Society members wider philatelic activities including contributions to other philatelic societies is always welcome.

Regional Meetings

Southern Group:

No future meetings have been planned at this time.

The programme normally includes  opportunities for members to display any material with a Swiss connection, including recent acquisitions, from their own collections. The theme will be postmarks. It is also an excellent opportunity to seek opinions about queries and share research findings. Guests are welcome.

Please remember to contact Werner Gattiker in advance if planning to attend to facilitate the catering arrangements.

Apologies also appreciated from regular attendees, please email :-  werner@swissstamps.co.uk

Midlands and the North Group:

No future meetings have planned at this time


‘Any philatelist interested in any meeting is invited to make expressions of interest through the Secretary, Neville Nelder. secretary@swiss-philately.co.

Art, Crafts & Design:

Richard Donithorn, the Society’s Editor, has produced another extremely useful document listing all Swiss stamps with a subject of Art, Crafts, and/or Designs. Zumstein catalogue numbers are used throughout, and the article will be of particular benefit to thematic collectors.
Click here here for more detail.

Swiss Trial Prints

The 7th Edition (September 2015) of Swiss Trial Prints, produced by Derrick Slate, has now been added to the website. Click here for the Swiss Trial Prints Catalogue to view and download the 164-page catalogue for free.

Good To Know

A series of informative articles written by HPS member and expert Werner Gattiker. Appearing in the newsletter from 2012 onwards, these help collectors identify and separate those ‘difficult’ stamp issues. For example, the Rayon Issues of 1850-1852 have various ‘types’ derived from the lithograph printing stones use. ‘Type Tables’ for Rayons I, II, and III can be found here on the website.

Are you interested in Swiss stamps and postal history?

Why not join our Society, and enjoy all the benefits that membership offers.

To find out more please contact the Secretary on

01453 765937


Click on the thumbnails below to find out more about early Swiss stamps.

Are you interested in Swiss stamps and postal history?

Membership of our Society has many benefits including a monthly newsletter, regional and national meetings, a superb lending library etc.

To find out more please contact the Secretary on

01453 765937