Today in Postal History



Argentina to United States
February 19, 1930

This registered cover is a tale of the frustrations of early commercial aviation.

NYRBA (New York, Rio, Buenos Aires)* initiated service
out of Buenos Aires using the aircraft Rio de Janeiro.
On its takeoff from Porto Alegre, Brazil, it suffered storm damage.
The mail was then transferred to the aircraft Tampa.
Tampa suffered serious damage on landing at Santos, Brazil.
The mail was transferred to Rio de Janiero by car.
And this was just the first day!

On February 21, the mail, now reloaded on the aircraft Bahia, met yet another snag in Bahia, Brazil.
The airplane ran into a wall on takeoff requiring transfer of the mail to the aircraft Pernambouc.
The mail finally arrived in New York City on the 28th of February!

The stamps which franked the cover include a 5c red and 20c ultramarine
1928 San Martin (Scott 365 and 367) and two 15c light brown of the 1928 air mail series (Scott C5).


The envelope was made of the early lightweight paper favored to save weight for airmail letters.
It had an outline of an airplane with the legend "POR VIA AEREA" on the front.
There are traces of a watermark (large number) in the envelope
paper in the lower left corner (front) and lower right corner (back).

The cover has several inaugural stamps and cachets.
The blue stamp at the top identified the inagural flight.
The VIA AEREA pierced by the NYRBA arrow also designated airmail.
The cachet is marked "ARGENTINA - ESTADOS UNIDOS" at the top and NYRBA at the bottom.
There is another legend hidden by the blue bars of the envelope.

The stamps are cancelled by a CDS with this legend "Bs. AIRES H.Y.V.D. VIA AEREA ARGENTINA."
The same CDS appears twice as a backstamp.
There is also a Miami, Florida, registry backstamp indicating arrival on
February 26 and two New York registry ovals - one denoting
the arrival on February 28 and one for its arrival at the delivery station on February 29.
(This dating error appears to be a simple post office error as 1930 was not a leap year.)

The front of the cover has a numbered registry label from Buenos Aires.

*NYRBA would later be taken over under suspect circumstances by
Pan American which was interested in acquiring both their aircraft and routes.

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