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Posted Jan 20, 18 13:37 by Tim Henninger (pälzer)

Re: New York Station A

Hallo Russ and Richard,

thank you very much for perfecting the description of my new im-cover !

Best regards


Posted Jan 20, 18 11:43 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Hagerstown & Poe & spelling conventions

Russell Crow and David Handelman: Thank you for your responses and comments.

I was privately contacted by a friend who conveyed this information: The Bank of Columbia was located in Columbia, Lancaster County, PA. In the Beatty correspondence there are a lot of letters between the Bank of Columbia and the Hagerstown Bank.

In the first paragraph on the first page of my letter that I had posted it states: "Mr. Poe, cashier(?) of Pittsburg takes charge of a package of notes 7035.12 Dollars for my credit."

So this Mr. G. Poe Jr. of Pittsburgh, PA evidently carried this letter and a package of banknotes to Hagerstown, MD.

Finally, I am getting a feel for deciphering the words in this particular letter. Here is an image is of the bottom of page 1. I take it to say " . . . May have the goodness to order the suit - if John Thomas now attends to Business in your court, please place his name to the . . ."

Note the spelling of the words "goodnefs" and "Businefs" - for the double "ss" the first 's' is an 'f'. I am not sure of when that archaic spelling convention was discontinued, but I have many covers commonly addressed to "Mafs." (instead of "Mass.") right up to the 1869 issue. Example:

I probably have latter examples spelled "Mafs." from the 1870s if I looked.

And as David H. has correctly pointed out in the final line of my letter, the writer spells "assured" as "afsured" with that same double 's' convention.


Posted Jan 20, 18 11:21 by Richard Coffey (rcoffey)

New York Station A

Tim — As Russ noted, your cover was cancelled at Station A in New York City. Post Office stations and branches were subordinate facilities of a local Post Office. The New York Station A duplex cancel is identified in the James Cole book (Cancellations and Killers of the Banknote Era 1870-1894) as EL-84A in use from December 24, 1878 through 1889.

Posted Jan 20, 18 10:59 by Cary Johnson (fastmail)

Baltimore Railroad CDS

The tight letter spacing coincides with Towle 239-D-1 with 98 mile service between Baltimore and Philadelphia beginning Jan 1, 1838 on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Line. There is a nice history write up in the Remele book and probably in the Feldman book as well. The marking is reported in red, blue, ultramarine, green and black and is fairly common rated a III on Towle's I to X scale and at $35 in the American Stampless Cover Catalogue Vol. II

The 1848 station list from Remele's book is as follows: Baltimore, Steamer's Run, Chase's, Perryman's, Harve de Grace, Cecil, Ferry, Perryville, Charlestown, North East, Elkton, Newark, Stanton, Newport, Wilmington, Chester, Philadelphia. The 25c rate due from the addressee in 1841 was for a single rate letter travelling over 400 miles.

The letter would have been carried from Philadelphia to Tauton via available contract carriers, stagecoach or other.

Posted Jan 20, 18 10:51 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

U.S. Route and Station Agent Postmarks by Charles L. Towle. APRL has it. Leonard probably can sell you a copy.

Posted Jan 20, 18 8:44 by Mike Girard (reywest1)

Baltimore Md. to Taunton Ma. railroad folded letter.

Hi to all on the board. A friend of mine recently bought a pile of stampless folded letter sheets at a local auction, most of which are from the same correspondence to Taunton Mass, the family name was Dawes. One that caught my eye (see attached) was posted in Baltimore Md. to Taunton Ma. that has a date line of “Baltimore June 7 1841”. There is a blue Baltimore Rail Road June 7 CDS stamped on the front and a manuscript rating of 25c also in blue – there are no other markings on the back. I did fine a comparable example in the cover census (#25057) that has a description of “Folded letter sheet date lined ‘Balt. June 11th 1841’ and put onto Route 1901 Baltimore to Philadelphia of 97 miles to receive the Route Agents CDS (Towle 239-D-2) "BALTIMORE RAIL ROAD." and carried to Philadelphia for transfer to the Philadelphia to Binghamton, NY post stage for the 158 miles north to Honesdale.”

