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

March 2021: The opportunity to reset a programme of face to face meetings is still elusive. With
almost two years elapsed since the last Annual meeting, it may be necessary to make
arrangements for a virtual committee meeting to ensure some continuity in Society activities.
Please look out for future updates in the 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 Useful Links section. For each specific meeting, those wishing
to take part must also notify the convenor in advance. The necessary details will then be issued
through a personal email to each known applicant.

Newsletter archives: The 2016 newsletters have now been uploaded to the archives. The
Newsletter Index has also been extended to include 2020 entries . We are indebted to our
member, Freddie Hoadley, who has again undertaken this task.

American Helvetica Philatelic Society: A virtual meeting was held on 6 February. Again, for the
benefit of UK visitors and other overseas, it had been arranged to start at 5pm London time.
There were up to 31 participants and it was chaired by the President, Steve Orpheim, who
encouraged participants to introduce themselves and their particular philatelic interests to the
benefit of others with simlar interests looking to share knowledge.

There was no leading display but a miscellany of items which invited discussion. Firstly, a modern
cover which prompted a discussion about the computation of the postal rates. Discussions about
the postal charges for a postal stationary reply card sent from Bregenz, Austria to St Gallen in
1884 followed including the correct procedure for the despatch of the reply card. Other items
shown included Swiss poster labels produced in 1913 to support public fundraising to support
the fledgling development of aviation in Switzerland.
Separately, participants were also reminded about the ongoing printing ink studies of the bluegrey
1 Franc Strubel ZNr.27D issue undertaken by Dr John Barrett. His interest is in the use of
new synthetic ink by the printers and interested persons are invited to send him scans of such
stamps held in their collection for comparison in his study.

Thanks are again due to Richard Hall, the Secretary, for enabling our participation and we look
forwarding to returning the invitation at a forthcoming HPS meeting.

Schwizerische Vereinigung fur Postgeschicte meeting: The Swiss Association for Postal
History held a successful ZOOM meeting on 30 January. It was chaired by Eric Scherer and up to
48 participants were recorded including visitors. We enjoyed two excellent presentations.

Firstly, Jean Voruz , well known for his knowledge of the early Geneva posts, introduced us to a
less familiar subject ‘ The Telegraph and Postal Services of Switzerland 1852-1900.’ He spoke in
English and prefaced his account by describing ‘ Le Telegraphe Chappe’ , the optical system
used in France from 1792 until superseded by the advent of the Morse code and electric
telegraph in 1850. In Switzerland, the first telegraph message line was between Zurich and St
Gallen and this was quickly followed by a massive expansion of the service with 1000 offices
operating in 1875 by which time there were 3 million messages sent annually. He described the
documentation and introduction of Telegraph Stamps in 1868, details of tariffs and money
despatch arrangements.

For those interested in further reading, the HPS Library has copies of the bilingual Suisse-Schweiz,
Les Timbres- Telegraphe, Albert Auberson, Berne (1950).

The second presentation was given by Hans Zinken about Frederick de Coppet and the story of his
flexible head cancellers. It was well illustrated with English translations supporting the slides shown.
It is a fascinating story and the extensive research undertaken by Hans and his co-authors is reflected
in an excellent book which also includes English text.

A copy of Handbook Swiss ‘Razor Blade Postmarks’ Frederic de Coppet and his Invention of
Cancellers with Flexible Heads, Schriftenreihe der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Schweiz, Band XII (2015) is
also available from the HPS library.

HPS virtual meeting: A report on a successful HPS ZOOM meeting held on 18th February 2021
will be given in the April update.

The next meeting is scheduled for 18th March. Further information is available in the newsletter.

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