Current membership for the first six months of the year is running at 240 within the UK supported by 75 overseas members showing an increase of 7 compared to the same period last year.

As with every society our membership reflects a wide range of experience and collecting interests covering the whole gamut of postal history. What new members will find is the willingness of everyone to share their knowledge and there is considerable networking within the group devoted to the free interchange of information.

Written applications for membership should be supported by the signatures of two current members or two referees (e.g. Secretary or Chairman of a Philatelic Society, Philatelic Trader) and accompanied by the current subscription.

To join the Postal History Society please download the application form in Acrobat format or Word format here. The Acrobat format document will appear in another browser window, from which you then have the opportunity to save it onto your hard drive. The Word format document will dowload directly onto your hard drive.

Societies and Institutions with similar interests may be admitted to membership for the receipt of one copy of each issue of the Society Journal.

All applications for membership are submitted to the Council of the Society for consideration and the Council has the sole right to approve or decline any application.

A record of members' names, addresses, subscription details and interests is stored electronically for the sole purpose of Society business and will not be used for commercial purposes or given to third parties.

In order that we can communicate with you, we have to ensure that the record is accurate and up-to-date. To that end, it would be appreciated if members would notify the Society when there has been any change of circumstances.

If you need further information please contact our membership secretary, Barry Hobbs, who will be able to help you. The address to write to is:
PHS Membership Secretary, 23 Greenways Rise, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 1HZ, UK.

  • Subscriptions
  • U.K. residents: 1 year £24; 3 years £66; 5 years £110
  • European residents: 1 year £27; 3 years £75; 5 years £125
  • Residents elsewhere: 1 year £30; 3 years £84; 5 years £140
  • Family membership: Add £5 to each year's subscription for every additional person i.e. £110 = £135 for two joint U.K. members for five years
  • Overseas applicants: Please pay subscriptions in pounds sterling at the rates shown. This means that the subscription amount in your local currency will vary depending on the exchange rate.

Chester Cross Post Cover

1756 letter from Chester to Petton endorsed "X post", charged 3d and sent via the Bristol to Chester cross post

Valparaiso to Hamburg via Panama

This unpaid wrapper posted in Valparaiso dated 5th September 1873 will have travelled up the west coast of South America on a Pacific Steam Navigational Company ship to Panama. There it crossed the Isthmus on the American owned railway to Colon and loaded onto R.M.S. Elbe of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. It departed on the 21st September arriving Plymouth on the 23rd October and arriving in London the same day where a charge mark of 1/5d was struck showing the amount due to the British Post Office. On arriving in Hamburg on the 25th October a charge of 19 ½ silver groschen was raised as shown in blue crayon

Early Machine Cancellations – Hoster Trials 1882-93

Trials started with the Post Office in 1882 on 2 machines submitted by Mr. Albert Hoster, which are thought to be a development of the earlier tested Azemar prototypes. Hoster insisted they offered faster processing with a high degree of accuracy. Despite various rejections by the Post Office Circulation Department the trials continued for 11 years. The final result was that they finished up life stamping the reverse of the cover as a receiving stamp, normally in red. The above type was used at Charing Cross branch in use between 16th October 1885 until 7th December 1887

Posted in Advance for Christmas

A postcard cancelled by the 'Christmas Cross' of Knutsford, Cheshire dated 1906. This scheme was introduced in 1902 and ran until 1909 with a variety of towns participating. During the latter years it was largely based in the North West of England from the regional post offices of Manchester and Liverpool. The idea behind it was that Christmas postcards and letters could be handed into a main post office around the 17th- 22nd December. Here they were cancelled with the special cachet and given a guaranteed delivery on Christmas Day. This gave the Post Office an opportunity to sort these early posted items and help relieve some of the enormous pressure associated with the increased Christmas mail

Postage due cover

A 1964 underpaid cover illustrating the use of French and Italian postage due stamps. A French postage stamp was also used to pay part of the tax

Sudan Airmail

It is quite remarkable what lengths people will and have gone to produce a cover. This is a first day cancellation dated 5th February 1931 struck in Khartoum and sent by ship to Alexandra with a Shellal-Halfa T.P.O. dated the 18th February on the reverse. Put on a plane to the UK where, what is highly probable, a grace-and-favour hand-stamp on a ½d green, date stamped 25th September, has been applied to confirm receipt. This would help establish that the letter had been carried by airmail. Much of this supposition is based on the known fact that the addressee was a stamp dealer. However it does illustrate the point that at times it is as well to have a guess in figuring out a cover

75th Anniversary Souvenir Booklet

The Postal History Society was formed as the first specialised Society of its kind when a group of eminent enthusiasts gathered in what was no doubt a smoke-filled room at 96 Regent Street, London, on Saturday 24th October 1936. Among the names to conjure with from the annals of the past are Fred Melville, Robson Lowe, Forster Bond and Samuel Graveson, all of whom feature on many library shelves to this day.