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
Source: Google News
Royal Mail 500th anniversaryLinn's Stamp News, February 11th
Great Britain's Royal Mail is celebrating 500 years of regular, organized mail service in 2016, and is issuing 10 stamps Feb. ... In the January issue of its publication for collectors, the British Philatelic Bulletin, the set is described as...Read more
Waterville bookseller nets $50000 in sale of rare stampKennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel, February 10th
In 1918, the Postal Service released its first 24-cent airmail stamp, which featured a Curtiss JN-4H biplane, but 100 stamps in the original 2.2 million run were printed upside down and immediately became collectors items. When the postal service...Read more
China Post Registered Air Mail TrackingThe Voice Observer (blog), February 8th
China Post is the official postal service of China. It is most most loaded post of the world. China Post offers a wide range of postal services, including letters, parcels, newspapers and magazines, stamp collecting, handling agent and information...Read more
Howard Koslow, prolific artist of US Lighthouse series, dead at 91Linn'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. RooseveltLinn'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 collectLinn'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 SeaArizona 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 futureChicago 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