Some of the Australia 2021 stamps have been announced. Yes, it’s that time of year when post offices around the world tease out upcoming releases. Australia Post’s stamps for Jan and Feb offer tradition, history, creatures, and home comforts. One set will appeal to aviation, airmail, Australian history, and militaria fans around the world. As of this articles publication date (Dec 29, 2020), none of the stamps listed are for sale yet, but check Australia Post office closer to release dates Stamps – Sending (auspost.com.au).
Stamp subjects for Australia 2021
Chinese New Year
5 Home comforts with Memorable Moments
100 Years of the RAAF
Norfolk Island Lizards
Front Line Heroes
Australia 2021 stamps – Kicking off with Lunar New Year Jan 8, 2021
It’s now expected that post offices will issue a Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, stamp and Australia Post’s Christmas Island stamps don’t disappoint. Of all the Lunar New Year stamps I’ve seen this set will go down as my favourite.
Year of the Ox 2021 Christmas Island $1.10 value
Year of the Ox 2021 Christmas Island $2.20 value
Year of the Ox 2021 Christmas Island $3.30 value
It’s interesting to see how each country interprets the same subject. I was thinking this morning that this would make for an interesting study. The Lunar New Year series, will also come in souvenir sheets, maxi cards, covers etc.
Come hither and buy my stamps
Christmas Island’s First Day of Issue cancel is, well, adorable. The ox looks like flirtatious. Not sure if that was intentional, but now I want to get hold of a cancel. It’s a hell of a “come hither” glance.
Australia Post outdid themselves with this issue. If there is a stamp collector in your life that is near and dear to you, you might want to consider the gold mini-sheet folder. It’s breathtaking.
Australia 2021 stamps feature a gold mini sheet with folder
Australia Post also has a full Chinese zodiac souvenir sheet displaying all the animals and years they are associated with. It would round out a Lunar New Year collection.
Souvenir keeper showing entire Chinese zodiac
5 Home comforts with Memorable Moments – Jan 25, 2021
This is a set designed for comfort and home thoughts. Memorable moments for Australia 2021 stamps were designed by Keith Downes and Sonia Young, Australia Post Design Studio. Release date: January 25, 2021. Five stamps in series. In the series will be:
$1.10 Bunnies showing stuffed toy rabbits
$1.10 Thank You
$1.10 Balloons showing colourful heart balloons
$1.10 Heart showing a heart graphic
You can never go wrong with bunnies – designed by Sonia Young
Thank you designed by Keith Downes & Happy Birthday Heart Balloons by Sonia Young
Heart designed by Sonia Young and Blossoms by Keith Downes
The postmark reflects the overall “home comforts” theme.
First Day Cancel for the Moments series
Happy Birthday Available from Order Jan 11, 2021
The Happy Birthday heart balloon stamp (above) will also be available for a personalised birthday greeting. Australia Post allows people to pre-order the stamp and birthday cover with a specific date on the cancel. You choose the birthdate of your choice and it will bear the appropriate date on the cancel.
Happy Birthday to you
100 Years of the RAAF Feb 9, 2021
As an aviation buff, this is the set for me. Although, my interest in airplanes stops with the advent of jet engines. I’m a canvas and wood kind of woman. The Royal Australian Air Force was formed Mar 31, 1921 and this stamp will help celebrate their storied history.
1921 – 2021 the RAAF Logo for their centenary (not a stamp)
The usual covers, cards, stamps, and sheets will be issued. My favourite is the distinctive SE5a biplane. It’s hard to mistake that flat nose for anything but an SE5A.
The much-loved Scout
RAAF F-35 jet
Covers, maxi cards and sheets ready for purchase in Feb.
The first day cancel features an F-35 in flight. It’s too bad the SE5a wasn’t offered as well.
First Day issue cancel
RAAF souvenir sheet
The series was designed by Jamie and Leanne Tufrey, who designed the 2014 Centenary of Military Aviation & Submarines for Australia Post. This series shares the style of the ’14 set, especially the Bristol Military Biplane number CFS-3 stamp.
Bristol Military Box kite, CFS-8 in flight from 2014
Norfolk Island Lizards Feb 9, 2021
Not to be left out, little lizards will be featured on a Norfolk Island series.
Yet to be shown will be a series honouring the front-line workers of 2020. It sad it took a pandemic to make so many appreciate their day-to-day work. When details are released, I’ll post more.