My questions for the board are: • How early was this road agents CDS used? • How common is this CDS? • What was the route taken between Baltimore and Taunton? • How was the 25c rate calculated? • What was the common currency that would have paid this rate? I looked through Richard F’s “Paying the Postage” exhibit but did not find a equivalent 25c usage. My understanding is that there was a lot of foreign currency being used in the U.S. at the time. • Where can I find the Towle listings?

Thanks in advance for any information the board can provide. Regards, Mike Girard.


Posted Jan 20, 18 8:22 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: New York "A" mark

Morning Tim and all,

I think it indicates it came from Station A? I have seen similar but not identical marks on registered covers. Other opinions appreciated.

Best regards, Russ Ryle

Posted Jan 20, 18 8:06 by Ginny Nightingale (ginnyflo)

Help w/name final

And the winner is...W.H. Hawke. After googling the name suggestions, "W.H. Hawke, Detroit MI" comes up with an association with the Detroit Free Press and the time frame works. Thanks all.

Posted Jan 20, 18 6:54 by Tim Henninger (pälzer)

Hallo togehter,

I`ve bought this little one attached with the note that it would be a "very rare single-franking". I can hardly believe that, but somebody always learn new things. And is it possible too specify what the big "A" in the New York-cancellation means ? The letter was posted on 1884-09-02 and came in at 1884-09-11.




Posted Jan 19, 18 19:57 by Ginny Nightingale (ginnyflo)

Help with name

Thanks Mark. That works for me. I checked the street address, and Google maps shows an East & West Jefferson Ave.

Posted Jan 19, 18 19:27 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Help with name


I think it is Mr. W. H. Hawke, 61 & 63 Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Posted Jan 19, 18 19:24 by David Handelman (davidh)


David S: I think it reads ... assured ..., not apprised (long s followed by short s). This verifies your comment.

Posted Jan 19, 18 18:39 by Ginny Nightingale (ginnyflo)

Help with name

Can anyone figure out the addressee's name. Thanks in advance.


Posted Jan 19, 18 18:11 by Russell Crow (cornwall2)

Hagerstown & Poe

I believe your cover is from Washington DC as I think there was a bank there by the name Bank of Columbia or Columbia Bank in 1818. Also I f I was a bettin' man I would say your cover was carried by George Poe Jr. who was a wealthy individual who lived much of his life in Wash DC and was eventually buried there (he was born in 1778). His father lived in Frederick County which is in between DC and Hagerstown (Washington County MD). FWIW I live in Frederick County. One neat thing about the Hagerstown Bank was that it was founded by Nathaniel Rochester in 1807 (perhaps co-founded). He had dealings in NY and eventually move to NY where he help found the town that would become Rochester. I am assuming that the Hagerstown Bank correspondence maybe the largest stampless correspondence out there. Trying to find earlier outgoing material from the bank is very difficult. I have found a couple items from the bank in the 1810's. I think the Hagerstown Bank material starts around 1814 (maybe 1813)

Posted Jan 19, 18 17:33 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Interesting conundrum

I'm helping a good friend search through a box lot he recently bought. There's a cover I want to add into the census data base, but cannot. It's a local use wiithin Goa, Portuguese India.

I do not want to list it under India or Portugal. Any suggestions?

Posted Jan 19, 18 17:12 by David Snow (dwsnow)

to Hagerstown, Maryland continued

Here is the final page of that letter.

The last sentence "I hope my dear Sir you will pardon me for giving you so much trouble and be apprised I am ever ready to reciprocate. Very respectfully, Your obedient Servant, Will. Wharemford (?)".

That line could as well have applied to us trying to read his handwriting two hundred years later.

Mark Schwartz: Thanks for deciphering "G. Poe Jr. Esq." I do believe that you are correct.


Posted Jan 19, 18 17:06 by David Snow (dwsnow)

To Hagerstown, Maryland

Here is the first page of the contents of that letter. Note that it is datelined "Bank of Columbia, April 5 1818". There was no Columbia post office in Maryland at that time, so I suspect it is from Columbia, Pennsylvania, although I cannot find any records of an early bank from there. Does that make sense?

Next post will show the second page of letter.


Posted Jan 19, 18 17:05 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Privately carried letter


To me, it looks like G. Poe Jr. Esq.

