Written by Arthur H. Groten M.D.
Over the years I have devoted a number of columns to various aspects of aviation paraphilately. This column will describe some bits of more or less philatelic ephemera. I have not been able to accumulate enough for a column devoted to any one of these topics so let’s call this a miscellany.
Covers have been used for advertising and promotional purposes since the mid-19th century. I have written about how government promoted the development of aviation in the U.S. using various pieces of ephemera. This, of course, happened elsewhere as well. Examples from Belgium, Czechoslovakia France and Germany show how the slogans on machine cancelling devices of the 1930s sent the same message: use airmail. (Figures 1-4)
Beloved of philatelists are fancy cancels. I have found only this 1951 one that notes the 5¢ airmail rate. (Figure 5) Adjuncts are the myriad private hand stamps such as the 1953 “Air Mail Hubba Hubba” used from APO 704 in Japan (Figure 6) and the 1973 “Air Mail Wiki Wiki” from Hawaii. (Figure 7)
Particularly popular, beginning in the 1930s, were the recently created meter machine slogans. They were particularly popular with companies as free visual advertising. Thus, Imperial suggested to use their airmail from Singapore in 1936 on a cover franked with the scarce Universal “Midget” imprint. (Figure 8) Lufthansa had many different slogans for their services during the 1934-9 period; they used Francotype machines, in this case, type D multi-value. (Figure 9) The de Havilland Aviation Co. at Hatfield Aerodrome in Hertfordshire mentioned their production of aircraft, engines and propellers in 1955 on the Universal “Multi-value” machine. (Figure 10)
Amongst the rarest of such slogans are those found on permit imprints. The one shown in Figure 11 is known in red, blue and green, all from the same company with the same permit number 13399.
In keeping with the tradition of the advertising cover, many airlines used envelopes imprinted with their name, often franked with slogan meters and, on occasion, found with their own airmail etiquettes. Examples of the former, from Egypt (MISR), India (Air India) and Italy (LAI) (Figure 12-14), and of the latter from Australia (Qantas) and France (Air France) are a sampling of what can be found. (Figures 15-16)
These covers neatly bridge the philately/paraphilately aspects of our hobby and are examples of how to enhance one’s collection (and exhibit, if one wishes) with collateral material. Or is it collateral? You decide.
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