That’s all the news for Australia 2021 stamps to date. I spent a couple days signing up for newsletters from various post offices so hopefully, I’ll be able to keep you up to date on new releases. Keep coming back, I have a few more country issues for 2021 lined up and will roll them out over the coming weeks.
In the meantime, check out Japan’s soon to be released MOOMINS.
Vance Auctions never disappoints, and their two pioneer airmail offerings are no exception. The auction is going on today, Oct 15, 2020 and I’m eager to see what the closing price is.
UK Aerial Flight postcards – Pioneer airmail first
1st UK aerial post card sent 1911
Of the two, it’s the UK postcard collection I covet. I’ve only managed to get a single of this postcard and the stamp torn off. But I love it all the same. The postcard came in several colour variations, so there is a lot of material to collect. This lot is a pioneer airmail collector’s dream. It includes different cancels, stamps, cachets, a cover and postcards.
Specialized collection (formed by Ray Ireson of Montreal) of cacheted First UK Aerial Flight postcards / covers, London to Windsor from 1911. Neatly displayed on pages / stockcards with all being diff in some way. Has the various cancel Die numbers and cachets in various colours. Most are postcards but does have 4 covers which are scarcer (one of these is addr to India with Sea Post Office b/s). One postcard is the scarcer Windsor to London flight. Also has cinderella souvenir sheet & nice write-up. Most VG-F (19)….Est 2,500.00+ – Vance Auction write up for Oct 2020 auction
They are sometimes referred to as Buckingham covers. Four flights were set to take off on Sept 9, 1911 but one pilot crashed and two remained on the ground because of windy conditions. Gustav Hamel in a Blériot XI braved the winds and took off at 4:55pm from Hendon aerodrome in London. Eighteen minutes later, he landed at Windsor along with one bag of letters, postcards, and newspapers.
Gustav Hamel, 1913
Eventually sixteen flights were conducted, carrying thirty-seven mailbags – a total of 926 lbs of mail. This pioneer airmail lot contains quite a variety and would be fun to look through.
The Jewel of Canadian pioneer airmail
The last time I saw the Canadian semi-official stamp CLP6 come up for auction was in 2013.
LONDON to LONDON AIRMAIL semi-official stamp CLP6
It is one of those true rarities of the pioneer airmail world. The London, Canada to London England stamp is legendary among Canadian airmail collectors. The estimated price is $50,000. It, of course, has a certificate of authenticity. No sane buyer would consider bidding on a London to London without one. I’ll lay odds that more fakes are out there than were originally printed.
Frustratingly, these special flights are left out of Scott’s Canadian catalogue. Grab a Unitrade catalogue and flip to the back of the book to find any semi-officials. If you have a Sanabria airmail catalogue, it’s listed as S35. According to Sanabria, one cover was removed from the flight before it took off from Harbour Grace.
CLP6, Rare unused example of the LONDON to LONDON AIRMAIL. 100 stamps were printed for the “Sir John Carling” Trans-Atlantic flight that ended in disaster, but only 13 unused stamps and 1 cover are known to exist. F-VF appearance, NG, some small flts. Has 1975 RPSL Certificate. ONE OF THE GREATEST AEROPHILATELIC RARITIES! A STAMP THAT IS MISSING IN VIRTUALLY ALL COLLECTIONS – Vance Auction write up for Oct 2020 auction
Tully and Medcalfe, 1927. Standing in front of their Stinson airplane Courtesy Ivey Family London Room, London Public Library, London, Ontario, Canada
This flight is the stuff of pioneer aviation legends. Carling Breweries in London, Ontario put up a prize of $25,00 for the first to fly non-stop London, Ontario to London UK. One refueling stop was permitted at Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. Pilot Terrance Tully and navigator James Medcalf took off, in a Stinson SM-1 airplane named the Sir John Carling, after the man who sponsored the competition. Tully and Medcalf were last seen September 5 when they took off from Harbour Grace and set out across the Atlantic. They were never heard from again.
Thirteen mint stamps and one known cover remained behind and have become much sought after by collectors over the decades. The 100th anniversary of this ill-fated trip is coming up, so it’ll be interesting to watch prices on this stamp over the next five to six years.
When I get the final prices, I’ll update this page
Keep a watch here.
Prices realized – updated Oct 19, 2020
Just received the results for the two auctions I was following.
