By John Apfelbaum
Switzerland was one of the world's first issuers of stamps and the country continues to be one of the most popular philatelic areas.
The first issues of Switzerland are called the Cantonals and the first of these was issued in 1846. Switzerland has a federal system of government, similar to the United States in that sovereignty rests with the states which united and set up a constitution governing the relationship between Federal government and the state governments. Over time in the United States, the Federal government has assumed more power and the states less. The same thing has happened in Switzerland except that the Swiss states or Cantons as they are called have retained more of their power vis a vis the Federal government than have the states in the United States.