The U.S. Postal Service is issuing a second Forever stamp this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of U.S. airmail service.
United States Air Mail Red commemorates the centennial of an Aug. 12, 1918, flight from College Park Airfield in Maryland to New York City that became the first step in establishing transcontinental air routes. The first stamp, United States Air Mail Blue, paid tribute to the pioneering spirit of Army pilots who initiated service in May of the same year.
The two stamps are identical except in color. Both stamps are printed in intaglio, where the design is engraved into metal plate and then transferred to the stamp paper, and feature a drawing of a plane typically used in the early days of airmail, a Curtiss JN-4H biplane. The stamp designer and typographer was Dan Gretta; Greg Breeding was the art director.
A first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony for the United States Air Mail Red stamp will be held Aug. 11at the College Park Aviation Museum and College Park Airport in College Park, MD. The dedication ceremony coincides with the museum and airport's Airmail Centennial Celebration Family Day, which features hands-on activities for all ages, viewings of historic planes, entertainment, and food trucks.
"We hope this stamp will serve to honor the tireless work of those with the vision to see the potential of airmail service," said David Williams, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, U.S. Postal Service, who serves as the dedicating official. "We want it to stand as a tribute to the pilots who braved climate conditions of all manner to deliver the mail."
During World War I, a small group of Army pilots delivered mail along a route that linked Washington, Philadelphia and New York — initiating the world's first regularly scheduled airmail service on May 15, 1918.
The Post Office Department took charge of U.S. Air Mail later that summer, operating it from Aug. 12, 1918, through Sept. 1, 1927, and developing the critical infrastructure — profitable routes, lighted airfields for night flying and improved navigational tools — that allowed it to succeed.
Stamp Ideas Welcome
The public is encouraged to submit stamp suggestions. Visit usps.com for details on the stamp selection process and instructions for submitting suggestions in writing. Because of the time required for research and approval, send ideas for stamp subjects at least three years prior to the proposed release. For each submission include pertinent historical information and important dates associated with the stamp subject.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 120 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at Post Office locations, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
FDOI – United States Air Mail Red Stamps
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by Dec. 9, 2018.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the USA Philatelic publication and online at usps.com/shop. Customers may register to receive a free USAPhilatelic publication online at usps.com/philatelic.
The following philatelic products are available at usps.com/shop:
- 477900, United States Air Mail (Red), $0.50.
- 477906, Press Sheet, $60.
- 477910, Keepsake, $11.95.
- 477916, First Day Cover, $0.94.
- 477921, Digital Color Postmark, $1.65.
- 477924, Framed Art, $39.95.
- 477928, Cachet (Red), $9.95.
- 477930, Ceremony Program, $6.95.
Postal products are available for purchase at Post Office locations, online at usps.com, by mail through USA Philatelic, or by toll-free phone order at 1-800-STAMP-24.