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Alaska Mass Flight Mail - 1934

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Posted 06/22/2017   6:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add blcjr to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I had an exhibit at Americover last year and one of the judges remarked about how it didn't have any "Alaska Mass Flight Mail" though, he said, such exists. Would anyone know anything about this?

The "mass flight" in question is the Army Air Corp flight of 10 B-10 Bombers from Washington, DC to Alaska and back in 1934 under the direction of Hap Arnold.

I turned up this on eBay:



But this is labeled as a "Navy Mass Flight." I wonder if this is a mistake, as the cancellation looks appropriate for the Army flight.

But I haven't found anything else. Besides eBay, any other ideas of where to look for something like this?

Basil

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Posted 06/23/2017   05:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
From some more research, it appears that there was a "Navy Mass Flight" around the same time as the "Army Mass Fight." Here's another cover:

So this has me wondering if the there was really any event covers associated with the Army flight, and the judge confused the two.

This might be an interesting (to me) matter for further research. Was the Navy flight planned to "compete" with the Army flight? I know that the Army flight ruffled the feathers of the Navy because they flew offshore on the flight back, and the Navy considered that "their" territory, and the Army was supposed to keep to flights over land. Two of the protagonists in that dispute were Capt. Earnest King, and Col. Hap Arnold. Both would go on to serve on FDR's Joint Chiefs of Staff, and King's visceral animosity toward Arnold is legend.

If anyone knows any dealers who might have more information on whether or not "Army Mass Flight" covers exist I would certainly appreciate knowing who I might contact to check this out further.

Basil
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Posted 06/23/2017   12:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add j_rogers to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Your first cover is listed in the 5th edition of the American Airmail Catalog as Trans-Oceanic Record Flight number 1213. It was a mass naval flight from San Francisco to Alaska and Return starting on 28 July 1934.

I don't see any listings for Army flights around the same time.

I wonder if the judge was referring to the earlier 1924 "Round the World Flight by U.S. Army Aviators".

According to the American Airmail Catalog 5th Edition:
"Capt. Lowell H. Smith and five American Army Lieuts.: Henry H. Ogden, Leigh Wade, Eric H. Nelson, Leslie P. Arnold and John Harding, Jr., were the first men to circumnavigate the world by airplane. In four planes they flew from Seattle, Wash. To Alaska (where one plane crashed) …."

The catalog lists cards and covers dispatched from Santa Monica, March 17, 1924.

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Edited by j_rogers - 06/23/2017 12:16 pm
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Posted 06/23/2017   12:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add j_rogers to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A closer inspection of the catalog entry for Trans-Oceanic (TO) 1213, shows that your second cover is correct for the flight. It has the correct cachet and date for TO 1213. However, there should be backstamps along the flight. Does your cover have any backstamps?

Your first cover originates at one of the stops indicated.
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Posted 06/23/2017   2:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The second cover is online at Brookman, and while they do not have an image of the backside, the description reads


Quote:
back stamped 8/17/34 - USS Avocet with "Yakutat Alaska" bar cancel and 10/5/34 - Yakutat, Alaska


Your mention about the around the world flight is interesting. I think the judge mixed up the two 1934 flights, not the 1924 flight. But if I can find any mail from the 1924 fight that would be a nice addition to my exhibit. But not the mail from the 1934 Navy flight. Hap Arnold had nothing to do with that one.

Thanks for the info. It has helped a lot.

Basil
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Posted 06/23/2017   3:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add j_rogers to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The DC to Alaska mass flight of Army bombers did occur in 1934. However, I am confident that a lack of listing in the American Airmail Catalog is strong evidence that there are no known covers carried on that flight.

Covers commemorating the landing of the 1924 flyers in Boston are relatively common.

Here is a link to the world flight that also has photos of the two covers: http://www.wingnet.org/rtw/RTW001D.HTM

Good luck in your search.


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Posted 06/24/2017   11:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I new American Air Mail Society publication was recently released but I do not yet have it so I cannot say what it has to say about these flights. It is:

AMERICAN AIR MAIL CATALOGUE, Seventh Ed. Volume 2.
Published 2016. 488 pages.
Entire Catalog covers Polar Philately
Hardbound. -- $100.00
AAMS Member Price -- $80.00

I would expect that both these and a great many other Alaska covers would be included. It is a bit pricey, but the AAMS catalogs are the premier references for their topics. You can buy them from the American Philatelic Society who sells them for the AAMS. If you join the American Air Mail Society first you can get the $20 discount as well as 12 issues of the Airpost Journal. This month's APJ that just came out includes an interesting article on the Navy mass flight from the Canal Zone to the Galapagos Islands and return, which was one of a series of mass Navy flights at that time that were flown to develop the Navy's ability to flight long distances over water.

Or you could go through the APS Library who would have that particular volume of the Catalog and for a fee they will photocopy pages and send them to you so you can see if that is a catalog that you might like to keep on your bookshelf.
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Posted 06/30/2017   7:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add j_rogers to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I was very disappointed in the 6th edition of the catalog. I purchased each volume as it became available. However, after only three volumes and a fraction of what the 5th edition covered, the 7th edition was announced.

