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Airmail collecting

Airmail postal history collecting.

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Alex06/06/2013 13:59:16
577 forum posts
12 photos

Ever since my childhood I have been fascinated with air travel. I grew up in West Germany, just a few miles from the large international airport in Frankfurt. By time I got there, in the early 1970s, US military families flew across the Atlantic to Europe by 'plane rather than coming across by ship. So, for me, air travel was a fairly routine, yet still madly romantic, form of travel. Flying across the Atlantic or Pacific was an adventure. We children would get little pilot or stewardess wings to pin to our jackets as a souvenir; I still have my PanAm wings forty years after I received mine. Remember those dinky little washbags the airlines provided, complete with toothbrush, toothpaste and other items. Not like the cheap things today, but quality little washbags we kept for daily use afterwards during our European assignments. Then the airmail letters home; going to the APO to mail our letters back to the US, complete with those little red airmail stamps and blue AIRMAIL etiquettes.


1960s postcard showing 'my' airport at Frankfurt. The German airport is at the front, in the background one can see the USAF air base of Rhein Main. A Boeing 'Connie' (Constellation) is taking off.

About a decade ago, after years of collecting stamps, I turned to postal history as a collecting theme. There was no doubt, of course, about what I'd collect. It could only be aerophilatelic postal history. I'm not too concerned with postal rates, but love the postage stamps used, the etiquettes, the cachets, postal markings and other aspects about airmail.Unusual routes, signed covers and first flight covers are great fun, too. So here are some of my aerophilatelic material, in no particular order or reason, but interesting, I hope,nevertheless.


I'll start with this 1958 US 10 cent aerogram for no better reason than that it shows a Boeing 707, one of my favorite airliners. As a teenager I had a PanAm 707 model hanging over my bed. The blue PanAm roundel made a nice contrast with the white paint.

The next two covers are, I think, rather unusual routes and destinations. The first one is a 1955 cover from East Germany to South West Africa. It has a nice Leipzig - Mockau airport cachet incorperating the Leipzig exhibition fair motive. The stamps are 1954 overprinted surcharged definitives. While SWA was a former German colony prior to WWI, it is still an interesting destination, linking Eastern Europe with Africa.


The second cover was sent to England from the Canal Zone of Panama. It was carried by the US military APO system, in this case the Air Force Postal Service. From Panama the letter would have gone north to America and then across the Atlantic.


What about this 2002 cover? It doesn't have any airmail stamps on it, but still comes with an impressive $9.60 worth of stamps, paying the registered airmail to Scotland from New Jersey.


Part of the romance of philately is the fun of reading old messages from far flung places. This is a recent purchase, a 1979 postcard from Hong Kong. Postmarked in Kowloon, it also has a nice 70 cent definitive stamp as well as a good Hong Kong airmail etiquette with chinese characters.


Alex11/06/2013 16:34:06
577 forum posts
12 photos

Here are two airmail covers from Iceland.


1959 registered first day airmail cover posted to Denmark. The stamps show a modern airliner alongside a classical biplane of an earlier age.


A registered airmail cover sent to Scotland, 1979. Note the Icelandic etiquette. The main 1978 stamps show a modern airliner flying over a typical snowy Icelandic landscape.


This 1988 Swiss airmail FDC shows a similar scene as a Swiss Airways Junker Ju 52 flies past some Swiss Alpine mountains. The German Ju 52 was used by several European countries during the 1930s.


Not all aerophilately concerns airplanes. Here is a delightful Balloon post stationery airletter from Austria from 1950. It was carried by balloon post from Salzburg to Bavaria and was probably undertaken in benefit for the Pro Juventute childrens' charity in Austria, as stated on the cover design. The cover carries two 60g Alpine raven stamps, also a Salzburg Balloon Post cachet showing a balloon over Mozarts fair city. The cover went from Austria to Bavaria by balloon, thence onwards to Switzerland by normal post.

som ghatak13/06/2013 17:16:52
139 forum posts
90 photos

Alex Thanks for starting the nice thread ..I read it with all my pleasure..

