Arago: Exhibits


Use of the 5-Cent Stamp for Air Mail

As the 5-cent stamp circulated nationwide, local postmasters and citizens became confused about how it could be used. It was denominated at the domestic air mail rate, and it showed a plane, but did not include the words "Air Mail." Could it be used as airmail postage or not?

Third Assistant Postmaster General Robert Regar prepared a memo that addressed the issue. "They are valid for all purposes," he wrote; however, when used for air mail delivery, the stamp had to be used on an approved air mail envelope or with the words “Via Air Mail” written on the envelope.

Arago Only Image

Guidance on the usage of the 5-cent stamp, sent by Robert S. Regar. Courtesy National Postal Museum Library.

5c Civil Aeronautics Conference Wright Airplane first day cover

This first day airmail cover was prepared by Conference attendee Benjamin Lipsner, a retired army captain and pivotal figure in early U.S. airmail. His membership card number (265) is in the return address.