Inaugurated in the early 20th Century, airmail was a premium service which required paying special postal rates. U.S. airmail stamps document the early history of aviation commerce - from biplanes to Zeppelins to flying boats.
The first airmail stamp - a 24-cent stamp that covered postage from New York to Washington - was issued in May 1918. The stamp pictured the plane that carried the mail – the Curtiss Jenny – and is widely recognized today because a pane of 100 was accidentally printed with the plane upside-down.
On July 1, 1924, regular airmail service across the country was established. Airmail was divided into three zones: New York to Chicago, Chicago to Cheyenne, and Cheyenne to San Francisco. Mailing a letter cost eight cents per zone, so stamps were made in denominations of 8, 16, and 24.
In February of 1926, the Post Office contracted private air companies to distribute airmail. Three stamps were issued for use on these contract airmail routes (or CAMs), each depicting the U.S. map.
Charles Lindbergh’s historical flight in May of 1927 inspired one of the most popular airmail stamps issued, which featured his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. The cost of airmail was reduced in 1928, and two new stamps were issued: Beacon on Rocky Mountains and the Winged Globe.
Airmail service across the Pacific was taken over by the Post Office Department in November 1935 as the threat of war with Japan increased, and Pan Am was chosen as the carrier. A stamp was issued for the three trans-Pacific zones: San Francisco to Hawaii, Hawaii to Guam, and Guam to the Philippine Islands. It originally cost 25 cents per zone, but in 1937, a 20 cent stamp was issued and the cost of mailing a letter from the mainland U.S. to the Philippine Islands was reduced to 50 cents and airmail was extended to Hong Kong.
Cross-Atlantic airmail began on May 20, 1939 as Pan Am delivered mail from New York to Marseilles, France, traveling through Portugal on the way. Although this service didn't las...
During World War II, seven stamps known as Transports were issued, each with a different denomination and depicting a different twin-motored transport plane.
After World War II, many commemorative stamps were released, such as a stamp to honor the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union in 1949 and another to honor the 50th anniversary of airmail service in 1968. Many commemoratives featuring aviators (such as Amelia Earhart, Robert Goddard, and the Wright brothers) were also released.
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A Rental Named DesireInternational Business Times, August 27th
The secretary and mother of four awoke in the morning to find water pooling in the den, collecting higher at the front of the house, where the floor pitched toward the lawn. Desi owned the washing .... It's also where their grandmother, who often...Read more
Beneath the Southern Cross we stand, a sprig of wattle in our handSydney Morning Herald, August 25th
But, and here is the rub, we simply save the price of a postage stamp – instead of sending that letter external mail to the British Queen, the Prime Minister sends it internal mail to a joint sitting of the Parliament of the people, to seek a two...Read more
Why Scientists Are Outfitting Bees with Teeny, Tiny BackpacksGOOD Magazine, August 25th
“The tiny technology allows researchers to analyze the effects of stress factors including disease, pesticides, air pollution, water contamination, diet and extreme weather on the movements of bees and their ability to pollinate,” says Paulo de Souza...Read more
I Is an Other: The Mail Art of Ray JohnsonHyperallergic, August 22nd
Fittingly at the June opening of the ongoing show Please Return to: Mail Art from the Ray Johnson Archive, at Richard L. Feigen & Co., attendees were invited to create mail art using Ray's original templates. .... comic-book bird in mid-flight; an...Read more
Where Did Max Miller Die?Air & Space Magazine, August 20th
But his early life wasn't really known until 2004 when A. D. “Don” Jones, a retired aerospace engineer and a leading airmail philatelist (stamp collector to you) published a biography of Miller for the American Air Mail Society. As a judge for...Read more
Tribute to Country's Stamp Collector Kamal PatelAllAfrica.com, August 17th
Kamal Mohanbhai Patel who died recently in Chililabombwe's Konkola Mine Hospital was perhaps Zambia's sole passionate stamp collector. A man with a sweet and phlegmatic personality, Kamal had a knack for detail. Nobody gathered postage stamps ...Read more
Selling Out the Newspaper Comic Striplareviewofbooks, August 15th
First, in a sign of how little faith they had in his work, the syndicate requested that Schulz scrap his one-panel format for four tiny, equally sized boxes that were, by Schulz's estimation, no bigger than “four air mail stamps. ..... In a three...Read more
Minimum Wages vs. Universal Basic IncomeHuffington Post, August 11th
Food stamps tend to only last to the third week each month. ... Contact your representative and tell them to support the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2015 which would provide everyone with a Social Security number an equal share of the...Read more