Posted Jan 19, 18 17:02 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Privately carried letter

I am trying to decipher the directive written on this April 5 1818 privately-carried letter to Hagerstown, Maryland.

It looks to me like "Favored by 9. Poe J.(?) Esq.", evidently the person who carried this letter as a courtesy. Can anyone decipher this name? Thank you in advance.

My next post will show the contents, as I have a question about the origin.

From the Beatty correspondence. Elie Beatty was the Cashier of Hagertown Bank in Maryland, a founding officer of the bank when it opened in 1807, and was paid an annual salary of $500. Beatty worked at the bank for fifty-two years. He had been assistant postmaster of Hagerstown prior to working for the bank.


Posted Jan 19, 18 13:19 by Louis Fiset (louisfiset)

China to Belgrade

Many thanks to Steve Frumkin for help diagnosing the 1913 Peking cover to Belgrade.

Posted Jan 19, 18 11:01 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Chuck thanks!! Very much appreciated

The story of the Polish army in WWII probably not well understood.

regards, Gordon

Posted Jan 19, 18 1:36 by Charles E. Cwiakala ([email protected])

WWII Airmail ... More ...

Gordon    ...

Yes, the letter is from a member of “Anders’ Army”. Gen. Władysław Albert Anders and his Army were deported from Soviet-occupied Poland during March 1942, making their way to British-controlled Palestine via Iran, where Anders organized the Free Polish 2nd Corps under a British Command (Free Polish Forces representing the London-based Polish Government-in-Exile already were in the Palestine and Egypt areas).

The following should be of assistance in explaining the use of Indian stamps. The Free Polish Forces attached to the British, United States, and other Allied Armed Forces units were permitted to maintain their own Polish FPOs within the FPOs of their allies.

These Polish FPO facilities were required to use postage reflecting the nationality of the unit to which the Poles were attached, or the postage available from the different nationalities within these units, the latter primarily being represented by the numerous British Commonwealth participants in the British-commanded units.

The postage stamp issues of the United States, Brazil, Great Britain and the associated British Commonwealth Areas [Australia, British Guiana, Canada, Egypt, India, Jamaica, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.], Norway, as well as those of the other Allies, are recorded as being properly applied to correspondence processed through the Polish FPO systems.

The surviving bulk of this type of Polish FPO usage originates from the 1944-onwards mails posted in Italy by the large contingents of Free Polish troops engaged in the liberation of that country. Other countries in which such FPO usage was active are recorded as being: Algeria [scarce], Egypt, Iran [scarce], Iraq [scarce], Libya [very scarce], and Palestine [very scarce].

A bit of information overkill, but hopefully of interest.

Posted Jan 19, 18 1:14 by Charles E. Cwiakala ([email protected])

WWII Airmail ...

Gordon   ...

Lotnicza = Air Mail

Cenzurowano = Censor (as a noun)

Poczta Polowa 118 = (Polish) “Field Post 118” (Polish Field Post Nº 118 was opened under the British command in Baghdad, Iraq, on 11/15/1942, relocated to Qassasin [Qastina], Palestine, on 12/16/1943, then moved with the Free Polish Forces attached to the British Army during the invasion of Italy.

REVERSE SIDE cds Polish Text:

Głowna Poczta Polowa 101 - (Polish) “Main Field Post 101” (Polish Field Post 101 = 3rd Carpathian Division attached to the British Middle Eastern Forces); first operated in Sidi-Bishr, Egypt, at the end of May 1941; transferred to Cairo effective 29 April 1942, in operation at Qastine [Qastina], Palestine, effective 31 April-28 May 1942; in operation at Rechoboth [Arabic: Duran or Taran], Palestine, effective 29 May-27 October 1942; transferred to Baghdad, Iraq, effective 30 October 1941-14 August 1943; ‘Section 1’ assigned as a Liquidation Office, and ‘Section 2’ [as “GLOWNA POCZTA POLOWA {MAIN FIELD POST} / 101A”] reassigned to Rechoboth effective 14 August-1 October 1943; transferred to Qassasin Egypt in 1944. 

The letter is addressed to a home near the neighborhood in which I grew up.

Posted Jan 18, 18 13:33 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

B Free

Slightly less than bazillion to one.

