Pioneers of Aviation, Today's Mail, Topical Pursuits

Today’s Mail–4th July 2015

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It’s not often that I receive mail on two consecutive days but here we are on the 4th of July and the letter carrier brought me two orders, one I’d thought long lost.  As you can see, the envelope above was posted in Spokane, Washington, on 26th May and so took some 38 days to arrive in (rainy) Phuket.  The country name of “Thailand” seems to have been added after posting; unfortunately, there are no other postal markings to indicate what circuitous route it travelled to get here.

US-C91_92The envelope contained a pair of U.S. Air Mail stamps – Scott #C91 and C92 – issued on 23 September 1978 to mark the historic first flight of the Wright Brothers’ Flyer A at Kill Devil Hill in North Carolina.  Interestingly, the 19 December 1903 flight and other early ascents were completely ignored by the press at the time and the feat wasn’t heralded until several years afterwards.

I’m currently reading David McCullough’s excellent 2015 biography of the Wright Brothers which, along with Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927 has rekindled an interest in early aeronautics and prompted me to start a topical collection along the lines of “American Aviation Pioneers”.

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The second envelope was mailed from my former home of Albuquerque, New Mexico on 24 June and thus took but ten days to arrive which is very close to a record for U.S.-posted mail these days!  It contained two stamps from the short-lived French mandate of Alexandretta which, like Alaouites, was located in the northern part of Syria and bordered Turkey.  The territory released just 31 stamps, all in 1938 – the first were issued 14 April and comprised nine overprinted stamps of Syria for general use, eight for airmail and six for postage due; three additional general issue stamps were released on 2 September and the final five appeared 10 November.

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The stamps received today were a used copy of Scott #7, the 4-piaster yellow orange, and Scott #J1, the 50-centime Postage Due stamp in brown on yellow paper.  Both feature the overprint in black; J1 also exists with a red overprint.  Alexandretta is country number 236 in my A Stamp From Everywhere collection.  In late 1938, the stamps were replaced by those of the newly-renamed territory of Hatay.

Happy Collecting!

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