This Day in History… May 26, 1928

First U.S. Airmail Booklet 

US #C10a – Spirit of St. Louis Booklet pane of 3.  Click image to order.

On May 26, 1928, the US issued its first-ever Airmail booklet – US #C10a.

Charles A. Lindbergh made history on May 20, 1927, when he embarked on the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic.  Completed in 33½ hours, the flight earned Lindbergh a number of honors, including a Legion of Honor from France and a Congressional Medal of Honor and a Distinguished Flying Cross from the United States.  He also became an instant celebrity.

Lindbergh’s rise to fame was so great that thousands of Americans wrote to Washington with requests for a commemorative stamp honoring his historic flight.  While the post office wouldn’t picture him, they did agree to honor him, creating the first US stamp that honored a living person.

Item #M9224 – Spirit of St. Louis Booklet Pane with free mount and album page. Click image to order.

That stamp, US #C10 was issued on June 18, 1927, less than a month after Lindberg’s famed flight.  More than 20 million stamps were issued and it was very popular with the public.

According to the third assistant postmaster’s announcement, there was an “enormous demand for airmail stamps in book form.”  So a year later, on May 26, 1928, the Post Office Department issued the same design in a booklet – the first US airmail booklet.  Only 145,560 booklets of six 10¢ Spirit of St. Louis airmail stamps were distributed to post offices nationwide.  The booklet carried an extra charge of 1¢ for its cover, which made the total cost of a booklet 61¢.

US #BKC1 – Complete Spirit of St. Louis booklet. Click image to order.

Unaware that the booklet pane differed from #C10, many stamp collectors overlooked the new format.  Two months after #C10a was issued, postal rates decreased and the 1927 10¢ airmail stamp became obsolete.

It would be 15 years before the post office would issue another airmail booklet – #C25a picturing a twin-motored transport plane.

Click here for more about Lindbergh and his historic flight.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

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