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Not to be confused with airmail etiquette.
First official airmail stamp, issued by Poste italiane in May 1917
1949 Irish 1 shilling airmail stamp

An airmail stamp is a postage stamp intended to pay either an airmail fee that is charged in addition to the surface rate, or the full airmail rate, for a piece of mail to be transported by air.[1]

Airmail stamps should not be confused with airmail etiquettes, which are affixed to mail as an instruction to the postal authority that the mail should be transmitted by air.

Development[edit]

History[edit]

1877 Buffalo label affixed to balloon cover

With aviation developments, several countries started to experiment with flights, and postal authorities considered flying the mails. Initially flights were unofficial, but some flights such as the 1877 Buffalo balloon flight,[2] carried mail, to which stamp-like labels were affixed. At the beginning airmail letters cost more than surface mail.

Both airmail stamps and stamps surcharged for airmail were issued, though some countries restricted the use of airmail stamps only to letters sent by airmail, while others allowed them to be used for other mail services.[3]

Several of the early airmail stamps were produced by surcharging other stamps with overprints; at first in 1917, Italy used express stamps; regular stamps were used by Austria in 1918, Sweden used official stamps in 1920.[3] Some other examples are the use of fiscal stamps, telegraph stamps, postage due stamps, and parcel stamps by other countries.[3] Airmail stamps have been issued for extra services, such as registered airmail, express airmail, airmail fieldpost, and even with welfare surcharges.[3]

A new branch of collecting[edit]

1935 First flight cover from New Zealand to England with three denominations of airmail stamps paying the 2 shilling and 4 pence rate

In the 1920s and 1930s, when many countries issued airmail stamps to publicise their new airmail routes, a new branch of stamp collecting started. This led to an expansion that includes the collection of covers, and other postal items carried by aircraft.[4] Airmail items from the early days are expensive due to the popularity of this collecting area.[5] Specialised catalogues and albums are produced for collectors of airmail stamps and other aerophilatelic items.[6] Many airmail stamps feature aviation themes[1] that are an area of topical stamp collecting.[7]

Types of airmail stamp[edit]

Official airmail stamps[edit]

1918 US Inverted Jenny airmail stamp

The first official postage stamp to be issued for an airmail flight was in May 1917 when Poste italiane overprinted their existing special delivery stamps.[8] The following year, the United States Post Office Department issued the first airmail stamp specifically issued for the purpose;[9] while it does not have "airmail" or "air post" printed on it, it illustrates a Curtiss JN-4 airplane.[8] One pane of 100 stamps were found to have an invert error, known as the Inverted Jenny, because the airplane image in the centre is inverted relative to the outer frame.[10] The error is one of the most well known airmail stamps.[9]

Semi-official airmail stamps[edit]

Semi-official airmail stamps are not issued by the postal authority but have official sanction[11] and are sometimes used for local posts, they are more accurately referred to a labels rather than stamps.[12] The privately produced 5¢ Buffalo balloon stamps were used on June 18, 1877, for a balloon flight from Nashville to Gallatin, Tennessee.[2]

See also[edit]

References and sources[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b Miller, Rick. "Have airmail stamps fallen victim to success?". Linn's Stamp News. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  2. ^ a b Lynch, Maureen & Chris (2006-05-18). "Arago: Air Post Semi-Official Issues". National Postal Museum. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hornung (1970), pps. 94–95
  4. ^ Williams, Leon Norman (1990). Fundamentals of philately, Rev ed. State College, PA: American Philatelic Society. p. 15. ISBN 0-933580-13-4. 
  5. ^ Hornung (1970), pp. 258
  6. ^ Hornung (1970), pp. 262
  7. ^ Solarz, Sanford (2008-09-18). "Scanning the Horizons:Collecting Aircraft on Stamps". American Air Mail Society. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  8. ^ a b Baadke, Michael. "Airmail collecting can take you anywhere". Linn's Stamp News. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  9. ^ a b "Fad to Fundamental: Airmail in America: U.S. Airmail Stamps". National Postal Museum. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  10. ^ "Fad to Fundamental: Airmail in America: Inverted Jenny". National Postal Museum. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  11. ^ "Arago Glossary". National Postal Museum. Archived from the original on 30 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  12. ^ Miller, Rick. "Another world: semiofficial airmail stamps". Linn's Stamp News. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
Sources
Further reading
  • Gomez, James; Ariel Books Staff (1996). U.S. Airmail Stamps. Andrews McMeel Publishing. ISBN 0-8362-0989-3. 
  • Newall, Alexander S. (1990). Airmail Stamps: Fakes & Forgeries. Newall Consultants. ISBN 0-904804-96-8. 
  • Vachon, Georgette (1974). Goggles, helmets, and airmail stamps. Irwin: Clark. ISBN 0-7720-0619-9. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airmail_stamp — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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67 news items

Philly.com

Philly.com
Thu, 04 Dec 2014 22:35:10 -0800

Maybe the missing rubber band makes them more valuable, like the upside down airplane in that infamous Inverted Jenny airmail stamp, printed in May 1918. One of the "mistakes" sold for $977,500 in 2007.) And then, I told him what I knew about the ...
 
Westlake | Bay Village Observer
Tue, 09 Dec 2014 06:36:52 -0800

A scammer actually paid for an airmail stamp to get this letter to me! Although there are various iterations of this scam, the basic premise is that you are the next-of-kin and the sole heir to a fortune; they just need you to write back and it's all ...

New York Times

New York Times
Sun, 14 Sep 2014 17:27:20 -0700

Working swiftly and silently, someone cut the rope securing the leg of the display case and inched it forward. A sheet of protective glass was slid back, and four rare stamps were plucked from their display frame. Minutes later — around 9:30 on a ...
 
Washington Post (blog)
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:57:09 -0700

The misprint of the 24-cent airmail stamp, America's first, became an instant collector's item. When it was reissued in 2013, postal officials included in the run 100 sheets that actually show the airplane flying upright. Collectors have called this a ...
 
Antique Trader
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:22:30 -0700

CAMDEN, N.Y. — A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered to locate two of the world's most famous rare postage stamps that are still missing after they were stolen from the exhibit of a wealthy New York City woman in Virginia nearly 60 years ago.
 
New York Times
Sun, 06 Oct 2013 18:57:41 -0700

That 24-cent airmail stamp, America's first, was intended for mail carried on an experimental air service between Washington and New York. One bright morning in 1918, a collector named William T. Robey walked into his local post office to buy some ...

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Fri, 31 Oct 2014 13:55:20 -0700

For old-school collectors, the book's lack of greatest-hits collectibles — such as the 1851 pre-U.S. Hawaiian blue, or the classic inverted Curtis Jenny airmail stamp (one sheet of the 1918 stamp was printed with the plane at its center upside down ...

LaSalle News Tribune

LaSalle News Tribune
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 03:51:18 -0700

La Salle Postmaster Kevin Christiansen holds up a sheet of the recently-released $2 “Inverted Jenny” stamps, commemorating and reproducing the famous misprint of the upside-down airplane in the 1918 airmail stamp. In a twist, the U.S. Postal Service ...
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