The UK aerial post card lot did not go! I am so surprised. I thought it was a great asking price. According to Vance, the lot is still available for $1,800. Oh for some extra cash right now. Of the two lots, this was the one that set my heart racing. I love those postcards. Maybe another year. Contact Vance Auctions if you’re interested in this lot. Ask for Lot 370. It’s a hell of a collection.
The London to London, with a catalogue value of $50,000, went for $18,500. There is a wildly happy airmail collector out there somewhere with a top notch addition to their collection.
Today, we’re going to look at doping. No, no, not that kind, the aviation kind. Early airplanes were made of cloth pulled taut over a wood frame. To protect the wood, and create a streamlined body, the material was covered in something called dope, a liquid designed to waterproof & pull the material tight as it dried.
Looking at an early manual & doping
I have a treat for you today, something from my aviation collection – a 1914 aeroplane manual from the Canadian government’s War Office. While looking at a few patents dealing with doping material I remembered something from this book:
Training manual for the fledgling Royal Flying Corps, Canada.
Published 2 months before the outbreak of WW1, the manual covered basics like assembling an aircraft, maintaining the engine, flying it, and of course doping the body. The book is fragile, so I didn’t scan from it. There isn’t much in the way of diagrams anyway. But it did include a small section on dope:
The shrinking and preservative agents employed by various makers also differ widely. The best known amongst the latter are rubber, pegamoid, cellon and emaillite. P 23 Training manual Royal Flying Corps 1914
Each company developed their own recipe for dope. They were a kind of witch’s brew, with the first being composed of nitrate. Other chemicals included nitrocellulose, cellulose acetate and cellulose acetate butyrate.
British Emaillite Co., Ltd. – the “Premier Dope”
Three aircraft makers are mentioned in the manual – Avro, Royal Aircraft Factory and Farman. Specific models aren’t mentioned, but I suspect they were Avro 504, British Aircraft Factory’s B.E.2 and the Farman MF11, also called the Longhorn. The manual recommends they all be treated with Emaillite. The B.E. plane doping was described this way:
The fabric is sewn with needle and thread along the trailing edges and round the curved edges. It is also sewn with twine through the plane to the reverse side along each rib. Rubber solution is then rubbed into the fabric with the fingers along each rib and rubber adhesive tape applied. Rubber adhesive tape is similarly applied around the curved ends and the trailing edges.
Dome-headed brass tacks are driven in along each rib to further secure the fabric. The planes then receive three coats of the correct emaillite solutions. pg. 23
The Premier Dope Ad Rec. Num. 5 of 128 Source: Aeroplane July 3rd, 1913 https://www.aviationancestry.co.uk/
The British Emaillite Co. was around from about 1911 to 1921 when it was acquired by the Titanine company. It’s difficult finding solid information about the British Emaillite Co, but after a lot of searching, I found a patent for their cellulose acetate dope from around the time the RFC manual was written.
Patent # GB191206798A by British Emaillite Co., Jan. 14. 1914
I could only find abstracts from the patent, not the entire paper. But it is informative as to what chemicals were used:
A fabric for aviation apparatus that is invisible or indistinctly visible is formed of films of cellulose acetate or like compound. Materials are added to modify the refractive index of the compound so as to render a reinforcing-material, such as silk or cotton fibres, placed between the sheets, invisible.
In an example, a composition, comprising 110 grm. of acetate or hydroacetate of cellulose, 35 grm. of a mixture composed of equal parts of naphthol, ethylic ether of naphthol, and benzene sulphonamide, 880 grm. of tetrachloride of ethane, and 120 grm. of alcohol, is spread on glass, and very fine silk tulle placed upon it while still moist. This is stripped off when dry and placed, tulle side downwards, upon a second moist layer of the composition spread on glass, and, when dry, the completed fabric is removed from the glass.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t download the entire patent, and Google Patents doesn’t offer it, just a reference. I did however obtain a 1917 patent, from the same company.
Patent # US1298199A Cellulose-ester dope or varnish by British Emaillite Co., filed June 13, 1917
This invention relates to the manufacture of dopes of the kind used for coating the surfaces of aeroplanes, and its chief objects are to improve the adhesiveness, strength and surface of the coating and to reduce or eliminate the poisonous or deleterious properties of dopes.
Aeroplane dopes must produce in and on the fabric employed an elastic highly contractile film with a hard surface which when struck must yield a clear resonant note (an indication that the necessary contraction has been obtained) with sufficient body and rigidity (obtained so by a succession of coats) to retain its stream line contour during flight.
