Arago: 25-cent China Clipper

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25-cent China Clipper

A 25-cent blue airmail stamp showing a head-on view of the Martin M-130 China Clipper with the date "NOVEMBER 1935" was issued on November 22, 1935, to pay postage on mail carried on the inaugural Pan American Airways transpacific air mail route—San Francisco, Honolulu, Midway, Wake, and Guam. The head-on view of the Martin M-130 China Clipper shows its 'sea wings', which were used for lateral buoyancy on water in place of conventional floats usually attached near a seaplane's wingtips. The seaplane is in flight over the ocean with rays of the morning sun rising from America behind it. Four types of sailing and steam vessels below represent the progress in ocean transportation during the previous century: a Chinese junk, a three-masted sailing ship, a nineteenth century vessel, and an ocean liner. Designer A.R. Meissner also included the shields of the United States and the Philippines in the stamp design.

The first day of sale took place in San Francisco and Washington, District of Columbia. In connection with the inauguration of the transpacific airmail service, the first day sales of $69,432.00 set a new first-day sales record. There were 222,294 pieces of mail carried on the flight, including 110,000 sent from San Francisco and 34,516 returned from Manila.

The rate was based on twenty five cents per leg. A leg was defined as a segment that had a post office at each end. Stops at Midway and Wake did not count as legs because they had no post offices. The new service reduced the time for mailing a letter to Asia and receiving a reply from six or eight weeks down to only two weeks.


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