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.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Stamp Collecting Round-up

The Stamp Collecting Round-up

Don Schilling's long-running, in-depth blog on stamp collecting and postal operations. Schilling stays up on all th… [read review or visit site]

National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum

If you're into postal history or collectibles, check out the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. This extensive s… [read review or visit site]

R. A. Siegel Auction Galleries

R. A. Siegel Auction Galleries

This auction house site offers an extensive online database of US stamp information. Includes PDF catalogs of past … [read review or visit site]

Post Office in Paradise

Post Office in Paradise

Post Office in Paradise showcases Hawaiian postal history from the years before Hawaii became a part of the United … [read review or visit site]

Private Die Proprietary Stamps

Private Die Proprietary Stamps

Bob Hohertz's impressive database of U.S. Private Die Proprietary stamps from the Civil War and Spanish American Wa… [read review or visit site]

Alphabetilately

Alphabetilately

First shown in 2008 to celebrate the Smithsonian National Postal Museum's 15th anniversary, Alphabetilately is esse… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

1930 Us Zeppelin $2.60 Sc C15 Nh Cat $9751930 Us Zeppelin $1.30 Sc C14 Nh Cat $650Scott # C15 Us Zeppelin $2.60 Nh Cat $9751930 Us Zeppelin $2.60 Sc C15 Nh Cat $975Ckstamps : Fantastic Mint & Used Us Stamps & Airmails Collection In BooksScott # C13 Us 1930 Zeppelin 65c Nh Cat $275Us Stamp:#c13 65c Green 1930 Graf Zeppelin Air Mail Used StampUs, Airmail, 400+ First Flight & Other Old Covers W/stampsMomen: Us Stamps #c2 Mint Og Nh Vf $150 Lot #97111930 Us Zeppelin $2.60 Sc C15 Nh Cat $975Ckstamps: Us Air Mail Stamp Collection Scott#c3 24c Mint Nh Og Spot On Gum1930 Us Zeppelin 65c Sc C13 Nh Cat $275Us Stamp:#c15 $2.60 Blue 1930 Graf Zeppelin Air Mail Used StampMomen: Us Stamps #c1 Mint Og Nh Vf $120 Lot #9737-2Ckstamps: Us Air Mail Stamp Collection Scott#c3 24c Mint Og Appear Nh Cv$140Us Stamp:#c14 $1.30 Brown 1930 Graf Zeppelin Air Mail Used StampMomen: Us Stamps #c6 Mint Og Nh Vf $160 Lot #9588Ckstamps: Us Air Mail Stamp Collection Scott#c18 50c Mint Nh Og Cv$90Us - Good Zeppelin Postcard Lot # 1Graf Zeppelin 1933 Flight Cover #c18 Century Of Progress Cachet Miami To ChicagoMomen: Us Stamps #c18 Zeppelin Mint Og H Xf $70 Lot #9745Nystamps Us Air Mail Stamp # C2 Mint Og Nh $130 Gum SkipCkstamps : Amazing Most Mint Some Used Us Bob Airmail Pd Etc Stamps Collection1930 Us Zeppelin $1.30 Sc C14 H Cat $400 Us Mint C1-c86 W Coil Pairs - Most Nh Inc. C18 - On Hingeless Album Pages 1933 Us #18c 50¢ Zeppelin Block Of 5 (og Nh) Century Of Progress No ReserveCkstamps: Us Air Mail Stamp Collection Scott#c1 6c Mint Nh Og Tiny Gum SkipCkstamps: Us Air Mail Stamp Collection Scott#c10a 10c Mint Nh Og Cv$1201930 Us Airmail Stamp Graf Zeppelin $2.60 Mint Scott C15 Ng Nh XfUs, Excellent Airmail & Bob Stamps Mounted On Mystic PagesMomen: Us Stamps #c1 Mint Og Nh $120 Lot #9726Dr Jim Stamps Old Us Air Mail Scott C3 24c Curtiss Jenny Unused Og HingedPrexie Cover $1 Wilson Solo Use Air Mail Clipper Service To Manila 1939Us Stamp:#c3 24c Carmine & Blue 1918 Air Mail Mh/og StampMomen: Us Stamps #c3 Mint Og H $75 Lot #9635Momen: Us Stamps #c3 Mint Og H Vf $75 Lot #9634Dr Jim Stamps Old Us Air Mail Scott C5 16c Service Emblem Unused Og Hinged ThinUsa 1930 C13, Used Graf Zeppelin .65 Cent Green, Scott Cat $160.U.s. #c13 Mint Nh - 1930 65c Graf Zeppelin ($275)Nystamps Us Plate Block Air Mail Stamp # C18 Mint Og Nh Paid $895 P#6U.s. #c1-3 Used Blocks - 1918 Airmail Set ($400)Ckstamps: Us Air Mail Stamp Collection Scott#c18 50c Used Cv$47.50Lot U.s. Airmail Stamps, Most Mint, Never Hinged, 94 Stamps & 2 Plate BlocksMomen: Us Stamps #c6 Mint Og H $75 Lot #9608United States 1940 Air Mail Censor Cover To France Returned Service Suspended Dr Jim Stamps Us Canton Ohio Air Circus Air Mail Event Cover 192980c Airmail Stamp, Scott C46, 10c Prexie On 1954 Registered Cover To Hong KongMomen: Us Stamps #c3 Mint Og H Vf/xf $80 Lot #9636Dr Jim Stamps Old Us Air Mail Scott C18 50c Graf Zeppelin Unused Disturbed GumU.s. Airmail Plate Blocks - All Different - Face Value $ 18.64Usa 1929 - 1st Zeppelin Round The World Flight Postcard To Budapest HungaryU.s. #c7//ce2 Mint Nh - 1929 -41 Airmails ($110)1977 Air Mail Balloon Cover - Double Eagle Nystamps Us Air Mail Stamp # C1 Mint Og H $60Momen: Us Stamps #c1 Mint Og Nh Vf $120 Lot #9737-1Ckstamps: Us Air Mail Stamp Collection Scott#c2 16c Mint H Og $651932 Uss Akron (zr-4) Coast-to-coast Roessler Blue Zeppelin Cachet Cvr (r1)Momen: Us Stamps #c1 Mint Og Nh Vf $120 Lot #9736-1Momen: Us Stamps #c5 Mint Og H Vf $75 Lot #9708Us Stamp:#c6 24c Carmine 1923 Air Mail Mh/og Stamp