Taking into account that many of those Franklin covers did not get post office steamboat markings.

Posted Jan 18, 18 9:48 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

"B free" Franklin

what are the odds?


Posted Jan 18, 18 9:41 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

China Cover to Belgrade


'LQ' is short for Legation Quarter. Note that it is in the same ink as the Peking postmark and the boxed registration handstamp.

Located about a mile southeast of the Forbidden City and today's Tien An Men Square. Many of the old legation buildings still exist more than 100 years later, though nowadays all foreign legations are located elsewhere. Back in 1996, a couple of us and an old map went over there in time for the sunrise. Very quiet and for a few minutes it felt like we were stepping back in time.

The '(1)' in the postmark is the designation of the Peking branch post office. Kind of like Murray Hill in Manhattan which has its own zipcode. This office wold have encompassed a geographical area larger than just the legations. There may have been something on the level of a postal kiosk (operating as a sub-office of P.O. #1) whose primary purpose was to process outgoing registered mail sent by foreigners who did not speak Chinese.

In any case, no one is certain of its purpose. The marking occurs around 1911-1917.

Posted Jan 18, 18 9:34 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

No More FAM!

I just deleted a post from John W. and will now review the previous posts to edit as appropriate. Exactly NOT what I had on my schedule today.

If somebody wishes to write an article about any facit regarding FAMs, I will post it to my wesite and provide a link. For now, I declare a full moratorium on posts regarding any and all FAMs I will delete them. I may change my mind on the matter and will review in 6 months.

Posted Jan 18, 18 8:34 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

The censor mark

Here is the story of that U.S. Army 00000 censor device and the censor's initials on the Lagos-Bathurst FFC.


Posted Jan 18, 18 8:31 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Trip 482, etc.

Yes, as I wrote Singley relied almost exclusively on PAA sources, but like the others evidently was unaware of the ACFC-TWA mail services. So was Max Kronheim as far as I have been able to discern.

Here is another FAM 22 inaugural flight cover that was actually flown from Bathurst to Washington, D.C., where the censor mark was struck. PAA did not fly to Washington. ACFC and TWA did.

 Tit-for-tat documentation is not an effective method of assembling the greatest amount of evidence and drawing conclusions that best take into account all of it, but debate is an excellent method of drawing out and clarifying the different interpretations.


Posted Jan 18, 18 8:09 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Trip 482, etc.

Quoting Richard Singley as evidence is interesting, bearing in mind what Singley wrote in APJ at the time (attached). But hey; why let the evidence contradict a good story, or indeed an opportunity to continue the pointless vendetta against individual collectors?

John W.


Posted Jan 18, 18 8:03 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

A footnote on historical evidence. Careful readers of the FAM 23 and FAM 24 orders will have taken note that the POD made explicit that TWA and AEA were to be paid nothing by the POD, that they were War and Navy Department contractors, respectively, authorized to transport mail.

This was probably a consequence of the POD's exasperation over FAM 22. The FAM 22 contract obliged the War Department, not the POD, to pay PAA for its government service, but also allowed PAA to conduct commercial transport services on a space-available basis. (Hence PAA's desire to open a ticket office at Cairo and Tedder's attempt to thwart it.) Besides US mail, the FAM 22 flights carried transit mail, which the POD was obliged to invoice and collect from foreign postal administrations, an unanticipated and unwelcome burden.

To support those commercial fees, the PAA Special Mission trip summaries include "F. A. M. Mileage" totals for each leg. This example is for Special Mission 7, also recorded as Charter 7.


Posted Jan 18, 18 7:42 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Gordon's cover

Not via Léopoldville. PAA-Africa or ATC from Polish forces in the Middle East to West Africa (probably Accra), FAM 22 to Miami. Probably not BOAC to Lagos because there is neither a Nigeria censor mark nor a transit postmark.

Posted Jan 18, 18 7:32 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Trip 482, etc.

Here is the trip summary.

I agree with John Wilson that in the fiasco concerning the misbagged misdated mail that had to be returned from Bathurst, PAA had egg on its face and would not have acknowledged that a rival contractor carried that mail.

