USA : International Civil Aeronautics Conference


Issue date: 12/12/1928









The central design shows the airplane (Wright Flyer I), in left profile, used by the Wright brothers in their first successful flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on 17 December 1903. On either side of the central design are shown, on the left, the Washington Monument and, on the right, the United States Capitol Building. The first image of the Wright’s biplane on a U.S. stamp appeared on this commemorative issue.








The central design shows a modern airplane in flight (Ryan B‑5 Brougham airplane, somewhat similar to the Spirit of St. Louis - also produced by Ryan - that Charles Lindbergh had piloted from New York to Paris in 1927 for the first non-stop west-to-east transatlantic crossing) with an outline of the globe in the background. On either side of the central design are shown, on the left, the Washington Monument and, on the right, the United States Capitol Building.



Straight edge stamps, i.e. an edge without perforations.



Misperforated stamps.




Legendary New-Jersey stamp Dealer-Publisher-Cachet Maker Albert C. Roessler (1883-1952) added his own tribute to the Wright brothers by privately overprinting KITTY HAWK with N.C. inside a circle. He overprinted the stamps as a sales gimmick soon after they were issued. These overprints occasionally turn up in albums, confounding collectors who could not find information about them in mainstream postage stamp catalogues.

Inverts are also known; they are cancelled.

Roessler was careful not to try to use the overprints for postage, as Postal rules forbade the use of defaced stamps to pay postal rates.




Roessler overprint: block of 4 stamps. The upper-right stamp features a missing period after the letter C in overprint.




Plate number block of six stamps.

Two small unobtrusive staples holes in the border selvage were made to keep pads of 100 sheets together.



Corner single of the 2-cent stamp with an opened-out crease (freak pre-printing fold: the fold existed in the paper prior to the ink coming into contact with it).

The Prairie Dog plate variety may be found on the 5-cent stamp. The flaw, which resembles the outline of a small prairie dog just above the plane’s wing, has been identified as occurring on the stamp 50 of the lower-left panes from plate 19658. Because of its position on the pane, the stamp with the Prairie Dog flaw has a natural straightedge at right; these were usually promptly discarded by collectors and used for postage.



Lynden, Washington precancels.

Precancels are postage stamps that have been canceled before being used on letters or packages. Typically they are stamps cancelled with two lines, and the city and state where they were mailed.

Lynden is the second largest city in Whatcom County, Washington, United States.





5-cent – Matching plate number positions.




Small Die Proofs.



Covers cancelled during the 3-day Conference received a special green machine slogan containing the words INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AERONAUTICS CONFERENCE /  DEC 12-14, 1928. Postmark (Washington, D.C.) with dates ranging from 12 to 14 December 1928.

The aircraft in the slogan is the Wright Brothers Flyer.

The time on the postmark is usually: 9 AM; in some instances, one may find: 4 PM.


Background: This set was issued for the International Civil Aeronautics Conference called by President Coolidge for 12-14 December 1928, cancelled at a special postal station set up in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Building, Washington D.C., where the meetings were held. They also commemorated the 25th Anniversary of Wright brothers’ first flight (17 December 1903).

These stamps were the first US commemoratives to honour an aviation event and to depict airplanes. The Washington Monument made its first appearance on this set. The 2-cent stamp paid the domestic first-class letter rate, the rates to Canada and Mexico, and also one of the postage rates to Great Britain. The 5-cent stamp fulfilled the Universal Postal Union (UPU) international rate for ship letters, and the new domestic airmail letter rate for the first ounce; the 5-cent stamp was not designated as an airmail issue, but it did fulfill the reduced 1-ounce US airmail rate that went into effect on 1 August 1928.

Although both stamps in this series feature airplanes, they were regular postage stamps, not air mail stamps. But since 5-cent was the then airmail postage rate, the higher value was often used for air mail by using an approved airmail envelope or by adding the legend Via Air Mail. Being large stamps of landscape orientation, they were less popular with postage users than common stamps with portrait orientation. The design of the 2-cent red purports to be the original 1903 Wright Aeroplane, based on a photograph provided by the National Museum; however, Aero-postal Cover Expert Albert C. Roessler was quick to point out that the design was based on the later 1908 version of the Wright Airplane.

More background information on the Conference can be found by clicking on: 1928: The International Civil Aeronautics Conference.


The stamps of this issue (in particular the 2-cent carmine-rose stamp) were later reproduced on covers, as displayed hereafter.


USA - 23 April 1978 - MANPEX ‘78 stamp show in Manchester, Connecticut.

Nice  historical  event  cover  for  75th anniversary  of  the  First  Powered  Flight  by  the  Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk,  NC on  17 December  1903.  The cachet shows a colorful reproduction of USA 2-cent stamp issued for the International Civil Aviation  Conference, on a background of several aeroplanes dated back in the early 1900s (e.g. Wright Flyer I, Santos-Dumont 14-bis, Blériot XI, etc.).  Pictorial postmark “Manpex ’78 Sta” at Manchester, CT dated 23 April 1978 (Sunday).

The stamp shows Lindbergh’s Spirit of St Louis (USA stamp issued on 20 May 1977 for the 50th anniversary of Charles A. Lindbergh’s solo transatlantic flight from NY to Paris).


USA - 23 September 1978 - 75th anniversary of the first flight by the Wright Brothers.

The USA released on this occasion a set of two airmail stamps.

It is interesting to note that this cover bears the hand-stamp used in 1928 for the 25th anniversary of the first powered flight. A series of labels named Q-Sheets printed in red with different scenes of the Wright Brothers and the reproduction of US stamps honoring the Wright Brothers formed a set of at least 8 souvenir covers.


CROATIA - 17 December 2003 – Postcard - 100th Anniversary of the first flight by the Wright Brothers.


The cachet shows a reproduction in dark grey of USA 2-cent stamp issued for the International Civil Aviation Conference.


USA – 29 February 2004 - 100th Anniversary of the first flight by the Wright Brothers.

57th Clintpex Philatelic Exhibition (Clintpex ’04) organized by the Clinton Stamp Club (Clinton, CT; established in 1947). Clintpex Station cancel.