Recent News: Airmail Stamps

Source: Google News

KINGSTON BRIEFLY: Feb. 5
Wicked Local Kingston, February 5th

For a complete performance schedule, to order tickets, or for more information, call the box office at 781-871-2787 or email boxoffice@companytheatre.com or visit www.companytheatre.com. ..... KINGSTON — “Young at Heart,” hosted by Kingston Council on...Read more

The Big Short's Big Shortcomings
Huffington Post, February 1st

"Food Stamp recipients didn't cause the financial crisis," said President Barack Obama in his final State of the Union speech. .... These street hustlers of the lending world often used mail solicitations and ads that shouted, "Bad Credit? ... An...Read more

Howard Koslow, prolific artist of US Lighthouse series, dead at 91
Linn's Stamp News, January 30th

Century stamps in 1999, four of the Jazz/Blues stamps in 1994, stamps for the three branches of the federal government and U.S. Constitution in 1989 and 1990, the Brooklyn Bridge (1983), numerous other commemoratives, plus many postal cards and...Read more

Born Jan. 30: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Linn's Stamp News, January 30th

Many nations issued stamps that show Roosevelt working on his stamp collection, including a 50-centime violet airmail stamp from Monaco in 1947 (Scott C16), and a set of three stamps plus a souvenir sheet issued by the Philippines in 1950 (542-544, C70)...Read more

Camels on stamps of the classic era fun to collect
Linn's Stamp News, January 28th

Other stamps of the classic era that depict military uses of camels include camel corpsman on 1939 stamps of Aden (Scott 17, 26) and the desert infantry with camels in the background on a 1934 airmail stamp of Italy (C70). The 4-anna and 8a stamp in...Read more

Postal History in Tucson: Letter That Fell Into the Sea
Arizona Public Media, January 27th

Its many volunteers come everyday to help sort donated stamps into categories, from vegetables to iconic jazz singers, from horses to spacecrafts, for educational kids programs. As mail lovers or mail collectors, they tell us about unexpected moments...Read more

Maps document our past, guide our present, chart our future
Chicago Tribune, January 22nd

Lake County Surveyor Bill Emerson Jr. received an email from a 12-year-old boy with a rare request. "I absolutely love collecting maps as a hobby and I was wondering if you happen to have a paper map of Lake County, Indiana?" wrote Jonah Hurwitz. "If...Read more

Phonograph Records first-day covers: Bhutan to Canada, via the Bahamas
Linn's Stamp News, January 14th

Two of the seven Bhutan Phonograph Records stamps issued April 15, 1973, are affixed to this first-day cover that a collector ordered from the Bhutan Stamp Agency in Nassau, Bahamas, shortly after the stamps were issued. .... 1973, invoice pictured...Read more