It lacks a cumulative date index and is very difficult to look up covers, unless you already have the previous catalog number.

For what its worth, the 6th edition does have an entire section devoted to Alaska flights. However, all the covers mentioned in this thread are absent in the listings. There is a note that other flights are located in other non-existent sections of the catalog.

I don't know what happened to cause the 6th edition to be aborted. Anyone here familiar with the history?

I do know that the 7th edition is supposed to have seven volumes. However, at $80 a pop, I am not sure that it will be worth it.

I recommend that those interested in first flights, try and locate a copy of the 5th edition. The entire set can be purchased for less than one of the 7th edition volumes.


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Posted 07/01/2017   11:01 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I recommend that those interested in first flights, try and locate a copy of the 5th edition. The entire set can be purchased for less than one of the 7th edition volumes.
I just this week received a complete set of the 5th edition is very good condition for $75 (plus shipping) found on eBay. It is indeed an improvement over my "1947 Edition, Volume Two, and 1959 Supplement."

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Posted 07/01/2017   11:53 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add j_rogers to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well done!
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Posted 07/01/2017   11:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The American Air Mail Catalogs are works of love created by small committees of serious experts who do the work for free so writing a 700 page volume where each entry needs to be updated and expanded from previous editions and color photos found for as many flights as possible is an incredible amount of work. As such they take a fair amount of time to write. They are quite unlike catalogs such as Scott's or Stanley Gibbons' or such where there are entire full time paid staffs who prepare each update and where there is little or no substantive explanatory text that goes with each entry. If anyone would like to participate in the process of creating the new volumes of the 7th edition of the American Air Mail Catalog, they welcome your help, whether from experts to generate each listing and determine values based on sales of flight covers over the past few years to people who may not be experts but who are willing to read and check for readability and errors, etc. Joining the AAMS is simple and all you need to do is go to their website at http://www.americanairmailsociety.org/ FYI, the AAMS has recently stated in this month's issue of the Air Post Journal that they are considering the new 7th edition and all of its much expanded volumes to be their final edition and in the future they are planning on simply issuing price update volumes and possibly minor books with additional information. The reason is the amount of work and time it takes to produce each volume by volunteers.

In the meantime, the most complete edition is the 5th. The 3 volumes of the 6th contain more details, more information, and price updates on the specific sections of the 5th edition that they cover, but they do not include all of the sections of 5th. The 7th will eventually cover pretty much everything plus a great deal of additional information and will overshadow the 5th in coverage, detail, and current pricing.

The Alaska section of the 5th edition lists another mass Navy flight that left Seattle on May 5, 1934 - a few months before the one being discussed - that went to a number of different towns in Alaska. It has a large cachet that calls it the Alaskan Aerial Survey Flight that was undertaken by Navy Squadron V-J. It is catalog number Alaska 188. The Alaska section also includes two other Navy flights in 1934 - Alaska 188A us a Navy survey flight to the Aleutian Islands, and 194A is a Navy flight from Adak to Ruby where those covers are postmarked "USS Tanager". And as already been mentioned, the second cover shown is listed in the Transoceanic section as number 1213. I suppose that it is possible that your first cover may also have been on that flight on the return as Cordova was one of the stops, but I do not know the dates of the return so it may have been intended for that flight but may have been too late to make it? The backstamps would be important to see on both covers as backstamps are critical to understanding first flight covers.
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Edited by Kimo - 07/01/2017 11:56 pm
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Posted 07/02/2017   09:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add j_rogers to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I always enjoy reading your posts Kimo. Your wealth of knowledge always amazes me.

I belong to several small organizations and I realize how much work goes into just keeping things running, typically by a few individuals have the passion to do so.

I have the first volume of the 7th edition and will continue to purchase the others to support the effort. I have been a member of the AAMS for many years, but have never been actively involved. I have recently retired and have started to sort through the accumulation that I have. I hesitate to call it a collection at this point.

I recommend that anyone interested in learning about the history of the airmail and aviation in general become a member. The monthly journal alone is well worth the annual expense.

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Posted 07/02/2017   10:31 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Kimo,
There is only one logical format for large amounts of content which has frequent updates and/or changes; SQL. This would also be the format to use to ensure that the effort remains viable for decades to come. And it is also the ideal format to support a group development effort.

Kimo, if they would like assistance in evolving their efforts into a SQL format please let them know that I would be happy to help.
Don
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Posted 07/08/2017   5:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add j_rogers to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I found this picture in my accumulation. It shows two of the aircraft associated with the TO 1213 Alaska Mass Flight cover taking off from San Diego on July 17th 1934. I think it adds another dimension to this discussion and gives more insight into how many people were involved in the flight.



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Posted 07/08/2017   6:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add littleriverphil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Nice photograph. Thanks for showing it.
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Posted 07/08/2017   9:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for sharing the great photo!
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