Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Miscellaneous Single Episodes
Show: Calling All Stamp Collectors: "Switzerland"
Date: Feb 01 1941

CALLING ALL STAMP COLLECTORS

NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY

and the

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF STAMP CLUBS

with

CAPTAIN TIM HEALY

SUBJECT: "SWITZERLAND"

GUESTS: Mr. Thomas F. Harrison
George W. Caldwell
Gustave A. von Gross
H.L. Lindquist

Saturday, February 1, 1941
**************************
WEAF CALLING ALL STAMP COLLECTORS
1:15 - 1:30 P.M. FEBRUARY 1, 1941 SATURDAY

ANNOUNCER:

"CALLING ALL STAMP COLLECTORS" -- "CALLING ALL STAMP COLLECTORS". In cooperation with the National Federation of Stamp Clubs, the National Broadcasting Company takes pleasure in presenting another program for the special interest and enjoyment of those that collect stamps. And here is the National Federation of Stamp Clubs Radio Representative.. your old friend ... Captain Tim Healy.

HEALY:

Thank you, and good afternoon stamp collectors everywhere. From time to time we have brought to the radio audience well known representatives of National Societies, and smaller groups, playing important parts in our constantly increasing hobby. Today we have with us three guests, members of the "Helvetia Society," collectors of the stamps of Switzerland. This society, to our knowledge is the smallest National Society, having some 70 active members, residing throughout the United States, Cuba, and the Philippines. Organized February 28, 1938, in Philadelphia, Pa., this small group of collectors, in its short period of existence, has made wonderful strides, and today is looked upon as one of the progressive specializing groups in this country. Specializing groups are more and more coming into the foreground, as most collectors realize the futility to collect stamps to any degree of completion from the entire universe. We have
in our studio several prominent members and officers of "Helvetia," all wearing their traditional black velvet skull caps, piped in red, and embroidered on the front, an "Edelweiss," the national flower of Switzerland. In the absence of President Jacques Kilcher, who at this time is confined to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Thomas F. Harrison, an ardent booster and hard worker of the society, has consented to pinch hit for Mr. Kilcher. I am pleased to introduce to you the Secretary of the Helvetia Society.. Mr. Thomas F. Harrison...of Philadelphia, Pa.

HARRISON:

Thank you, Tim.. It is a real pleasure to be here, and the date is particularly appropriate, since today "Helvetia" is celebrating its Third Anniversary and Annual Banquet, held in New York, this year. This is one of the rare occasions when we meet our distant fellow members, clasp their hands in friendship and exchange yarns. To our fellow "Helvetians," who are prevented in joining us tonight in our festive activities, I wish to extend our heart felt greetings. That the "Helvetia Society" is filling a long felt want, is attested by our rapid growth. We have among us some of the most outstanding collectors in philately. Naturally the backbone of our organization is our monthly BULLETIN, and I can assure you, that our Editor, Gus von Gross, is doing a mighty fine job. We maintain our own "EXPERTIZING - NEW ISSUE - COUNTERFEIT - and RESEARCH DEPARTMENT." Our members, through the medium of the "BULLETIN" receive information of items not usually
found elsewhere. You see, Tim, we aim to help our members in their philatelic efforts.

HEALY:

I am sure, Tom, "Helvetia", in the past, has amply demonstrated her worthiness to be ranked as one of the great societies. Our second guest, another well known name associated with the stamps of Switzerland, and one of the Governors of the "Helvetia Society,"...is our friend...Mr. George W. Caldwell...of Philadelphia.

CALDWELL:

Thank you, Tim...Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

HEALY:

Mr. Caldwell, how did you happen to select Switzerland for your philatelic study?

CALDWELL:

Well, Tim, my story is not unlike that of many other collectors. I began according to the usual pattern and collected the stamps of many countries. Soon I found this to be a very unsatisfactory task. It was quite interesting of course, but it lacked something, and I proceeded to find that "something." Many groups were considered, subject, collections, for example, semi-postals, stamps of one color, and so forth. In course of time, I considered the possibility of hooking up philately with life, the history, perhaps of a single country. Here, Tim, was that "something" for which I had been searching. The rest was easy. What could fit into my plan more completely that that little "Alpine" republic which we call Switzerland, and the Swiss affectionately call "Helvetia." With its history going back into the ancient past, its traditions, its people...this must be it...and so I became a collector of Switzerland.

