Arago: 8-cent Radiator & Wooden Propeller

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8-cent Radiator & Wooden Propeller

This 8–cent issue was the first United States stamp intended for airmail use issued without an airmail biplane as the central design. The central design of the deep green/dark green 8–cent airmail stamp is a mail plane radiator with a propeller horizontally attached. A letter dated July 28, 1923, from the Post Office Department’s superintendent of the Division of Stamps stated that the intended color was olive green.

Referring to a photograph of a DeHavilland biplane, C. A. Huston designed the stamp. H. Dawson and E. M. Weeks did the engraving. Approved on August 1, 1923, the design was put into press production on August 13, 1923.

Four plate numbers were used (14824–14827) for this design. The plate numbers appear eight times on each four hundred-subject sheet adjacent to the fifth stamp from each outside corner so that each pane of one hundred stamps has two plate number blocks of six.

The 8-cent stamps were first issued at the Post Office Department’s Philatelic Agency in Washington, D.C., on August 15, 1923, during the American Philatelic Society Convention. However, the distribution to other post offices was delayed until August 24, 1923, with instructions to the postmasters that they would be instructed to place them on sale at a later date. The sale of the stamps to the general public began on June 16, 1924, just ten days before the inauguration of the Transcontinental Air Mail Route.

This stamp was good for payment of airmail postage on an item of one ounce or less across any one zone of the Transcontinental Air Mail Route eastbound or westbound (New York–Chicago, Chicago–Cheyenne, Cheyenne–San Francisco).


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