I am sharing one of my cover from Sweden...It has some stamps on Aeroplane..I dont know if my this cover really fit in this thread..just sharing it..img.jpg

Julia Lee13/06/2013 17:20:27
2047 forum posts
1002 photos
230 articles

I think Alex means covers which travelled by air, rather than aeroplane stamps (though this one probably did). Could you find the Animals thread and upload this cover, because I've always loved that Sweden cat issue?

som ghatak13/06/2013 17:45:05
139 forum posts
90 photos

And this one i bought from February Exhibit in Bangalore..

To me it looks like a baloon mail invitation from the Baloon club of America to Berlin..

And the other side shows the the stamps from both the countries with pictorial depiction and below is the sign by Pilot Scheer

Alex can you elborate it in more details please ..thanks



som ghatak13/06/2013 18:31:31
139 forum posts
90 photos

@ Julia..This cover travelled by Airmail

Alex13/06/2013 18:55:23
577 forum posts
12 photos

Som, the Swedish cover has some nice airplane stamps on it. The 75 ore stamps show the American DC 3, the 5 ore and 15 ore stamps have German Junkers on them (Ju -15 & Ju -52). Note that these have floats on them for landing on water; Sweden has a lot of lakes!

As Julia says, most international mail nowadays is via air mail.

The balloon cover is good, too. Basically, it is a cover sent to the town of Berlin in New Hampshire, in the USA, from Berlin in Germany via PAA (Pan American Airways). It linked the 10th German Children's Village Balloon Flight ( a chidren's charity) with the 1962 Berlin International Aerophilatelic Exibition and involved the Balloon Club of America. It is signed by the American balloon pilot. The bottom writing, in German, is a message from Willy Brandt, then the mayor of Berlin, mostly thanking the various organisations making the venture possible and talking about bridges being made between the people (and youth) of America and West Berlin. The cover was flown in the US in a balloon, then returned back to Germany into the care of the charity who would have sold the covers to make money for the said charity.

Glad you have enjoyed the thread so far, Som.



Edited By Alex on 13/06/2013 19:21:48

Alex13/06/2013 19:48:35
577 forum posts
12 photos

Here are two fun 1946 air mail covers from America.

flying postcar.jpg

Nice cachet of the first demonstration flight of the Flying Post Office, operated by American Airways.


Nice cachet showing a flying mail car!

In both cases mail was sorted while airborne and hopefully ready for onward delivery once the 'planes had landed. Both these covers show the post war American 'can do' spirit in action and an optimism in modern technology.

I also like this 1980 British postcard for its dynamic depiction of air mail deliveries.



The romance of air mail was still strong in 1980.

Alex08/07/2013 14:57:39
577 forum posts
12 photos

Some more covers from my collection. These two covers are from WWII and were sent from the United States to Britain. The Lady Burney letter carries a 1942 'Buy War Bonds' Chicago postmark. It was opened by the British censors upon arrival in this country and resealed with the examiners tape. It carries the 1941 - 44 20c airmail stamp as well as a older 1927 10c airmail stamp showing the Spirit of St. Louis.


The second cover was posted in Elmwood, Conn. and was also opened by the British censor. Interestingly, unlike the previous cover, this one was also opened by the US censors before leaving the United States. It carries the nice 20c & 30c airmail stamps issued between 1941 - 44 as well as a 1942 Independence Day (Win the War) 3c stamp.



The back of the cover showing the American and British tapes to reseal the letter.

Alex08/07/2013 15:24:28
577 forum posts
12 photos

Two British covers from 1964, both to American destinations.


This airmail cover carries 1964 Forth Road Bridge stamps to the value of 1/3, which I believe was the foreign airmail rate at this time.


A William Shakespeare 6d air letter, or aerogramme. The 'stamp' shows the Globe, Shakespeare's theater in London. The 6d paid the airmail rate for this 'flimsy' aerogramme.

Edited By Alex on 08/07/2013 15:26:46

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