HEALY:

Apparently Mr. Caldwell, you made a wise choice, for I understand you have accomplished considerable in your study.

CALDWELL:

Yes, Tim, I really consider myself fortunate in having made the selection. However, for some time I was not sure just how I could contact Swiss people and sort of feel the Swiss atmosphere. Patience finally rewarded me. I was asked to become a founding member of the "Helvetia Society for Collectors of Switzerland." While this Society is made up of people of many nationalities, there are sufficient Swiss in the membership to give that Swiss atmosphere which I needed in order to complete my philatelic plans.

HEALY:

In your experience with Switzerland, you must have run across some items of unusual interest. Have you not? Tell us about them.

CALDWELL:

If you read my article on the Cantonal Stamps of Switzerland in a recent issue of "STAMPS" magazine, you will recall the illustration showing a double stamp - the "Double Geneva" we call it. This stamp is of unusual design, but if you look into its history and consider the period of its issue - 1843 - the whole idea unfolds before you. Let's look at the background. Before stamps came into use, it was customary for the recipient to pay the freight. To send a letter postage paid was unethical and apt to give offense. Under these conditions, the public had little opportunity to become familiar with postal rates. They simply sealed the letter, deposited it in the post office, or in the mail box. When Geneva issued its first stamps, the "Double Geneva," it put into effect two rates, a local rate of 5 centimes, and a Cantonal rate of 10 centimes. You might compare these rates to the present set-up of 2 and 3 cent basic rates now in use in this
country. In order to avoid confusion, and to quickly acquaint the public in the use of stamps, it is my opinion, and it seems reasonable that the design was purposely selected.

HEALY:

That is indeed interesting. Have you any other?

CALDWELL:

Yes, Tim, but I suggest that you ask Tom to tell you about the 2 Rappen bisect of 1862. Jacques has a beautiful copy on cover.

HEALY:

Go ahead, Tom, and tell us about this bisect.

HARRISON:

The postal treaty with Italy, effective July 1, 1862 provided for a 3 Rappen rate on small newspapers and printed matter. As there was no 3 Rappen stamp in the current series, and as the new series scheduled for October of that year could not be available in time, the Postmaster General authorized a small printing of 2 Rappen stamps using the current design.

HEALY:

I believe you said a 2 Rappen stamp was authorized and yet you said the rate was 3 Rappen. Did I understand you correctly?

HARRISON:

Yes, Tim, you did. I was about to go into that. You see, in addition to the printed rate to Italy, there was also a domestic rate, the letter being 2 Rappen. In order to keep down the cost of this temporary issue, only one value was printed, and instruction issued to use one, and one-half stamp, to make up the 3 Rappen rate. Hence the bisect which is so eagerly sought.

HEALY:

Mr. Caldwell said Mr. Kilcher has a very fine copy of this bisect on cover. Would you mind telling us about it?

HARRISON:

Gladly, Tim. There are several points about this copy which are interesting. In the first place, it is on an entire newspaper, and the stamps are not severed. Usually you find the whole stamp, and the bisect in two pieces. In the second place there is an interesting error in the postmark date. The postmark shows the month as June. Now the stamp was not issued until July, and further, the newspaper shows a July date. You see, the month slugs used in these postmarkers are in French and the only difference between June and July is in the final letter, J U I N for June, J U I L for July. The postal clerk had made a very simple mistake.

HEALY:

That is a very desirable piece, and Mr. Kilcher has reason to take pride in having it in his collection, but I am sure our listeners are anxious to hear from the First Vice President and editor of the "BULLETIN", so may I present...the Founder of the "Helvetia Society"...Mr. Gustave A. von Gross...from the "Quaker City" Philadelphia.

VON GROSS:

Captain Tim...and friends of the radio audience. Although I am credited with being the founder of our Society, I feel, equal honors should go to our worthy charter members, who are responsible in the building up "Helvetia" to what it is today. Namely: our President Jacques Kilcher; Second Vice President Sophie Buser; erstwhile Secretary Jerome Marcus; former Treasurer Thomas F. Harrison; and our original Governors Henry W. Salisbury and George W. Caldwell.

HEALY:

As a native of Switzerland, I am sure, you can give us some first hand information on how the present European conflict affects Switzerland philatelically? Won't you tell us something about the present military stamps and soldiers mail of that country in general, and whether the Swiss military stamps are genuine postage, or poster stamps.

