The Story of... Aviation and postage stamps

This week's video is a rather special one: a vintage documentary from 1957 hosted by the newscaster Robert Trout, entitled The Stories Behind Postage Stamps.

One for aviation buffs as well as stamp collectors, the documentary examines how key events in aviation history have been marked and commemorated by postage stamp designs.

Just as our previous Video of the Week explored the importance of stamps to Franklin Roosevelt's presidency, stamps have also factored in the promotion and celebration of mankind's technological achievements.

This video presents the philatelic angle on such significant events as Charles Lindbergh's first flight from Chicago to St Louis, the Wright brothers' early aviation experiments and the introduction of airmail.

Here, philatelists will need no prompting as to what comes next: the first-ever airmail stamp, a 24 cents example whose design depicted a Curtis Jenny bi-plane in flight.

The first few sheets were misprinted, showing the Jenny flying upside down. For collectors, the rest is history...

When this video was made, an Inverted Jenny stamp was worth around $4,000.

But that was over half a century ago. Since then, thanks to increasing rarity and 50-odd years of inflation, a block of four Inverted Jennys was sold at Robert A Siegel auctioneers in 2005 for an incredible $2.7m.


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