Commission for Aerophilately

    Fédération Internationale de Philatélie


Last update: January, 2020

What is Aerophilately?

Airmail as a collecting area mirrors aviation history and the airplane's impact on the world's communication systems. As airplanes gradually became faster and larger, and with the expansion of aviation in general, the possibility of sending mail by air increased accordingly. The very large volume of mail transported by air forms the basis of a fascinating and complex philatelic collecting area.

Balloon Monte cover from the 1870 Paris Siege

The world of airmail, all of which is a product of less than one century, offers the collector almost limitless choice. Much of it is yet untapped, still waiting to challenge the initiative and creativity of an airmail collector.

Airmail collectors, or aerophilatelists, come from all walks of life throughout the world. They share a passion for aviation and its effect on world-wide communication. Many were stamp collectors as children, who returned to stamp collecting in later life and chose a speciality that offered new challenges and knowledge. Others are advanced philatelists of a specified country who wished to research the postage rates and the usage of airmail covers and stamps in their specialised collection area. For all of them, airmail collecting offers great opportunities to meet fellow collectors, exhibit their collections, write about discoveries and share enthusiasm, for instance on the Internet. This is a collecting field full of fun and creative people.

The collecting areas are numerous, and you choose what and how you collect. We are giving you some ideas here, on various ways to build up an airmail collection, but remember: Use your imagination. The sky is the limit!

Collecting Areas

Rocket mail cover flown at the 1937 All India Scouts' Jamboree

If you would like to exhibit your favourite aerophilatelic material, you should be a member of a philatelic society and aim to exhibit first at a local or regional stamp exhibition near where you live. Much experience can be gained from exhibiting at this level. After you have learned more about exhibiting, you may wish to show your material at national level. Once a vermeil medal is won at a national exhibition, you may try exhibiting internationally.

Covers, stamps and other related material for your collection can be obtained from dealers' stocks at stamp exhibitions and fairs, by mail-order from established dealers, from club and public philatelic auctions, by exchange with other collectors, and through advertisements in the philatelic press. Joining an airmail society is one way of obtaining information about these sources. Most of the larger societies publish a journal for their members.






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