VON GROSS:

The military labels, commonly referred to as military stamps by the Swiss catalogers Zumstein & Cie. of Bern, are in reality only labels. They are purely of a private nature, are not issued by the government, and have no franking value whatever. There are two distinct types. Those issued by the different military units to raise funds for the needy families of the soldier; and those issued in booklet form (20 different labels to the booklet), to help care for the destitute repatriated Swiss refugees returned from belligerent countries. Of the former, the 1939 and 1940 issues, there exist at present close to two thousand different varieties. The collecting of these labels, especially postally used, has become very popular in Switzerland, and opened a new field for the cancellation collectors.

HEALY:

If these labels, as you mentioned a while ago, have no franking value, haw can they be postally used, and of what philatelic merit are they to the philatelists?

VON GROSS:

Tim, the soldiers enjoy vast free franking privileges, and all mail sent by them, is obliterated with the fieldpost cancellation. For example. In many cases the soldiers affixed the military label issued by their particular troop unit where the postage stamp would be. The individual "Troop" fieldpost office station then would tie to the label what is known as a "clearance cancellation," containing the name of the military unit from hence the mail originated, in addition to the prescribed marking "Feldpost," or the numeral assigned to such station.

HEALY:

Gus, if I remember correctly, in your November BULLETIN you mentioned something about franked soldier mail in this connection. If soldier mail was exempt from postage, what caused the government to alter their decision?

VON GROSS:

Tom, the government did not change its original status as far as non-commercial soldier mail is concerned, but when the correspondence, which resulted between the military units who issued the soldier labels, and the public who purchased them became too great, the authority decided that those letters, due to their commercial nature, will be subject to postage. Consequently, franked letters, some with the combination of current postage stamps and military labels obliterated with the fieldpost cancellation, soon were plentiful, Without doubt, the most precious gems in any war cover collection, are entires of "INTERNED SOLDIER" mail, but the time is too short to go into a detailed discussion. Suffice to say, our BULLETIN fully covers this subject and is indispensable to the collector searching information on the "INTERNED SOLDIER" mail of Switzerland. In conclusion, I am very grateful to the National Federation of Stamp Clubs, and to the National
Broadcasting Company, for the opportunity "Helvetia" has been given to present this Switzerland program.

HEALY:

Thank you, gentlemen, for a most interesting program, and I am sure our listeners will join with me when I say that I hope it won't be long before you will be back with us again on this program. Our Chairman, Harry L. Lindquist, is here in the studio, and before we close I would like to ask him to say a few words.

LINDQUIST:

Thank you, Tim, and I also want to express my appreciation to you men from the Helvetia Society and to congratulate you on the splendid work that you are doing for your specialty. Since we inaugurated the round-table discussions, we have been receiving a very large number of letters with some very interesting questions to be answered. We hope that from time to time in the future we will be able to answer some of the questions, but we must again remind our listeners that we do not have facilities to answer letters personally and so many of you who have written us and are expecting answers will know the reason that we cannot write to each one individually. I also want to emphasize again that we do not buy or sell stamps and that anyone desiring information along this line should consult his stamp dealer or visit his local stamp club. And now, Tim, you might tell them something about our program for next Saturday.

HEALY:

Yes. Next Saturday, our broadcast will originate from Washington, D.C., where Senator James M. Mead of New York will be our guest speaker. Senator Mead, it will be remembered, was the Chairman of the House Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, and is very much interested in philatelic affairs, for he is an active stamp collector himself and has a remarkable collection. So be sure to tune in next Saturday, and in the meantime, here is my good friend, ____________________.

ANNOUNCER:

You have just heard Captain Tim Healy, Radio Representative of the National Federation of Stamp Clubs; Mr. Thomas F. Harrison, Secretary of the Helvetia Society for Collectors of Switzerland; Mr. George W. Caldwell, one of the Society's Governors, and Mr. Gustave A. von Gross, Founder, First Vice President of the Society, and Editor of their "BULLETIN". As well as Harry L. Lindquist, Chairman of the National Federation of Stamp Clubs. The "Calling All Stamp Collectors" radio program is presented weekly by the National Broadcasting Company in cooperation with the National Federation of Stamp Clubs.

This is the National Broadcasting Company, RCA Building, Radio City, New York.