Nevertheless, the inconvenient contemporaneous facts outweigh the evidence of a public-relations damage-control letter mailed to collectors nine months afterward: no trip summary record of mail collected at Bathurst (1010 is the pounds of mail collected at Lisbon and 73 pounds collected at Bermuda, which locates the mail column), no Trip 482 call at Miami, a required conjecture that PAA faked a mechanical emergency to justify an emergency landing at a dangerous port of call to collect a batch of souvenir covers for stamp collectors, double-Atlantic mail delayed for a return to Miami, and a Miami date that doesn't square with the PAA excuse letter.

Juan Trippe had no say whose aircraft or which airplane carried mail from Africa, nor did the United States Navy, which commanded Trip 482. Only the War Department and its contract carriers — PAA and TWA — had jurisdiction over routing incoming mail from Bathurst.

Sometimes evidence is messy and contradictory. That's why historians are taught to analyze all of it, to weigh the biases that underlie conflicts, and to draw conclusions that are most consistent with all of it.

A subtler but important source of evidentiary bias concerns the availability of evidence. From December 1941, when the Navy took over the FAM 18 family of routes to and from Europe and the Army began the FAM 22 family of routes to and from Africa and beyond, the Navy and its contractors had good relations with the Brits. The PAA manager of FAM 18, Fife Symington, was given a Navy commission, he kept a London liaison office, and he kept the British government apprised of the transport services he commanded, which from that day to the present have been mined for information by scholars from Francis Field and Norman Williams to John Wilson and Barbara Priddy. Here in the United States, American Air Mail Society President and FAM columnist Richard Singley got his information in person from his PAA pilot friends and AAMS member George Hester, PAA groundman in Nigeria. In recent years the PAA archive at Miami has given all of us more documentation than any single elderly researcher can read in a lifetime. But no aerophilatelist seems to have had comparable sources at TWA, and the search for surviving WW2 company documents has thus far failed. Meanwhile, unlike the Navy, General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold despised the Brits after Tedder's attempt to sabotage the PAA-Africa contract. The War Department subsequently did not share its operational transport plans and schedules with the Brits because US commanders distrusted them. In the Army-PAA contract and CAB hearing that extended FAM 22 to Singapore in December 1941, both sides agreed to exclude British representatives and to amend the FAM 22 contract by formally extending the route eastward from the Belgian Congo, in order to avoid reopening the PAA-Africa contract that might have given the Brits an opportunity to undermine PAA commercial rights. The consequence today is an absence of those documentary materials in UK archives, and a paucity of them at the PAA archive in Miami (because the Miami archive consists mostly of PAA New York records). One must consult POD and War Department records to learn as much of the rest of the story as possible. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Thus we have disagreements among scholars today which, as Mark Twain wrote, is what makes horse races.


Posted Jan 18, 18 4:46 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

Not westbound FAM 18

Ken is using a technique of choosing his desired conclusion and then producing a blizzard of words showing “evidence” to reach that conclusion. According to contemporary reports and as quoted in the AAMS catalog, “All Bathurst westbound first flight mail postmarked December 14 was reportedly dispatched on the flight leaving December 30“.

The only flight leaving Bathurst on 30 December was PanAm flight 482, which was diverted from the FAM-18 Lisbon-Natal route. The attached document from the PanAm Archive confirms that the Bathurst mail was collected by PanAm on 30 December.

FAM-23 (TWA) did not fly via Bathurst and there is no evidence to support Ken’s hypothesis that the mail was collected and transferred to Accra for connection with TWA. This is wishful thinking in an attempt to pour scorn on any research carried out not just by me but many expert members of the West Africa Study Circle. We use the term “FatK” (Facts according to Ken).

Those of us who read more widely will ask the question “Knowing Juan Trippe’s vice-like grip on the PanAm mail contracts, and his antipathy towards Howard Hughes and TWA, is it likely that PanAm would ever agree to allow TWA to carry PanAm mail?” Where is the evidence?

John W.


Posted Jan 18, 18 0:08 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Here is the back of the cover just posted


Posted Jan 18, 18 0:07 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

WWII airmail

A little off the subject but I am interested in someone who can help with the polish translation on this cover. Also, any idea why Indian stamps? Rate? ie why 4R 6As? Finally is this from a member of 'Ander's Army'? A little off the wall but interesting cover.

