The origins of the Society
The opening words of the first minute book of the Society are:
"At a meeting of gentlemen held in the Central Café, High Street, on Tuesday October 2nd 1894, it was resolved - That a Society be formed to further the interests of Stamp collectors in Sheffield, to be called the 'Sheffield Philatelic Society'." Only the Royal Philatelic Society of London, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool societies are older.
Mr G H Hunt, the Society’s first President
At the second meeting ten members were present but no stamps were shown. This may seem unusual today, but meetings which were solely for business or for the discussion of a philatelic topic were common in the early years. For example, in December 1901 a discussion took place on "the best means of making the Society interesting". In December 1909 a discussion on "New Issue Series and how it affects Philately" took place. There were complaints of "high face value stamps", though it was conceded that "from a speculative point of view they were a good investment". It was also suggested that that the "tendency to get unused had a bad effect on philately as it took away the pure collecting spirit", that is, buying from dealers as opposed to acquisition from mail. It was not until October 1912 that it was agreed that displays should be held every meeting.
An exchange packet was established within the Society soon after its founding, so that at the first Annual General Meeting in 1895 members were already discussing what one might term the "perennial problem of the packet". Complaints were made that members had written catalogue prices and exclamation marks on the sheets! Nevertheless, £180 worth of material had been circulated and £28 worth had been sold in the first year of the Society's existence. The figures for 1897-98 are quite staggering when one thinks of the value of money at that time: £1,200 worth of stamps circulated and sales of £181, with a profit to the Society of £4-6-0 (£4.30).
In 1896 the Society's first exhibition was held in the Cutlers' Hall with over 300 visitors. The second exhibition, a year later, took the form of a "Conversazione" at which a London dealer gave a ‘lantern lecture’; the third, in 1901, was again held in the Cutlers' Hall, with music and members displaying material.
Exchange Packet Secretary
Treasurer – J R Hartley
Competition Secretary –
Publicity – Steve Cook
Delegate to YPA – R Hindle
Auditor – John Hunter
ABPS Rep – Neil Ritchie