Nowadays, several writings on the present and the future of philately seem to be increasingly filling the columns in both printed and digital media worldwide. The mood is a mixture of rather more pessimistic and less optimistic messages, as is naturally expected. This issue, however, is not a new one. In an interesting short article on the AIJP website, on 23 January 2017, President Wolfgang Maassen, a good friend of the HPS, tells us that this issue was first raised in a German journal in July 1863. You read correctly: 1863!

As far as we are concerned, it is quite remarkable that, amidst the very deep economic crisis, we are pleased to welcome each year several new members to the HPS, as well as new writers to Philotelia; a perennial source of life for both the Society and the journal. The new blood adds energy and freshness, modernises us, opens up new directions in philatelic research and goes some way towards addressing the necessary renewal of the Society membership.

There is something however that cannot be dealt with: the sudden loss of our select few; those who selflessly contribute to philately with their knowledge, their experience, their ethos, their sheer overall presence and value. Each loss is a deceitful blow below the belt in a regrettably predestined battle.