So, the dope had to dry tight enough to protect the wood and pull the material taut, to keep the airplane streamlined, but not so tight it would damage the aircraft by warping the frame. If you’re interested in the chemical components, look at the patent US1298199A – Cellulose-ester dope or varnish. – Google Patents for the details.
For now, the manual is back in its protective wrapping and back on the shelf. It’s been a real treat paging through it.
Originally published Oct 4 2018. Updated Oct 1, 2020
Updates include more reference links, updated details and additional information on pioneer aviation poster stamps
Here’s a little something from my pioneer aviation collection. I was looking for … well, I can’t remember because I became sidetracked.
About 7 years ago, I spotted a set of 1910 Wills Aviation cards on eBay. It’s one of those silly items I coveted for years so I threw in a modest bid and it turned out to be one of those days aviation and tobacco card collectors were asleep and I got the full set of 50.
1910 Wills’ Cigarette card The Antoinette Monoplane – from author’s collection
The cards are pretty cool and considering they are over 100 years old, in very good shape. They cover flight from early balloons to the most modern (as of 1910) aeroplanes, including my favourite – the Antoinette Flyer, designed and built by Léon Levavasseur.
The Antoinette Flyer, Levavasseur’s contribution to pioneer aviation
The Silver Dart comes close to the number 1 spot in my heart, but it’s always edged out by the Antoinette. I think primarily because the Antoinette’s design is so unusual. It looked like a canoe with wings and a pilot precariously plopped in the middle. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising, engineer and pioneer aviation designer, Léon Levavasseur started out designing boats and boat engines. The Flyer may have looked fragile, but it was an outstanding aeroplane that helped Hubert (sometimes erroneously listed as Herbert) Latham set a number of height and speed records in the early days of aviation, as well as perform in most of the major aviation events of the day.
Latham attempts an English Channel crossing (1909)
Latham was the first aviator to attempt the Daily Mail’s Channel Crossing challenge. At stake was a £1000 prize for the first flight across the 38 km (21 miles) distance from Calais to Dover. His attempt, July 19, 1909, ended 13 km off the Calais coast line with Latham ditching in the water. He was uninjured, but the Antoinette was badly damaged.
Latham was seen as a good bet to win the prize. His two main rivals were Louis Blériot and his Blériot XI, who went on to win and Charles de Lambert flying a Wright Flyer. A second Antoinette was prepared by the 21st, but bad weather kept him grounded. Louis Blériot and his team arrived, after Latham’s crash, and prepared for crossing. Not far away, de Lambert setup his camp, but crashed or damaged both Flyers during practice flights. That left just Latham and Blériot.
On July 25, 1909, while Latham was still asleep, Blériot saw an opportunity. The weather turned favourable at dawn and he launched off the cliff in Calais and into history. Latham’s chance was gone.
Hubert Latham (left) and Leon Levavasseur (right) Calais 1909 for the English Channel crossing attempt – image courtesy BNF/Gallica
3rd aeroplane – Antoinette Flyer ready to try the Channel crossing – Image courtesty BNF/Galacia – Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Philosophie, histoire, sciences de l’homme, FOL-LC6-87
Latham in cockpit of Antoinette ready to try Channel crossing 1909 – image courtesy BNF/Gallica
Latham and the Antoinette early aviation records
Despite the disappointing outcome of the Channel race, Latham went on to set air speed and distance records with the Antoinette flyer.
May – European non-stop flight record, flying for 1hr 07mins) (this was set prior to the Channel crossing attempt)
August – Riems Airshow (Grande Semaine d’Aviation de la Champagne) world altitude record of 155 metres (509ft)
January 7 – Mourmelon-le-Grand, France, world altitude record of 1,100 metres (3,600 ft)
April – Nice Air show world air speed record of 48.186 miles per hour (77.548 km/h)
July – second Riems Airshow (Grande Semaine de l’Aviation de la Champagne), world altitude record of 1,384 m (4,541 ft)
Hubert Latham 1909 Airshow – La Revue aérienne / directeur Emile Mousset Author : Ligue nationale aérienne, Paris. Auteur du texte Publisher : [s.n.] (Paris) Publication date : 1909-09-10 Contributor : Mousset, Émile. Éditeur scientifique – image courtesy BNF/Galacia
I’ve looked around for postage stamps showing Latham, Levavasseur or the Antoinette and haven’t found a single one. Nor have I found Cinderellas commemorating them, although I’m pretty sure I’ll eventually stumble across at least a Cinderella. Air shows were very popular and many poster stamps were created to promote them, like I said, one is bound to pop up.
