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1928 first flight cover from Old Colony autoed by pilot, need help to ID rare overprint?  
 

 
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United States
16 Posts
Posted 03/16/2017   3:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add HOTArtifacts to your friends list  Get a Link to this Message
Hey everyone!

Going through the collection today and came across this first flight cover from 1928.

I'm really curious if anyone knows the rarity of the multi-colored "Via Airmail" stamped overprint on the front. I haven't been able to find another example of it and wondering if anyone has info on it?

Also, the back has a large magenta colored "Central Office" print does this add anything to the value.

Thanks...!





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United States
399 Posts
Posted 03/16/2017   4:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jarnick to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I suspect that the triangular "Via Air Mail" stamp is not an official marking, but one applied by the Philadelphia collector, A. L. Born.
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United States
4629 Posts
Posted 03/16/2017   5:56 pm  Show Profile Check stallzer's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add stallzer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Auxiliary markings on philatelic covers can get one to scour the internet for hours and yield little results.
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Posted 03/17/2017   12:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi. Your first flight cover is listed in the 7th Edition of the American Air Mail Catalog as CAM number 9E-11. It was flown on the first east bound flight from Appleton, Wisconsin on Contract Air Mail Route number 9. Northwest Airways held the CAM 9 contract from the Post Office to fly the mail on this route. There were three pilots who flew that route that day, Leon S. DeLong who signed your cover, Charles W. Holman, and Chad B. Smith. The pilots who flew that particular cover on that leg of the route were Holman and Smith - not DeLong - so the autograph is a bit problematic. The official octagonal flight cachet was applied to some covers in purple ink and other covers in magenta ink. The magenta colored cachet which is on yours is the more common of the two. There was 170 pounds of mail flown on that particular leg of the new service which is quite a bit and so the catalog value for the cover is only $3. The pilot autograph, had it been Holman and Smith or even just one of those two would have added perhaps $5 to the value of the cover (all three of these pilots are relatively unknown so their autographs do not result in the kind of significant added values that pilots like Lindbergh, Earhart, and similar big name autographs do). However, the wrong pilot - DeLong does not detract but also it does not add. The triangular via air mail rubber stamp marking is, as the others have already mentioned, a only a privately made and applied made marking and has nothing to do with any official post office marking. As such does not add value to the cover. It could have been added at any time either when the cover was originally prepared by the collector who sent it, or by that collector or any other owner in the time since. It is attractive and well stamped so it does not detract from the value though. The additional Philadelphia Central Office receiving cancel on the back duplicates the receiving Philadelphia machine cancel that is already on the back so it does not add anything. To be more precise, neither Philadelphia receiving cancellation has any meaning regarding this flight cover. The one that does have a meaning is the Oshkosh receiving cancel because Oshkosh was on the CAM 9 route for this expansion of service. Where it went after then does not factor in to such covers. Actually, given the 5 days after the flight date, and 4 days after the Oshkosh receiving cancellation that is seen in the December 20 Philadelphia receiving cancels this cover would have gone by ground (likely by rail) to Philadelphia after the first flight ended.
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Edited by Kimo - 03/17/2017 2:27 pm
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United States
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Posted 03/20/2017   11:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add HOTArtifacts to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello everyone and Timo...thanks for the very detailed/informative replay. Extremely interesting. Very happy to hold onto this for historical purposes in my collection and would love to show the grandkids in the future. Good information about DeLong also I wonder why he didn't end up flying that day? Would love the elusive Lindbergh or Earhhart sig that would be great...always on the lookout! Cheers and thanks again for your time and consideration to this US cover.
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Posted 03/22/2017   12:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
DeLong did fly that day, but not the leg of the flight that this cover was flown on. DeLong was the pilot on the legs between Milwaukee and Fond du Lac. Holman and Smith were the pilots on all of the other legs including yours between Appleton and Oshkosh. Contract Air Mail Route (CAM) number 9 was created by the U.S. Post Office on June 7, 1926 with service to fly US air mail from Chicago to Minneapolis and return. This opening CAM 9 included stops in Milwaukee, La Crosse, and St. Paul. A complete set of first flight covers from among these cities would require 14 covers. Over the following years there were a number of expansions and new stops added. For example, on November 23, 1927 Madison was added as a stop on this route and first flight covers to and from Madison to points along CAM 9 were created. A full set of first flight covers from this expansion would require 7 covers. Then on December 15 and 16, 1929 Green Bay was added with interim stops at Appleton and Oshkosh. First flights to and from Green Bay, Appleton, and Oshkosh to other points on CAM 9 were created. A full set of first flight covers from this extension would be 9 first flight covers. Yours is one leg of these 9 covers - yours is Appleton to Oshkosh. Additional expansions of CAM 9 happened in the following years and first flight covers were created for all of these. I have not counted them up, but a complete set of first flight covers for all of these CAM events would likely be somewhere around 85 to 90 first flight covers.
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