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
Maria Kochetkova puts her personal stamp on dance and dressSFGate, December 18th
like the millionth time that day, glide through the air to perform a sliver of “Nutcracker,” looking every bit the Moscow-born, Bolshoi-trained ambassador of the arts that she is, but for two small things: a video camera bobbling from her biceps as...Read more
Christmas Tip Sheet for JournalistsHuffington Post, December 16th
By now, with Christmas only nine days away, many are probably rushing to do their last-minute shopping, baking the last batch of cookies, feeling stressed by too many annoying Christmas songs and commercials blasting out of the airwaves, all while...Read more
Bygones: Derby crowds mobbed daring young avaitor after flying displayDerby Telegraph, December 16th
It was first held in 1912. Hamel travelled to Paris from London to collect his new racing model Morane-Saulnier aeroplane and stayed overnight in the French capital before setting off the next day for Hendon, north London. ... Not many months earlier...Read more
Holiday rush begins for postal carriersJackson Clarion Ledger, December 15th
"People have the habit of preparing their cards and letters on Saturday and Sunday and putting them into the collection bins on Monday." He says it will be a peak day for the agency's website, too, with some 7 million visitors expected to have bought...Read more
Build up to ChristmasDaily American Online, December 9th
The year was 1956, and the month was December. Unemployment was at a comfortable 4.4 percent, and my father was selling life insurance door to door for American General. He also went door to door to collect the premium from each of his clients on a ...Read more
Galveston - where the gifts aremySanAntonio.com, December 5th
You know you're close to the island when you breathe in and salty air clears your pipes. Palm trees and pink hibiscus begin to ... Maybe a closer look at framed pages from a private collection of U.S. postage stamps. But I stopped at the men's Scully...Read more
Hints From Heloise: Old magazines need new readersWashington Post, December 1st
There also is information on the Web site www.nationalgeographic.com, where you can post notices about your collection and see others that are available. Any other ... Dear Heloise: Winter's here, and with drier air comes static electricity. To control...Read more
Holiday happenings across Southern ArizonaTucson News Now, November 28th
The university who collects the most toys 'by weight' wins bragging rights (until next year) and the satisfaction of making this a Merrier Christmas for Arizona children! HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Holiday nights, a million lights at Tohono Chul Park .... Open...Read more