Helvetia Philatelic Society of  Great Britain – 75 years young

By Werner Gattiker 2021

The Helvetia Philatelic Society of Great Britain, the society for all collectors of Swiss stamps, covers and postal history, is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year. Edward H. Spiro invited a few fellow members of the Wimbledon Philatelic Society who were interested in Swiss stamps, round to his house, and they founded the embryonic “Helvetia Stamp Club” in 1946, later to evolve into the Helvetia Philatelic Society under Edward Spiro’s enthusiastic leadership.

Following a public display of Swiss stamps at the Stagg & Russel Exhibition Gallery at Leicester Square, London, and the formation of a formal committee, the society flourished. Many eminent philatelists such as Professor Landau, Dr. K. Strauss, Lawrence Moore MBE, Colonel H. DeWatteville CB, R.F.Bulstrode OBE, Alma Lee and many others were at one stage active members of the HPS. One of the first lady members, Mrs Edith Rawnsley, became a firm pillar of the society in her roles as secretary and newsletter editor. She wrote many articles about Swiss stamps and philately in all the British stamp magazines, always fostering the Helvetia Philatelic Society.

The flagship publication, the HPS Newsletter, has been published without interruption since the late 1940s and continues to offer the membership about 150 full colour A4 pages annually of philatelic and society news, research articles on Swiss philately and postal history, questions and answers, and meetings reports. Members receive the newsletter and all except the most recent issues are on our website and with a searchable index.

Other benefits of membership include a fantastic philatelic reference library covering Swiss stamps and philately. With over 300 books and catalogues, it is one of the largest such library outside Switzerland, and members can borrow the books without charge. The Society also offers a postal sales packet offering a wealth of stamps and covers for and by members.