OTD: Canada issues its first airmail stamp

On today’s date in 1928, Canada’s Post Office Department introduced the first government airmail stamp, a five-cent denomination (Scott #C1) depicting two winged figures alongside a globe.

Printed by the Canadian Bank Note Co., the stamp had 12 perforations and a print run of 5,050,000.

The inaugural airmail stamp was issued in conjunction with the regular sovereign and pictorial issue of 1928; what’s more, it was released at a time of burgeoning airmail development in Canada, whose airmail service reached from the Atlantic to the Pacific as well as far into the country’s northern regions.

The two winged figures, symbolic of flight, are set against a globe representing the northern half of the western hemisphere, on which is an outline of the map of Canada.

Canada’s airmail stamps were issued between Sept. 21, 1928 and Sept. 16, 1946, and many countries followed suit as transporting mail by air began gaining popularity. Postal administrations charged a premium for airmail service, so special airmail stamps were issued to cover the higher rate.

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