Join a Philatelic
Joining a Philatelic Society or Stamp Club is an excellent way of growing your
collection and your knowledge, whilst by attending Society meetings you can
see what others are collecting in a social setting. The UK has an excellent
network of philatelic societies broadly categorised as
The UK's most prestigious
philatelic society is The
Royal Philatelic Society, London - the oldest philatelic society in
the world that was established in 1869 as The Philatelic Society, London.
"The Royal", as it is universally known, is a home of philatelic
excellence and expertise.
Another long-established national body is the National
Philatelic Society, (the "NPS") founded in 1899 as
the Junior Philatelic Society by that great promoter of the hobby, Fred
Melville and it is in that tradition that NPS is now responsible for this UK
Philately website. As a large general society, the National has members
through the UK and overseas and through its Library, magazine Stamp Lover, monthly
auctions, Literature sales and Circulating Packet and
therefore has much to offer its members wherever they live.
Other national clubs and societies can be found
in the ABPS listing of National
& Specialist Societies
The UK has a good network of Local philatelic
societies. Details are very often available in your local library and the
website of the Association of British Philatelic Societies ABPS website has a Search
for a Local Society facility - simply by entering your own post code
you will get a listing of local societies and their distance from your home.
Contact details for these Societies can normally be obtained by visiting their
website (where available) or by following the instructions on the ABPS Search
Alternatively your local library will very often have details of a society in
your area including any local societies that are not affiliated to the ABPS
and do not appear in their on-line search facility. And of course you can
always try "Googling" for a local yourself!
Local Societies may not offer all the services
that are provided by the larger national societies but they will usually hold
monthly meetings with displays at least during the winter months. Many will
operate a Circulating Packet as explained below and a number of people choose
not to attend meetings still belong to a society simply so they can to buy or
sell material through the "packet". The larger local societies may
meet more than once a month, run an action for their members , say once a year
and maybe hold the occasional dinner or other function.
in Victorian times it soon became clear that maintaining a comprehensive
worldwide collection was becoming an unrealistic aspiration and over the years
as collectors have tended to specialist in a particular aspect of the hobby,
there has been a growth in the number of societies catering for particular
interests. Whether it be a particular country, reign, stamp issue, thematic
interest (e.g. Olympic Games), there may well be a specialist society for your
interest. Again the ABPS Listing of National
& Specialist Societies will show the range of such societies and
provides links to their websites.
Specialist societies provide an excellent way of learning
more about your favoured subject. Many publish their own a specialist journal,
hold auctions, have helpful websites and occasional meetings around the
does a Meeting involve?
Many societies will be pleased to welcome you as a visitor if
you want to see what goes on before committing yourself to membership. Broadly
speaking evening meetings will commence around 7.30 - 8 pm (some societies,
including the National, have afternoon meetings) and typically the meeting will comprise a display by
a visiting speaker who will talk for around 20 minutes on his subject we
have greeted one another the evening's display by a visiting speaker whom will
talk about the material that he is showing after which the audience have
the opportunity to take a look at the material themselves. After a break in
which tea and coffee is usually served, the speakers presents the second half
of his/her display and the meeting closes around 9.45 with a vote of thanks.
Society websites often include details of the year's
programme of Displays and Speakers - click
here for the a look at the National's programme which shows the sort of
subjects on offer.
At some meetings members attending are invited
to display a few sheets of stamps or postal history from their own collections
and maybe say a few words. There is no compulsion but "Members Showing
Evenings" can provide you with a stepping stone to giving a bigger display
to your own or other Societies either in your own right or as part of a team
when in your Society
is invited to visit another club in the area. In any event one thing to
usually emerge from a "Members Showing Evening" is the wide range of
interests that a local society can muster.
is perhaps the moment to say something about the Circulating Packet -
sometimes called the "exchange Packet" or simply "the
Packet" which is a popular feature of many general and local societies,
providing members the opportunity to buy and sell material form the comfort of
Basically sellers mount and
price etc that they wish to sell in blank booklets which they pass to the
club's Packet secretary. Books from a number of sellers are then put together
in a box or packet which is then circulated round those society members who
have indicated that they wish to receive "the Packet". On receipt
these members purchase items if they wish to do so and notify/pay the Packet
Secretary accordingly. With local Societies, the packet is circulated by hand,
but with societies such as the National PS the packet is normally passed on by
post, enabling the packet to reach all parts of the UK. For more detail as to
the working of the National PS packet please