Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Friday, July 28, 2017

Early airmail - Territory of New Guinea 1932

One of my favourite sets of airmail stamps comes from the Territory of New Guinea.  The former German colonies were taken by Australian forces in WW1 and remained an Australian protectorate until the Japanese invasion in WW2 and renamed the Territory of New Guinea in '25.

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Hungarian airmail C12-17 - Turul the Great Messenger

Turul - the great messenger in Hungarian mythology



A couple more nifty Hungarian stamps for today's offering - 1927-1930 airmails (Scott's C12-17). I'm missing C14, so I'll have to go hunting for it this week. I picked these today because of the interesting Hungarian mythology behind them. That's one of the powerful draws for stamp collecting - the history, country mythology, politics and culture you can cull from the images. These stamps show Turul, the great bird messenger from Attila (or the gods, depending on which myth you read) and involves birth myth of the Hungarian people. Turul figures prominently in Hungarian mythology, and you can see his image on various buildings and statues around the country. The most well-known to many tourists is the one is on the bridge spanning the river dividing Buda and Pest. But if you collect Hungarian stamps, you'll see Turul on a lot.

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Hungarian Zeppelin Airmail - C24 C25

LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin's visit to Hungary 29 March 1931 - Zeppelin Mail


I recently acquired a small collection of Hungarian stamps from a friend who fled Hungary during the '56 Uprising. When he was preparing to leave Hungary, he combed through his stamp collection, picking the ones that were most valuable. He hoped, when they were safe over the border, he could use them for quick cash to pay for necessities. Nothing large could be taken, no luggage, no oversized bags or anything that would tip off authorities they were fleeing. Everything had to be small, portable and easily hidden. Stamps filled that order. He told me about going through his collection, picking what he hoped would be the most valuable and easily sold.

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Early French airmail

French Airmail


I don't own any of the very first French airmail stamps. They are a wee bit out of my price range.   The first 2 airmail stamps were issued June 25, 1927, and are lovely little overprints. They weren't issued to the general public, but were sold at the International Aviation Exhibition held in Marsailles in '27. Attendees could buy one set each. They currently sell for about $150 to $200 Cdn each, depending on the auction. I've seen excellent used copies go for more at a couple of auctions in the last year.  They had excellent cancels that made them very attractive.

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Early Canadian Air Mail Routes

1935 Canada Post airmail - Daedalus
I'm an inveterate collector of all things airmail - maps, stamps, tags, ettiquettes, covers, pamphlets detailing the routes and even stocks for the complanies themselves. I used to focus solely on Canadian airmail until someone gave me a set of lovely Mexican airmails from the 1930s. I looked up a map of the mail routes and was hooked all over again - I had to have more. So, my modest little collection of Canadian airmails exploded into two hefty binders and a number of books on international airmail routes.

While scouring through the Canadian Archives one day, I came across a 1940 map laying out the various routes in Canada. It includes the remote northern routes that relied heavily on the bush pilots for delivery. A lot of the small northern routes used to be served by private arilines like Cherry Red and Patricia Airways, but by 1940, they had pretty much all disappeared, with the routes being folded into Canada Post.

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And here I sit with my stamps in a complete muddle, and nobody has bothered to tell me what it's all about."
"Listen now, Hemul," said Snufkin slowly and clearly. "It's about a comet that is going to collide with the earth tomorrow."
"Collide?" said the Hemulen. "Has that anything to do with stamp-collecting?”

- Tove Jansson, Comet in Moominland   

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