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Is Anyone Working On A National Air Mail Week 1938 Cover Catalog?

 
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Posted 09/08/2021   3:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add tailspin to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've seen various posts from people collecting NAMW 1938 covers and one from a fellow North Carolinian wanting to make album pages for them. But, I can't recall seeing anything like a country-wide catalog of NAMW covers other than the Aerodacious effort. And that doesn't look like it's been updated in years. Anyone out there currently working on such a catalog?
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Edited by tailspin - 09/08/2021 9:26 pm

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Posted 09/09/2021   12:10 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add centerstage98 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A catalog would be quite the undertaking; there were thousands of different covers as even places without airports and regular airmail service took part in the gimmick. If I can get this photo on. here is a pic of Postmaster General James Farley and some of the covers that wound up in New York City.
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Posted 09/09/2021   12:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tailspin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, a serious effort at such a catalog would be a challenge, but not impossible. Back in the 1980s I wrote a 4-volume catalog of U.S. obsolete bank notes for Krause Publications. It has 72,000 illustrations and probably 100,000 entries. I don't believe the NAMW catalog would have more than 10,000 entries, even if they were all known at the start. Furthermore, the NAMW catalog I'm thinking of would be online, making it rather easier to produce (and edit). You might say, "But that iconic Farley photo has a lot more than 10,000 covers." In the late 1950s Farley donated his NAMW collection to the Smithsonian. How many covers are in it? 7350. One assumes all the others in the picture were duplicates. I'll have more to say about my contemplated project soon. I probably should go into therapy for a while first, though!
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Edited by tailspin - 09/09/2021 01:22 am
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Posted 09/09/2021   09:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Jim Adams collected Indiana AMW covers. He copied from microfilm (from the USPO archives?) the actual flight logs with number of covers flown for Indiana NAMW flights. I think that reource coverd the entire NAMW 1938 project. His collection is now owned by John Becker at last report. John may be able to provide you more info on how to locate thses microfilms. Not sure but they may be available on line? Have not looked for years.

1938 is not the only year there was some sort of air mail week promotion.

Have fun and good luck.

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Posted 09/09/2021   1:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Numbers: As a rough estimate, for Scott 1396, the 7/1/71 USPS stamp, there about 40,000 post offices open in 1971 of which about 50% of the towns have been reported = 20,000. There were a few more post offices in 1938. Based on what I know about Indiana NAMW cachets, I see about 50% participation + several cities had both press-printed and rubber stamp cachets. Extrapolating these two data points into the entire country, I would not be surprised that a fairly complete NAMW cachet database would be in the 20,000 range or slightly higher. A very manageable number of records to handle.

The late Jim Adams had copies of both the pilot reports and postmaster reports for each Indiana flight. These reports vary considerably in quality of information in them. I do not know whether he obtained them directly or through the effort of someone else visiting the archives for him. I do not know what "record group" these two sets of reports were in, but I do believe they covered the entire country. I do not know if they were copied from the original paper files or had been filmed. I have not tried to locate them in the archives.
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Posted 09/09/2021   8:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tailspin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you very much hoosierboy and John! Yes, 20,000 is certainly manageable. John, would you be kind enough to PM me (I have a big presence on the coin site, but not many posts here yet)?
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Posted 09/09/2021   8:47 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Jim,
You have enough posts so John can contact you through forum.
Don
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Posted 09/09/2021   9:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tailspin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You're a lifesaver as always, Don. Lunch is on me next week!
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Posted 09/10/2021   9:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tailspin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It is my suspicion that more often than not NAMW cover collectors are local: they collect the covers of one state or region. Are there any state specialists out there (if so, please PM me)? If I do produce this catalog it would be my goal to illustrate every listing! And to do that it will take the cooperation of other collectors who share my dream of seeing a catalog produced.

At this point in my life I'm giving back to the hobby that has brought me so much joy and satisfaction over the years. The catalog would be free, easily accessed and customizable. For example, if you wanted just the Indiana section of the catalog, that would be possible.
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Edited by tailspin - 09/11/2021 12:32 am
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Posted 09/11/2021   12:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DonSellos to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello tailspin:

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the listing or compendium of NAMW covers complied by Jon E. Drabyk and originally published by the NAMWHS Journal. While not a comprehensive catalog, it lists participating towns and includes many illustrations of cachets used. It is copyrighted by The National Air Mail Week Historical Society in Piscataway, New Jersey, 1991. It lists participants in the 48 states, U.S. Territories and Possessions, RPO cancels, and Ships cancels.

I once started collecting NAMW covers from Iowa and acquired a photocopy of the listing. I don't remember where I got my copy, probably, the APS American Philatelic Research Library.

While this compendium does not claim completeness, it would certainly be a starting point for a more complete catalog.

DonSellos
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Posted 09/11/2021   10:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tailspin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for mentioning this resource. I hope to have a copy of the listing soon.
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Posted 11/18/2021   2:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add kdrabyk to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
hi everyone-
Jon Drabyk was my Dad. He worked for decades on compiling a list of NAMW cities and put together a huge catalogue of information as someone mentioned below. He passed away last year from Alzheimer's disease. I have his collection of NAMW covers and unfortunately, I know nothing about them. Can anyone direct me to someone who may be able to help me figure out what I have and if they are of value? I also have a few copies of his CD (I think I have 2) that I would be happy to pass along to anyone who needs it.

-Kristin Drabyk-Savage
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Posted 11/18/2021   2:16 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Kristin,
I have contacted 'tailspin' and think that he can be of help for you.
Don
(moderator here)
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Posted 11/18/2021   8:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tailspin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks so much, Don. I should also mention that my online NAMW catalog will include the SAMW (state air mail week) covers of 1937. In that case a limited number of states participated, but it was as a result of the successful 1937 North Carolina program that Charlotte Postmaster Paul Younts led that he was appointed national chairman for the 1938 national program.
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Posted Today  7 Hrs 46 Min ago  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Kristin. You asked if NAMW covers are of value. The answer is yes, of course all covers, including NAMW ones, are of value, but the answer also includes the caveat that unfortunately their value to sell them is quite minimal. If you were to sell them one by one on a place like eBay and you put the time into carefully describing each one and including a lot of nicely taken in focus photos and closeups you would be lucky to get between $1 and $5 for each, and that includes having the great majority that you list each week go unsold. If you value your time and subtract the eBay and PayPal fees you might find it was costing you more to sell them than you were getting. If you had a large number of them you could put them in lots of 10 to 100 and likely get wholesale prices for them in the range of 25 cents to 50 cents each. Or you could get a bit more if you made your wholesale lots where all of the covers in a lot were from the same state. The sad thing about NAMW covers is they tend to be seen as souvenir covers rather than the more sought after first flight covers and there are very few collectors of them meaning there is little demand for them. Another thought might be to donate them somewhere and claim a deduction on your income tax that year. One possible place to contact might be the American Philatelic Society's Research Library to see if they might be interested in accepting them, especially if you also gave them your father's book and research papers to go with it.
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Posted Today  6 Hrs 59 Min ago  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
kdrabyk,

Thank you for helping preserve your father's work. Yes, there were several years of promotional air mail covers. In 2006 a group of 18 buplanes made a "Barnstormer's Tour" here in the midwest. We had a flight made with special event cancels between Fort Wayne and Bloomington, Indiana. Never generated much interest but it was a neat experience.
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