Here is what I think I know: 13 May 1943 registered airmail letter from Polish forces stationed in Iraq to Chicago IL. India stamps with Polish cancels. Transited British field post 18 May, transited Miami 24 June. Censored by Polish military, at Egypt, and at Miami. Red letters at the end seem to basically say censored?

It got to Miami from West Africa probably on a Clipper. Not clear how it gets to Leopoldville.

Will post reverse next

Happy to take thoughts via email since probably of limited interest. [email protected]


Posted Jan 17, 18 21:24 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

FAM 24

the POD order


Posted Jan 17, 18 21:19 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

FAM 23

the POD order.


Posted Jan 17, 18 20:30 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

FAM 24

There are no AEA FAM 24 inaugural flight covers, so this cover from the test flight of the VS-44 is the earliest philatelic souvenir.


Posted Jan 17, 18 20:03 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

FAM 23 considerations

Without more evidence I would be hesitant to draw a confident conclusion, but it's possible 27 March 1942 was the first arrival that included civilian air mail brought from Africa by TWA to be exchanged at Washington, which might have prompted the POD to file the order designating the route. FAM 24 followed in due course for the American Export Airlines route across the North Atlantic. At a later date the CAB ceded that authority to the Air Transport Command. No route number was ever assigned to the wartime North Atlantic service flown by American Airlines.

Posted Jan 17, 18 19:40 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

FAM 23 again

Here's a cover that showed up on ebay a couple years ago and sold for a three-figure sum (I didn't buy it). It's backstamped at Washington D.C. the same day as Ken's cover. An Order of the PMG designating FAM 23 discovered by Ken is dated the same date as the Washington backstamps on these two covers -- March 27, 1942 (U.S. Specialist, October, 2014). Is this a clue to something? Why are they all he same date?


Posted Jan 17, 18 19:14 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

FAM 23 Double Atlantic registered

. . . to England, censored at London.

Why FAM 23? Why the delay? Despite the clear terms of the British-USA-PAA contract, RAF Air Marshal Arthur Tedder attempted to preserve Cairo as a BOAC monopoly for commercial air transport. PAA was unable to open its Cairo service until May 1942. In the meantime the choices for air service to the United States were BOAC to Lagos, PAA to Miami, or TWA/ACFC to Washington.

This usage is one I have sought in vain since I first obtained the NARA POD file on FAM 23.


Posted Jan 17, 18 19:14 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

FAM 23 Double Atlantic registered

This is my most glorious acquisition of the new year. Posted Baghdad 5 February 1942 and passed by censor, transited Haifa 13 February and censored there, transited Washington, D.C., 27 March, on to New York 27 and 28 March . . .


Posted Jan 17, 18 18:06 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Not westbound FAM 18

If Gary's cover and other Bathurst FAM 22 inaugural flight covers had been collected by FAM 18 westbound Trip 482, as John Wilson and others have conjectured, why does the trip summary show no mail collected at Bathurst? Why would that letter have arrived 3 January at New York, returned with the other bagged letters to Miami for a January 8 backstamp, then returned to New York for a later FAM 18 trip to Lisbon? (or, say, been dumped at Port of Spain on New Year's Day for a one-week leisurely trip to Miami?)

That's not the way the carriers and the United States POD handled mail, nor does it comport with the respective jurisdictions of the War and Navy Departments in transporting trans-Atlantic mail.

However, from 14 November 1941 the Air Corps Ferrying Command had operated this cargo, passenger, and mail route flying modified B-24 Liberator aircraft: Bolling Field, Washington – Morrison Field, Florida – Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico – Waller Field, Trinidad – Atkinson Field, British Guiana – Belem and Natal, Brazil – optional flag stop at Roberts Field, Liberia – Takoradi and Accra, Gold Coast – Lagos, Kano, and Maiduguri, Nigeria – El Fasher, El Geneina, and Khartoum, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan – Cairo, Egypt, and back. Transcontinental & Western Air was under Army contract to fly essentially the same route without the local Africa calls employing Boeing B-307 Stratoliners. (The TWA contract was extended 7 January 1942 to Karachi.) The CAB issued a C&N certificate to the TWA service, designated FAM 23 by the POD but never made public. 

