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bulk 1918-1999


1.99 Cubic feet ((5 boxes))


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Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Postage stamps

Cachets (philately)

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of philatelic items and first day covers from a variety of sources including flown items, cacheted covers, stamps, and first day covers. Flown items in the collection include letters from the first flights of various air mail routes; a letter carried aboard the first flight of the ZRS-4 Akron; a commemorative envelope from the First Flight Transpacific Westbound/Eastbound to Guam flown by the Pan American Clipper in 1935 which is signed by the crew and contains a narrative about the flight inside the envelope; an envelope flown aboard a special autogiro flight from Bolling Field; a letter carried on the Zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenburg that is stamped "Intended for the first eastbound trip of Airship 'HINDENBURG' in 1937. Could not be forwarded on account of accident to Airship on May 6, 1937"; a postcard and envelope carried aboard the first American Airlines non-stop flight from Los Angeles, CA to Washington, DC; a letter from the first flight of various Lufthansa routes; items carried aboard a flight commemorating the 50th anniversary of Calbraith Perry Rodgers' transcontinental flight; items from flights commemorating the 50th anniversary of air mail; a commemorative envelope flown on the first flight of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10; an oversized envelope with various postmarks and stamps from the Air Force Association's Around the World Flight in December 1949; two "Astro Letter" forms and an envelope flown by a Rocket Research Institute rocket during the time of the Apollo 16 flight; an envelope, in a commemorative folder, flown by Arnold Palmer in a Learjet 36 on an around the world record flight; balloon mail from the Atmosat America Balloon; a commemorative envelope containing a card of information flown from London to Auckland, New Zealand by Jean Batten; an envelope carried aboard the first flight of the Cessna 650 Citation III; items flown aboard the first solo transatlantic balloon flight by Joseph W. Kittinger, Jr.; two envelopes, signed by Henry T. "Dick" Merrill, flown during the 1927 Anglo-American Goodwill Coronation Flight from New York to London; two envelopes flown aboard Handley Page Dart Herald H.P.R.7 aircraft during two separate flights commemorating the 60th anniverary of scheduled air services at Cricklewood Airport; a cover carried aboard a 1937 Pan American Airways Martin (Glenn L.) Model 130 Hawaii Clipper flight from Hawaii to California; an envelope carried by Richard E. Byrd during his second Antarctic expedition; a letter carried on the first Transcontinental & Western Air Service air express flight from St. Louis, Missouri in 1931; a letter carried on Peoria (Illinois) Airport's first airmail flight; a cacheted cover flown aboard the Westinghouse Sentinel 1000 airship in 1993 to mark the bicentennial of America's first manned flight; and an envelope flown by sailplane to commemorate the dedication of the National Soaring Landmark in San Diego, CA. There are also aviation and space related stamps in the collection issued by the United States; Liberia; Rhodesia; Tanzania; India; Singapore; France; Germany; Hungary; Romania; Iceland; Peru; Brazil; Paraguay; Poland; and the Soviet Union. Stamps and cacheted and first day covers in the collection commemorate people and events such as the Wright Brothers; air mail; balloons; Amelia Earhart; U.S. Navy flights; Charles Lindbergh's New York to Paris flight; the 1929 National Air Races, Women's Air (Powder Puff) Derby; Blanche Stuart Scott; Glenn Curtiss; Robert Hutchings Goddard; Calbraith Perry Rodgers; Canadian aviation history; the Concorde; Alfred V. Verville; Richard E. Byrd; John F. Kennedy Space Center; the launch of Apollo 16; Apollo 17; the first flight of the Clancy Sky Baby; Floyd Bennett Field; satellites; the first emergency parachute jump, made by Harold R. Harris in 1922; the 50th anniversary of the blind flight made by James Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle in a Consolidated NY-2 (Husky) in 1929; the 50th anniversary of the first east to west transatlantic flight; the Viking Lander spacecraft; Edward Goodman and Elmer Ambrose Sperry; Pioneer 10; Jules Verne; the tenth anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing; the triple launching of the USS Antietam, USS Chicago, and the USS Los Angeles from the Philadelphia Navy Yard; Walter Hinton; Hermann Julius Oberth; Henri Coanda; Harry Richman and Henry T. "Dick" Merrill's 1936 round-trip transatlantic flight; the 100th anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution; World War II; James A. Mollison; Ellington Field; International Philatelic Week; the 1938 Chicago International Air Show; Space Shuttle Mission STS-41 (36, 6 Oct 90) [note: this cacheted cover contains a ticket for the Kennedy Space Center Spaceport]; the USS Ranger; Enid Field Army Flying School; the dedication of Randolph Field; the 1937 All American Air Maneuvers in Miami, Florida; America's Model Plane Classic National Outdoor Championships held in Atlanta, Georgia in 1937; the USS Lexington; and airships including the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin, Enterprise N1A, ZRS-4 Akron, and the ZRS-5 Macon. One item in the collection is a photocopy of an Apollo 11 commemorative envelope flown to the moon in the personal kit of Edwin "Buzz" Eugene Aldrin, Jr. and signed (on the original) by Aldrin, Michael Collins, and Neil Alden Armstrong. The collection also includes an incomplete series of Smithsonian "Milestones of Flight" commemorative envelopes. There are two philatelic souvenirs made of squares of white cloth, possibly beta cloth, which bear the Apollo 17 mission insignia along with space related stamps and a Houston postmark. There is also one newsclipping in the collection about Charles Kingsford-Smith and there is one black and white photograph that accompanies two postcards commemorating Rheinhold Tiling. A number of the items in this collection are autographed.


Postage stamps

Cachets (Philately)


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Topics Aeronautics
Space flight
Zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenburg
Apollo Project
Air pilots
Aeronautics -- Records


Philatelic and First Day Cover Collection, Acc. XXXX-0473, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives