Philatelic Cover Gems - Anglo-American Goodwill Coronation Flight 1937
While the transatlantic flight went relatively smoothly, on arriving over the UK, they got lost over London and eventually landed at Croydon Airport having first called at North Wealde airfield.
The duration of the flight was 20 hours 27 minutes, landing at Croydon at 6.37 p.m. on 10th May 1937. On board the aircraft were photographs of the Hindenburg airship disaster which had only happened a few days before and served to highlight the use of aircraft as the future for global air transporation.
Jack Lambie reportedly acquired £270 worth of the newly issued King George VI Coronation stamps from the Post Office in London to sell once they returned to the US.
On May 13th Captain Merrill flew the 'Daily Express' to Southport Sands in Lancashire where it was planned to pick up movie footage of the King's Coronation to take back on the return flight to New York. However the film footage didn't arrive in time due to adverse weather conditions meaning only photographs were taken to the US along with some 15,000 souvenir philatelic covers. The return flight departed at 21.13pm and 24 hours 22 minutes later arrived back at Floyd Bennett Field in New York on 14th May at 16.35pm EST.
Picture credit: wikipedia
The Anglo-American goodwill Coronation flight covers were originally postmarked in New York on May 8th. The GB 1½d Coronation stamps were applied on their first day of issue in England and were postmarked in London at 14.15pm May 13th 1937 before being carried back to New York on the return flight. The covers were again postmarked on May 14th at 17.00pm following their arrival back in New York.
eBay sometimes has examples of these covers to see and you can do a quick search by clicking here: Anglo-American Goodwill Coronation Flight covers.
The flown covers usually bear two cachets. A blue handstamp for the New York to London flight and a red handstamp for the return journey. A few covers were autographed by either Dick Merrill or Jack Lambie and these unsurprisingly command premium prices among collectors today.
A few covers were also produced with "Southport 6.30am" postmarks bearing both George VI and Edward VIII definitive stamps but no handstamp cachets were applied. As only around twenty of these Southport covers are believed to exist they are naturally highly prized and valued by collectors.
The legacy of the Goodwill Coronation flight was that Captain Merrill was widely judged to have proved that quick and reliable commercial transatlantic flights were a viable proposition.
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