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Is This A First Flight Cover?

 
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Posted 05/28/2020   7:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Chevelle to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've searched and thrashed around on this cover. Cover is postmarked July 29, 1938, no markings on the reverse. The American Air Mail Catalog was consulted, but could not find a flight that might match up with a time frame near or subsequent to the cancellation date. Any help greatly appreciated.

Dave
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Posted 05/28/2020   10:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add No1philatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Short- Mayo composite project comprised of the short S.21-maia G-ADHK and the short s.21 G-ADHJ mercury may have been what they were trying to get this cover on. May have been late? The flight from Foynes Ireland to Montreal Canada and then to New York was on July 21st,1938.

All the cancels are Russian and dated after the flight so my best guess is it did not make the flight especially when there are no other markings.
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Edited by No1philatelist - 05/29/2020 9:31 pm
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Posted 05/30/2020   09:06 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Chevelle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
No1philatelist, thanks very much for your response. I held back a couple of days to see if anyone else had additional info. It appears that you may be correct. I read about the flight you reference in the American Air Mail Catalog, but thought that missing the date by that much, July 20th versus July 29th, was hard to fathom. I guess there were no special cachets for the July 20th flight and the only way one might know the cover actually flew on the flight was the New York July 21st backstamp. Dave
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Posted 06/29/2020   2:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Chevelle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is an update to my "Is this a first flight cover" that initiated this thread.

I put the cover out on eBay and it sold for a miraculous $102.50. The winning bidder was kind enough to explain the cover to me when I inquired as to its provenance.

Although the cover is postmarked July 29, 1938, the successful bidder is convinced that the year date is incorrect. He, and at least one other bidder (there were five different bidders total most dropped out just below the $50 mark), were/are convinced that the correct year is 1939. He explained to me that the envelope itself was not available in 1938, but was created for the 1939 transatlantic service by Imperial Airways.

He believes the cover in question was meant for the Southampton-New York flight, but for some reason missed the flight. He said the cover was posted with enough time allowed that it should have made the flight, but did not. He pointed out that prior to the summer of 1939 there were no regular flights across the Atlantic. The flight mentioned in my eBay write-up (the same flight suggested by the above SCF participant in this thread) carried only British newspapers as an experiment and did not carry any general mail.

Finally, he stated that his collection revolving around these 1939 flights totals in excess of 450 covers and that the cover in question is only the second one that he's seen franked with Russian stamps.

For those who have read this thread and care, I hope this provides some closure (but maybe even more questions?).

Dave
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Posted 06/29/2020   3:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add blcjr to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Nice example of how eBay can facilitate discovery of true economic value.
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Posted 06/30/2020   08:26 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DonSellos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
He explained to me that the envelope itself was not available in 1938, but was created for the 1939 transatlantic service by Imperial Airways.


Hi Chevelle:

Great sales price. Congratulations!

Interesting explanation regrading the purchase of that cover. The date it was postmarked, indeed, may be wrong, but I question the buyer's statement about the 1938 availability of the envelope. I have an example of this envelope used for a first-flight between Baltimore and Bermuda that is postmarked March 10, 1938.

Don
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Posted 07/01/2020   1:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Chevelle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don Sellos, based on your claim that you have an envelope of the same design posted March 10, 1938, I went back to the winning bidder and asked again whether or not this particular envelope design was available in 1938. He informed that based on his information that it was not available in 1938. I did not inform him about your envelope yet. Could you provide a scan of your envelope? If it is of the same design I will refer the winning bidder to this SCF thread.

Dave
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Posted 07/02/2020   08:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DonSellos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Chevelle:

Yes, of course. I should have included it above. Take off the cachet and stamp and here is the same envelope posted in March, 1938. Similar covers are available regularly on eBay.

Again, the date may well be incorrect on the cover in question, but I don't think the unavailability of the envelope in 1938 is proof of same.

Don


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Posted 07/02/2020   6:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Chevelle to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don Sellos, thanks for providing the scan of your cover. I've contacted the winning bidder again and have referred him to this discussion thread on SCF. I'll let everyone know what he says unless, of course, he responds on this thread. Dave
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Posted 07/02/2020   11:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add No1philatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
From what I have read and know -

Regular airmail flights across the North Atlantic began May 20,1939 by Pan-American Airways. There were regular Transatlantic airmail flights by Deutsche Lufthansa which started Feb 3,1934.

It is stated in pen on the cover " First transatlantic airmail flight" - As he has put British postage stamps on the cover it obviously was his intent to have that cover on the first "Northern Transatlantic flight".

The posting date was days after the short-Mayo flight leaving Southhampton airport. So he was obviously early if it had been intended to be on the First Transatlantic Clipper flight in May 1939. Too bad he did not state which aircraft it was intended for or that it did not get the flight cachet.

And the fact that Don posted the same cover with a March 16,1938 postmark, showed that the cover was available over one year earlier and casts doubt on the incorrect date theory.
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Posted 07/08/2020   5:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The first UK transatlantic mail carrying flight was in July of 1919 when the British rigid airship, the R-34 carries a few letters. It was a one-time thing, not a regular airmail service but it was the first transatlantic UK flight. There were many other "first" transatlantic mail carrying flights in the two decades after then including the July 20, 1938 flight mentioned already but none were regular mail carrying service. The first real, commercial, regular transatlantic mail carrying service from the UK (Southhampton, not London) was the first flight of the northern route of FAM 18 that departed Southhampton on August 5, 1939. Those covers are backstamped at one of the stops along the way of FAM 18's northern route. This cover is not backstamped which is one of the gold standards as to whether a cover was actually flown. In addition, the date of 1938 is wrong. While anything is possible including a postmark being wrong, the likelihood is low and the burden of proof is on the person who is trying to make a claim of the postmark being an error rather than the far more likely case of this being a philatelic creation that did not work out. There are no shortages of such covers that collectors of the day having incorrect information or hopeful information that did not pan out made covers that went nowhere. One additional burden this cover has for it to be considered as a first flight is there is no Southhampton or even London postmark on the British stamps. Everything cancelled with the same USSR postmark. To be fair, there was a great deal of news swirling around for several years on when the UK - US regular mail carrying flights would begin, as there was great tension between the US and the UK on who would get the mail contracts - Pan Am or Imperial or whether they would share them evenly even though the UK had an issue in not having transatlantic capable aircraft. Also, both up to date and accurate inside information from the UK and US to the USSR would have been a bit less than prompt, regular, and complete because of some political tensions so such a cover missing the first flight might have been a bit less than a complete surprise.

My thought is that this cover was not flown and that when you sold it for that price you were very fortunate as I see it as more of a curiosity along with the many other "not quite FFC" that are floating around in people's collections rather than a Russian dispatch on the first UK to US regular mail carrying flight cover.
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