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Rarity and History, Yes - Value, not so much

Recently I changed the way I look at stamps. Instead of collecting for value, I decided to take another approach. Rarity alone does not mean something has a high market value. So why not collect rare or scarce items that have some historical importance?

One area of interest to me is US airmail and specifically glider mail. Items in this sub area can be scarce yet most everything is affordable. I recently acquired a cover with a cachet from the 1929 Detroit Glider Carnival. It was a very exciting time for flight and gliders were the entry path for many future pilots. The cover I found is one of 550 issued that day.

With a subscription to a newspaper archive service, I was able to download some articles and photos from that time and make some personal pages. Oh yes, the cost of the cover was $5.


  • JimsokayJimsokay Posts: 107 ✭✭✭

    That’s why many people collect, it’s a wonderful window to the past. Very nice!

  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,492 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There is such a huge quantity of historic material like this that a great collection can be built at a very reasonable price.

    I suspect that stamp collecting may one day be resurrected in a different form, with collectors using an approach like yours.

  • LeDandyLeDandy Posts: 15 ✭✭

    Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated. Can’t help but share one more from my collection. A postal card carried on the first transcontinental glider flight in 1930. About five hundred cards were carried on this segmented flight.

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,845 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Covers relating to early flights were once a very popular collecting item. I knew two collectors in particular who had collected such covers from the time they were issued until the late 1980's. Their collections were huge. I wonder what became of their collections after they passed away?

    All glory is fleeting.
  • OverdateOverdate Posts: 6,888 ✭✭✭✭✭

    (Reposting from 2017)

    A few days ago I won 21 of these on eBay. It’s a First Flight cover, inaugurating air mail service from Miami to the Panama Canal Zone, flown on a Sikorsky S38a amphibian plane piloted by none other than Charles Lindbergh on Feb. 4-6, 1929. Someone took the trouble to make dozens of covers identical to this one, each with a carefully mounted set of interesting and attractive stamps. First Flight covers had an avid collector base back in the day, and many people went to great trouble and expense to create historic and artistic covers such as this one, probably hoping that they would become more valued by collectors with the passage of time.

    I won the 21 covers for $50, or about $2.40 per cover, which is less than the value of the stamps alone. I was the only bidder.

    My Adolph A. Weinman signature :)

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,845 ✭✭✭✭✭

    First Flight covers are apparently a good example of a once popular collectible that has fallen out of favor. Air travel today is more like taking a bus but with many more headaches because of security. The people who collected cover like this have passed from the scene and no other collector has come along to take their place.

    All glory is fleeting.
  • pab1969pab1969 Posts: 1,052 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Still an attractive cover.

  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,492 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Both of the above posts are true. :)

  • LeDandyLeDandy Posts: 15 ✭✭

    Not quite true. Air travel is not like taking the bus. You have far more leg room on a bus. Also, there is one collector left (me).

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