In my opinion it is more probable that the orphaned Bathurst mail was collected by an ACFC or PAA-Africa flight from Bathurst to Accra, and on that main ACFC or TWA route to Miami.

Posted Jan 17, 18 16:09 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

1941-12-08 Bathurst - Halifax

Ahaa - one of the PanAm fraudulent first flight covers that were never carried on the first flight nor on any FAM-22 flight. Carried instead on a diverted FAM-18 regular service after the actual first flight bypassed Bathurst and left all the pre-cancelled covers lying there.

Because of the fraud, this cover is much more interesting than a 'regular' $5 FFC. Nice item Gary.

John W.

Posted Jan 17, 18 15:47 by Gary Loew (garyloew)

1941-12-08 Bathurst - Halifax (UK) - Double Atlantic

Philately was in full flower in the 1930s and early 1940s. Even the onset of WWII did not slow the activities of philatelists to create and collect first flight covers. Indeed, when PanAm readied for the first flights of the many legs that comprised FAM-22, meeting the needs of collectors was a big business.

PanAm, ever anxious to maximize its revenues, created a three-page order form to provide for every philatelic need of collectors. This document makes very interesting reading. Here is the link to the PDF: Collectively among the many legs of FAM-22, many tens of thousands of covers were carried by PanAm. I'm unsure of the best estimate of total covers flown.

What is certainly true is that today these covers are commonly available in the $5 to $15 price range. But interesting and collectible varieties do exist. Most covers on the Bathurst-to-Miami return leg originated in the US, carried by PanAm as part of its inclusive fees specified in the price list. But this cover was instead mailed from Bathurst itself.

The cover below is a “double Atlantic” cover. The addressee was in the UK. So the cover traveled from Bathurst, Gambia to Miami (where the received transit CDS was applied on January 8th). The cover then continued its journey to Halifax, England, where no receiver was applied. I think the likely route was domestic airmail Miami to New York and FAM-18 to the UK.

The cover has a few features worth noting. The PanAm instructions specify that the philatelic covers submitted to it should not be sealed and should contain only a stiffener in order to comply with censorship restrictions. It appears that this cover was a commercial correspondence created in Bathurst by an employee of British Airways located there. The cover was sealed and censored, but apparently not opened. It should be noted that many of the philatelic covers – even those left unsealed – also received censor marks, although few if any were actually examined.

I have seen similar covers on various flights where the sender was a representative of some airline or shipping company based in West Africa. The intent was to determine actual transit times on complex routes. Sadly, the lack of a receiving mark (or docketing) precludes us from capturing that information.

Note, too, the “. . . — V”, a Morse code statement of Victory.

Finally, there is the matter of the franking. Per the PanAm order form, return postage from Bathurst to Miami was 85¢. Covers making this trip with Gambian frankings display 3/6d (not serviced through the PanAm service). This cover has 5/6d which, by subtraction, leaves 2/- for the trip from Miami to England. Other double Atlantic covers are known with the same 5/6d rate. Perhaps some others can offer a more detailed rate analysis.


Posted Jan 17, 18 14:27 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Wartime U.S. domestic letter rates

before the 1944 war tax


Posted Jan 17, 18 14:21 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

GB wartime AM w/o censorship

I think JW is correct -- looks like an overpayment with the 2 1/2 d part of the indicium ignored. Here's a 1945 North Atlantic AM cover with 1/6 apparently paying the rate/fee correctly.


Posted Jan 17, 18 14:20 by Louis Fiset (louisfiset)

In-city Rate

During World War II Japanese Americans were incarcerated at 10 sites throughout the high desert country and Arkansas. Nearby towns established branch post offices in each center. Mail between the parent post office and branches went at the 2-cent "in-city" rate. Los Angeles was the parent post office for the Manzanar Relocation Center, located more than 200 miles away. This is the longest distance I'm aware of for "in-city" mail. Can anyone provide an example of a longer distance?


Posted Jan 17, 18 14:08 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

1944 drop letter rates

The one-cent increase in the carrier-office letter rate, making it equal to the intercity rate of three cents per ounce, was in effect a war tax. The drop rate at non-carrier offices did not change.

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