The 6-cents Globe and Wing airmail (Scott C22) was issued on July 16, 1951, as one of a six-stamp series replacing the circa 1931 Gaillard Cut permanent series with a more modern rendition of a winged airmail allegory superimposed on a global depiction of part of the Americas centered on the Canal Zone. It paid the single weight airmail rate from the Canal Zone to the U.S. that had been in effect since October 1, 1946.
The initial printing of 2,000,000 was frequently reordered in both the ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ methods, with a total of 22, 657,000 run off by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The last remainders were withdrawn from sale on January 31, 1966, over seven years after airmail rates had increased to 7-cents and over two years after they had risen again to 8-cents. After their withdrawal from sale these remainders were destroyed. The stamp depicted in the illustration is a ‘dry’ printing with typical clear colors and smooth gum.
Airmail letters to the U.S. with the 6-cents Globe and Wing airmail are very common. It is often seem in combination with other airmail and regular stamps to make up a rate, and many of these are often seen too. The more strange usages are a source of much collector attention though. First day covers are fairly common and usually seen with the other stamps of this series, more often than not on a cacheted enveloped produced by Jack Reinig, the premier Canal Zone-based cachet producer of the times. A few are seen on what is believed to be Elmer Smith’s first cachet; Smith was soon to become Number One on the Isthmus with Reinig’s retirement and return to the U.S.