It'll only go so far, unless....


by Jerome V. V. Kasper

Published in The AerogrammeR, May, 1997.

What is the correct rate for an aerogramme? Well.... We all know that depends on the country you send it from! Or, if you are trying to use an older one, then you may have to add addhesives if the current rate is higher. If you try to sneak in an enclosure, you may have to pay additional postage before it will reach its intended destination. Maybe you have something that MUST get thru and you choose to add adhesives to register it. For collectors in many countries, these are the major reasons for adding adhesives. For collectors in the many other countries, there is another critical question, "Where is it going?"

Aerogrammes of many countries (Australia, Denmark, Great Britain and the United States to name just a few) have always been intended for use to anywhere in the world at the single aerogramme rate. On the other hand, the postal rates for letters have almost always depended on the destination. For example, the first US aerogramme was issued on April 29, 1947, when the aerogramme rate of 10 cents paid for its delivery anywhere in the world. At that time, the lowest rate for a letter to Europe was 25 cents and the aerogramme was a real bargain.

However, let's look at the aerogrammes of Cayman Islands. The first three aerogrammes were issued on June 2, 1958. The 2 1/2 d was valid ONLY for use to Jamaica. The aerogramme states this clearly on the reverse, "THIS FORM MAY BE USED WITHOUT SURCHARGE FOR AIR MAIL TO JAMAICA ONLY." There is also the text "(TO JAMAICA ONLY)" as the second line of the tablet at the upper left (oh, "tablet" refers to the block of text and symbols located in the upper left of the front of an aerogramme.)

The 6 d states: 'THIS FORM MAY BE USED WITHOUT SURCHARGE FOR AIR MAIL TO GREAT BRITAIN AND TO COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE."

Finally, the 9 d states: "THIS FORM IS FOR USE TO DESTINATIONS OTHER THAN GREAT BRITAIN AND COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE."

Fortunately for the user, where it could go was clearly indicated on the aerogramme. The 2 1/2 d or the 6 d could be used to write elsewhere as long as adhesives were added to make up the correct rate.

Ceylon - Figure 1
Figure 1 - Ceylon




Pity the poor writer in Ceylon. In 1952, the 20-cent aerogramme was valid only to India and Pakistan. The rate to all other British Commonwealth countries was greater and Figure 1 shows a 35-cent aerogramme properly used to New Zealand. There was NO aerogramme with the proper rate to the rest of the world and the user had to add the appropriate adhesives.
Ceylon - Figure 2
Figure 2 - Ceylon




Figure 2 shows usage of the 20-cent aerogramme with 40 cents additional postage to make the 60-cent rate to the USA.
Ceylon - Figure 3
Figure 3 - Ceylon




A different user chose to add a 25-cent adhesive to the basic 35-cent aerogramme shown in Figure 3.

Ceylon - Figure 4
Figure 4 - Ceylon




The post office personnel who handled international mail had eagle eyes. Postage due markings are not uncommon on Ceylon aerogrammes. The writer of the aerogramme in Figure 4 also added 25 cents in adhesives, but to the basic 20-cent aerogramme instead. The Ceylonese personnel added the circular postage due mark for the shortage of 15 cents plus 5 cents. There is no indication that this was collected.

Ceylon - Figure 5
Figure 5 - Ceylon


The rate to British Commonwealth countries increased in 1954 to 40 cents and a new aerogramme of this rate was issued. The rate to the rest of the world was actually reduced to 50 cents, but still no aerogramme of this rate was printed. Since there was still no indication of the limited validity range, copies were sent without the additional 10 c. Figure 5 shows one such stamped 13 centimes postage due (10 c plus a 33% penalty). Note that this has the added handstamp "POSTAGE DUE 4 CENTS" added by the AMF in New York as well as two 2-cent postage due stamps.

Ethiopia - Figure 6
Figure 6 - Ethiopia




In 1954, the two Ethiopian aerogrammes had rates of 25 and 50 cents. The correct aerogramme rate to the USA was 50 cents. The 25-cent rate was for use to African countries, but the aerogramme was used to other countries. Figure 6 shows an example of a 25-cent aerogramme uprated to 50 cents to pay the rate to the USA.

Fiji - Figure 7
Figure 7 - Fiji




On June 10,1952, Fiji issued a pair of aerogrammes. The 3d was valid only for use to Australia and Oceania. The 7d was valid to the rest of the world. Figure 7 shows an example of the 3d used to England with 4 d of adhesives added to make up the difference.

Indonesia - Figure 8
Figure 8 - Indonesia


Indonesia, like many other countries, was plagued by ever-increasing postal rates. On August 1,1959. they issued three formular aerogrammes without imprinted "stamps". However, these were NOT available without the proper adhesives added prior to sale to the public. These formulars both listed and showed via maps exactly where they were intended to go.

Figure 8 shows the 1.50 R for use to Zone 1 countries, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, British North Borneo, Malaya, Portuguese Timor, Sarawak, Philippines, Burma, Thailand and Ceylon.

Indonesia - Figure 9
Figure 9 - Indonesia




Figure 9 shows the 2.25 R for use to Zone 2 countries, the rest of Asia (except South East Asia and Siberia), Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Egypt, Libya and Sudan.

Indonesia - Figure 10
Figure 10 - Indonesia




Figure 10 shows the 3.70 R for use to the rest of the world.
Nigeria - Figure 11
Figure 11 - Nigeria




In 1961, Nigeria issued a 3d aerogramme for use only within Nigeria and a 6d for use to all other countries. Figure 11 shows an example of the 3d "within Nigeria" aerogramme sent to the USA with an added 3d adhesive.
South Africa - Figure 12
Figure 12 - South Africa




South Africa first issued inland "Letter Cards" on August 1,1948. The rate of 1 1/2 d was valid for airmail within South Africa and to South West Africa, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, Nyasaland and Portuguese East Africa. The rate was increased to 2 d but the validity range was increased to include Angola, British East Africa, Madagascar, Belgian Congo, French Cameroons and French Equatorial Africa. Over the years, the rate has continued to increase. Figure 12 shows a 2 1/2 c inland aerogramme of 1963 correctly uprated to the 10 c rate to the USA.

Here is a partial listing of countries which have issued aerogrammes with destination-dependent denominations. Only one such issue is described per country, and this is not necessarily the first such issue by that country. In many cases, information about the permissable destinations is not readily available and the author will greatly appreciate any such that readers are aware of.





Books and Articles Related to Aerogrammes

Back to the The Aerogramme Home Page