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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Recent News: Airmail Stamps
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On safari with Damian Aspinall - in KentTelegraph.co.uk, July 3rd
Rather than having what he calls 'postage stamp' collections of two or three of each species, animals are kept, as far as possible, in family groupings. There are no sea lions or ... There is no way in the world you could go out and collect animals...Read more
Ouachita Life: You'll never forget the Chennault MuseumMonroe News Star, June 27th
He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, his image was printed on a U.S. postage stamp and his memory is very much alive both in the United States and China. Today, the Chennault ... Also included is a Delta Air Lines collection. Delta was founded...Read more
Australia Post's future is no longer in the mailSydney Morning Herald, June 26th
The group has about 36,000 employees, and 23,000 of them work in a letter collection, sorting and delivery business that is being crushed by the relentless expansion of internet-based communication. ... Changes announced by the Abbott government in...Read more
The beauty left behind The author says good-bye to gardens crafted over 40 yearsGazetteNET, June 25th
My garden was never worthy of a public tour although I wrote about it in this column. It was my private collection of favorite plants. I was able to move just a handful of plants to my postage stamp gardens at the new condo. With knee and eye problems...Read more
For Egypt, TV Show's Shocking Twist Is Its Sympathetic JewsNew York Times, June 23rd
there,” he declares in the series, dipping into a notorious conspiracy theory about a popular Western beverage: “For this reason, I am demanding that Coca-Cola be considered a forbidden drink, and for a postage stamp with the picture of Al Aqsa...Read more
Could The Masterpiece Be A Fake? Profit, Revenge And 'The Art Of Forgery'WFAE, June 23rd
This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross who's off this week. If you had the artistic talent to create impressive paintings or sculpture, could you imagine devoting that skill to copying the work of past artists and trying to pass your...Read more
Don't gravelscape LALos Angeles Times, June 13th
All over the city — and especially in park-poor areas, where postage-stamp lawns may be the only relief from pavement — we have to think before we act. Will exchanging a living, breathing yard for a ... Plants and trees provide shade and transpire...Read more
Hedgehog Toothpicks and Other Everyday Objects From North KoreaNew York Times, June 10th
A 3G USB air card from Koryolink, North Korea's mobile phone service provider. In March 2013, North Korea began to allow some foreigners to carry their mobile phones into the country and connect to their local service provider to send and receive data...Read more