On this Superbowl Sunday morning, the blog post is on the First American Rocket-Airplane Flight “stamp” cachet; it is dedicated to Andy Vics. He passed away unexpectedly earlier this week.
One of the items this life-long stamp collector sought were Rocket Mail cachets. He was a stamp club buddy and Past President of the Wilmington Philatelic Society. My thanks to Jimmy for sharing with me knowing about Andy collecting these special cachet covers and help in preparing today’s blog post. I’ll have more on Andy at the end of today’s blog.
The topic of Rocket Stamp cachets were not only in the United States and letter writers around the world may enjoy searching for any in their area too.
The First American Rocket-Airplane Flight “stamp” cachet
In today’s blog post title image it includes a scan of one such cover. I’m quoting Jimmy here about it.
“The First American / Rocket-Airplane Flight “stamp” cachet came in green and red. The round Via / Rocket / Airplane / Gloria came in several colors. Some covers were signed by the participants. The mix of all of these things produced a number of different covers to collect.”
Greenwood NJ to Hewitt NJ Feb 9 1936 rocket mail
Next, here is a Youtube video of the flight. Continuing to quote Jimmy, “As you can see it did not fly well but at least crossed the NY/NJ state line (middle of the frozen river) so they called it successful.”
This article from 2012 explains the event “The 1935 plan to use rocket airplanes to deliver US mail”
“In 1935, a wealthy, enterprising stamp dealer, 32-year-old Frido W. Kessler, came up with what seemed like a brilliant idea. He would commission a mail-carrying rocket plane, fill it with a bag of mail bearing special stamps of his own design and creation. He could then sell these unique collectibles for a premium. The scheme had already worked in Europe and he saw no reason it couldn’t work here.
Read the whole story of Kessler’s daring rocket-mail experiment, and the fate of two rockets named Gloria, below.”…
When you start looking around for more on these kind of cachets, it will be helpful navigating knowing the following distinction with terminology. Again, my thanks to Jimmy.
“The terms missile and rocket are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing although there are technical differences between the two. The big difference between the two events is that the “missile” mail was an official U S Post Office Department (it did not become the USPS until 1971) and U S Navy mail transportation experiment and the “rocket mail” was a private for profit stunt. Both events are collected but the 1959 missile mail is more popular. The missile mail was REAL mail transported in a missile by the post office. The rocket mail was just envelopes transported by rocket “across” the river, removed from the rocket and taken to the Hewitt post office for mailing. It did not become real mail until after the rocket ride.”
Before wrapping up this section, here are two articles you may enjoy for additional reading.
- Smithsonian Magazine Mail Delivery By Rocket Never Took Off, “Although the Postmaster General was on board with the idea of missile mail, the Navy was ultimately less interested”, by By Kat Eschner, SMITHSONIANMAG.COM, JUNE 8, 2017.
- The Postal Museum Blog, Rocket Mail by Joanna Espin, Curator.
Remembering Andy Vics
Today’s is one of those posts that is hard to put into words adequate sentiments. Andy’s willingness to tackle new technology was amazing! At age 82, he was our webmaster. I am including this from Jimmy: “Andy developed the club website in February 2011 and it was announced to the club at the March 8, 2011 meeting. He has been our one and only webmaster.” This past fall we were beginning the planning of changing it over to WordPress in 2021.
He was Wilmington Philatelic Society President for five years: April 2011 through April 2016. And was Vice President for three years April 2017 through April 2020. I’m recalling it was just four years ago this month he was on the road trip to the 25th Annual Myrtle Beach Stamp Show. And I’m especially grateful that he was so active and shared his hobby with the club! He obliterated any ideas of “age” as I thought of him at least twenty years younger! I’ll be printing off today’s post and sending to his family.
Thank you for continuing to be on this journey with me. Writing today’s post reminds me of why I encourage others to take on having a hobby. We meet some wonderful friends and learn so much. If you are not currently pursuing some kind of hobby, I’m hoping you will consider one – perhaps Stamp Collecting! See you back here on Wednesday.
Attribution & Thank you to the following mentioned today
“The 1935 plan to use rocket airplanes to deliver US mail”- Spaceart – by Ron Miller gizmodo.com, 3/06/12 2:08PM
Jimmy Jordan, Wilmington Philatelic Society
AnchoredScraps blog post, 25th Annual Myrtle Beach Stamp Show, February 12, 2017