Female aviation pioneer flies into stamp exhibition

Here's another quick look at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum's ongoing four-part online exhibition of "Women on stamps".

As we previously reported, the continuing Third and Fourth parts of the expo feature women who made historic and significant contributions to literature and the arts.

Naturally, the stamps' subjects include many famous faces - among them Wizard of Oz star Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

But collectors of aviation memorabilia may be interested to see this rare philatelic specimen bearing the likeness of Harriet Quimby, the early American aviator and movie screenwriter.

Quimby was the first woman to gain a pilot license in the United States, in 1911, and was later the first woman to fly across the English Channel.

A stamp featuring Harriet Quimby, the pioneering female aviator

This Harriet Quimby Airmail stamp offers a fascinating period depiction of her influence - yet it is just one of many key events in aviation history which have been marked and commemorated by postage stamp designs.

Significant events, such as Charles Lindbergh's first flight from Chicago to St Louis, the Wright brothers' early aviation experiments and the introduction of airmail, have each been commemorated by stamps.

Of course, most famous among these is the notorious misprint of the stamp which commemorated the latter: the 24 cents stamp depicting a Curtis Jenny bi-plane in flight.

In 2005, a block of four of these misprints - better known to philatelists around the world as Inverted Jennys - sold at Robert A Siegel auctioneers for a staggering $2.7m.

And, in a recent Paul Fraser Collectibles newsletter, we unearthed a fascinating vintage documentary from 1957 exploring the shared history of aviation and postage stamps.

You can click here to watch the film.

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