The stamp below is a a sample of one of the poster stamps produced for events like the Aug 1909 Reim’s airshow. They are works of art in themselves and hard to find around here. They aren’t expensive, as a rule, and can be a good start to a pioneer aviation collection.
Reims Airshow 1909 poster stamp
In the meantime enjoy the video below. It’s film footage of Levasseur and Latham preparing for the flight across the English Channel. It starts off in Calais, where fliers gathered to prepare for their attempts. It’s rare to find footage of the Antoinette in flight, but as you watch it, you’ll understand what I mean by “canoe with wings”.
The video shows the infamous dunking Latham took into the English Channel in July 1909. It was an improbable design, but flew fast and true. Would I fly in it? HELL YES! How about you? Take the poll below the video and let me know if you’d fly in an Antoinette.
The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF) is a marvelous resource for early French aviation information. The archives hold many contemporary aviation magazines and newspaper articles that are impossible to find anywhere else. Search: Leon Levavasseur, Latham Hubert, Antoinette moteur and l’aéroplane Antointette for the best results.
This is a reworked article about Alcock and Brown’s flight across the Atlantic, originally published in 2008. I’ve updated and improved the information, added links and posted some new images.
Alcock and Brown fly into history
One of my great passions is early aviation, especially pioneer airmail routes. I’m always on the lookout for any material dealing with early flights, people who made them happen, early aviation routes and especially anything philately related.
I just acquired a beautiful 1919 Daily Mirror newspaper of the famous Capt. John Alcock and Lt Arthur Brown first flight across the Atlantic Ocean. I’ll bet many of you thought the first trip across the ocean was by Lindbergh. Nope… wasn’t – was by a pair of British Royal Flying Corp and RAF WW1 vets flying in a converted Vickers Bomber in June 1919 less than a year after the end of WW1. Lindbergh was the first SOLO flight, not the first flight, as is often and erroneously written.
The trip took 16 hours and 12 minutes and had some truly terrifying moments, including one where the pilots were not entirely sure if they were flying right side up, the heating in their open cockpit plane gave out, the engine freezing over and flying as close as 20ft above the ocean. When the flight ended, Alcock was quoted “We’ve had a terrible voyage … the wonder is we are here at all”. A master of understatement wasn’t he.
The flight started in St. Johns, Newfoundland June 14 and ended in June 15 in Clifton, Ireland. Actually they landed in Derrygimla Moor – a bog that looked like an inviting green field.
Put this into perspective, remember this was long before radar, satellites and in this case, no ship support to pluck them out of the water if they crashed into the brink. Alcock and Brown used a sextant to check their course – yes a sextant, the same device used by sailors to check their position on the high seas.
Alcock & Brown’s route across the Atlantic
Here is a quote from the paper:
We scarcely saw the sun or the moon or the stars. For hours we saw none of them. The fog was very dense, and at times we had to descend to within 300ft of the sea.
For four hours the machine was covered in a sheet of ice carried by frozen sleet; at another time the fog was so dense that my speed indicator did not work, and for a few seconds it was very alarming.
We looped the loop, I do believe, and did a very steep spiral. We did some very comic ‘stunts’, for I have had no sense of horizon.
The winds were favourable all the way, north-west and at times south-west.
We drank coffee and ale and ate sandwiches and chocolate.
I like the part of the sandwiches and ale the best. They won the Daily Mail prize for achieving the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic. It was a whopping 10,000 pounds! That’s a princely sum now let alone back in 1919.
The Daily Mail headline
I’m completely chuffed about this paper. It’s 16 pages long and has all sorts of nifty tidbits about what was going on June 1919 – including some great ads and an interesting quick note on the R 34 Blimp’s 6 1/2-hour trial night run in preparation for it’s Atlantic run. It did the Trans-Atlantic run in July 1919 – starting East Fortune, Scotland to Nfld, Canada and then back via Mineola, NY to Pulham, England in 183 hours and 15 minutes. The R34 later crashed on landing in 1921.
Another interesting little article tells of the London-India flight:
The three British aviators, flying Handley-Page machine, landed for supplies at Tatoi, near Athens, on their way to London to India, via Rome.
1919 was a great year for pioneer flights. I haven’t finished reading the paper yet. I’ll post more from it later.
I’ll keep digging through my old articles and see if I can find any of the other flight related posts.