First U.S. Airmail Special Delivery Stamp

U.S. #CE1 – The first U.S. airmail special delivery stamp.

On August 30, 1934, the U.S. Post Office issued its first Airmail Special Delivery stamp.

The 16¢ blue Airmail Special Delivery stamp was issued to prepay, with one stamp, the air postage and the special delivery fee. Mail with this stamp would travel by plane to its designated post office, where, upon arrival, a messenger would deliver it immediately to the recipient.

U.S. #CE2 – The 1936 airmail special delivery stamp.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was an avid collector, designed the stamp. Its first day of sale was August 30th, at the convention of the American Air Mail Society in Chicago. Two years later, the stamp was reprinted using two colors – carmine and blue.

Airmail special delivery stamps were only in use for a brief time. After 1936 the fees for special delivery service on airmail was to be paid by additional regular special delivery stamps.

U.S. #CE1-2 – 1936 First Day Cover with both airmail special delivery stamps.

U.S. #CE1 was part of the “Farley’s Follies” debacle of the 1930s. Starting in 1933, Postmaster General James Farley had sheets of newly produced stamps removed before they were gummed and perforated. He gave them to President Roosevelt and other high-ranking officials. Collectors protested – these were specifically made rarities that were not available to the public! On February 5, 1935, the problem was solved. All the stamps issued since March 4, 1933, were re-issued in imperforate, ungummed condition in such quantities as the public required.

U.S. #771 – The imperforate Farley’s Folly stamp of 1935.

U.S. #771 was the last of Farley’s Follies. It has the exact design and color of #CE1, and paid the extra fees on Airmail Special Delivery. The stamp was sold at the Philatelic Agency for only two months. The difference between U.S. #771 and the original “Folly” version (the stamps given as gifts to Roosevelt and others), is that the normally issued stamp is imperforate.

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  1. This 1936 stamp is to me one of the most beautifully designed stamps. Especially the two color one. But it wasn’t the first to combine airmail and special delivery postage. That was Scott #C3, the inaugural airmail stamp issued May 8, 1918, with the picture of the Jenny airplane – yes the one where one sheet printed the plane upside down. The 24 cents postage included the 10 cent special delivery charge. In June, the airmail rate was reduced with the issuance of #C2 for 16 cents which still include 10 cents for special delivery. It wasn’t until December 1918 that special delivery was dropped and #C1 was then issued for 6 cents. You will notice that when Scott Catalog people assigned catalog numbers, in this case they sequenced the numbers by denomination value and not issue date. So the beautiful stamp above was strictly speaking, the third stamp to combine the two rates. So much for arcane details.

  2. I remember the red one because I used that one to send my brother letters while he was in the
    service WW11, Nice History lesson for everyone. Thanks for all the information, I really like
    to read about the stamps and their stories.

  3. I guess the post office still sells prestamped envellopes. TRhat’s where you are going to mail a letter and you don’t have an envelope to put it in so you go to the post office and buy a prestamped envelope and mail the letter. Have you ever heard of the 5 cent envelope with president Lincoln’s picture stamped over Frannklin, who was on the 4 cent stamp.Postage to mail a letter in early 1963 was 4 cents and when the postage changed to 5 cents, Lincoln’s picture was on the 5 cent stamp. The big mistake was made when the company that did the stamped envelopes for this part of the country made a big mistake and printed 5 cent stamps over 4 cent stamped envelopes. I saw years ago where some of these envelopes sold for a lot of money. The big mistake was made by the printing company that took care of this section of the country for pre-stamped envelopes. Lincoln’s picture stamped over Hamilton’s and 5 stamped over 4. Hamilton on the 4 cent stamp and Lincoln’s picture was on the 5 cent stamp. I saw this mistake right after it was first made.Most of these that were printed went right through without anyone ever noticing it If you had a letter in your hand with the mistake ,just looking at the letter you could not see the mistake. You had to hold the envelope sideways to notice the mistake.I would bet that most of these prestamped envelopes were delivered and the mistake on the envelope was never seen. Have you ever seen one of the envelopes..

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