Philosateleia
Kevin Blackston
PO Box 17544
San Antonio TX 78217-0544
United States of America

By sea, by air, by sea, by air: a 14¢ American Indian solo usage

One of the most recent additions to my collection of 14¢ American Indian stamps on cover is a cover mailed from Hawaii to Germany in 1935. The envelope was postmarked in Honolulu on April 16, 1935, and dispatched from there to Berlin.

Front of cover mailed from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Berlin, Germany, with 14¢ American Indian stamp paying postage
14¢ American Indian cover mailed from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Berlin, Germany

As I imagine you’re aware, examples of the 14¢ American Indian stamp used by itself are few and far between. 14¢ simply wasn’t a common postage rate during the time the stamp was in use, and it took me a bit of time to track down exactly why that particular rate applied in this case. I did, however, eventually find the answer in U.S. International Postal Rates, 1872–1996 by Harry Beecher and Anthony Wawrukiewicz.

Beginning in 1934, the rate for a one-ounce leetter by air within the continental United States plus surface transportation to international destinations was 8¢. That amount paid for surface transportation from Hawaii, which was still a territory at that time, to the mainland; airmail across the United States to New York City; and then surface transportation again from New York to Europe.

From there, a 3¢ per half ounce surcharge was in effect for letters carried by air from France to other points within Europe. Multiply that by two for a letter weighing between a half ounce and one ounce, and you get 6¢, the remaining amount of postage paid.

In summary, 8¢ postage paid for transportation by ship from Hawaii to the mainland United States, by airplane across the country, and by ship from New York to France, and 6¢ paid for transportation by airplane from France to Germany. This is really an exceptional usage of the stamp.

Published 2020-12-25

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