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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
The Stamp Collecting Round-up
National Postal Museum
R. A. Siegel Auction Galleries
Post Office in Paradise
Private Die Proprietary Stamps
Clubs & Associations
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Airmail Stamps
Source: Google News
In Pentagon's Special Vietnam History, Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing HurtWonkette (satire) (blog), January 31st
2015 is the 50th anniversary of the American deployment of ground troops to Vietnam — oh, sure, there were “advisors” well before that, but March 8, 1965 was when we first sent in 3,500 Marines. And to mark the anniversary, the Pentagon has set up a...Read more
Fuelling the dragon's fireWinnipeg Free Press, January 30th
Meanwhile, Chinese exports of environmental goods last year rose to $160 billion from $40 billion 10 years earlier, Ottawa consultant Céline Bak, president of Ottawa-based Analytica Advisers told the Globe and Mail. Sales of ... How bad it can be was...Read more
Ted Harrison saw Canada's North in gorgeous colourThe Globe and Mail, January 30th
Many Canadians and foreign visitors were introduced to his vision at Expo '86, where Mr. Harrison designed a dramatic three-dimensional backdrop depicting the northern sky above an open-air theatre at the entrance to the Yukon Pavilion. His style...Read more
Business chiefs urge taxes shake-upHartlepool Mail, January 30th
The Institute of Directors (IoD) identified taxes such as stamp duty on shares, air passenger duty (£3 billion each), and capital gains and inheritance tax (both £5 billion). Taxes which collect more than £5 billion should be simplified or reduced, the...Read more
What Is It?The Augusta Chronicle, January 29th
An avid stamp collector should get this correct, because the image shown is from a stamp series released by the post office of cars from the 1950s. Good one!” Cheryl Cook said: “I believe, after much thinking and searching, the car is a 1957 Lincoln...Read more
Guest Long Read: Exploring World War II History in The Channel Islands - A Day ...Anglotopia.net, January 29th
The La Valette Underground Military Museum was next and provided a fascinating collection of WWII items from the island's occupation (1940-45). The museum tour is unguided; you are free to roam through the air-conditioned tunnels once used to store ...Read more
DC community calendar, Jan. 29 to Feb. 5, 2015Washington Post, January 28th
Art of stamp design Ethel Kessler, designer for the now-iconic Breast Cancer Research fundraising stamp that has raised nearly $79 million, discusses her experience in the specialized world of stamp design. 6:45-8:45 p.m. National Museum ... “Bessie...Read more
Commentary: One stamp collector's priorityCBS News, January 18th
at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and promote October as National Stamp Collecting Month, the Postal Service dedicated a new $2 version of the most publicized stamp error in U.S. history -- the 24-cent 1918 Curtiss Jenny Inverted airmail stamp...Read more