What Are Airmail Stamps? (Meaning, Value + More)

Fans may know the iconic American airmail stamp. And they may also know that they flew over the Atlantic and that airmail letters were flown from the States to Europe and then delivered by plane to the recipient in their country.

The United States Postal Service did consider airmail letters to be a special category of mail and charged extra for this service. Today, almost all domestic and international mail travels by plane and airmail has also died out. If you’re still curious about the history of airmail, I’ve researched it!

What Are Airmail Stamps?

Many of the Airmail stamps still in use today are simply the normal stamps. In contrast, the other more special-purpose stamps in use at the time of the Air Mail Act of 1924 were the commemorative stamps, specially designed stamps usually for use only domestically and used to honor and commemorate many people and events.

If you’re interested in more information about airmail service and stamps, make sure to read the rest of my research!

What Is USPS’ Airmail Service?

Airmail started in the early 20th century after a successful trial conducted in 1920.

The USPS was required to merge the airmail and surface mail services in 1975. There are still a lot of people who get mail delivered by letter carriers and don’t realize that mail can also be sent by a service that will be delivered the next day.

Further, this mail transport service was marketed and sold on the basis that the mail would be delivered to and taken by an air carrier.

– the airmail prices were often much higher due to the costs involved in sending mail by air.
– The airmail costs were often hidden, due to the fact that sending mail by air generally required a higher shipping cost than the actual price of the item.

Postal authorities issued special envelopes and stamps for those who wish to purchase airmail service.

Mail services are categorized by destination with mail carriers, where each carrier is responsible for a certain destination.

Does Airmail Still Exist?

Airmail is a service that delivers all mail by air with minimal transit time, and is often used for bulk mail.

But, the US Postal Service would like to see domestic intercity First-Class mail transported by air whenever possible and cost-effective.

Mail went by air now, and airmail was merged into the general passenger mail class so that airmail rate was included in the air fares. This meant that letter rate was no longer differentiated by weight.

Additionally, U.S. Postmaster General James A. Baker III and the USPS’ former CEO Ron Donahue (1999-2006) were criticized by the Postal Service’s current CFO’s office for the USPS’ failure to adequately communicate with Congress and the public about the proposed privatization plan.

At that point, the US Postal Service announced that they would no longer be printing the word ‘airmail’ on any of their stamps.

The US Postal Service (USPS) still ships a great deal of mail via air transportation. While mail sent by air was treated as a separate service in the past, it’s still alive and well.

You may be able to save money by paying to have letters and packages shipped by air at USPS Global Express Guaranteed.

How Fast Is USPS Airmail?

While a package sent by postal mail might seem expensive, there’s a little something called the Postal Service that makes it really affordable. After all, what would you say would happen if all the mail got lost in the mail? That’s right, it’d suck to not get a package you ordered.

And now we’ll learn more about delivery times and costs for the United States Postal Service, and why Priority Mail Express is not a good idea.

International packages are delivered three to five business days, while international letters are delivered six to ten business days.

When Did USPS Stop Making Airmail Stamps?

The term “airmail” is now a relic from the past.

The USPS introduced the Air Mail seal on December 31, 1953.

It was produced in 1995. However, it had nothing to do with airmail. This stamp covered the cost of having the mail sent to other countries.

Starting in 1995, all mail was transported by plane and the production of specific Airmail stamps dropped off.

Are Airmail Stamps Still Used Today?

Unfortunately, the United States Postal Service no longer provides airmail stamps. But if you have old airmail stamps lying around, you can use them as long as you buy additional postage to cover the postage rate.

The exceptions to this rule are stamps that issue from a territory: American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Northern Marianas Islands and Midway Islands. They are not valid for postage in the United States nor are they valid for mail to or from those territories.

Those which may not be used on first class mail, those which are issued from the wrong post office, those which are issued from a foreign post office and any stamps which are not properly stamped.

How Much Is An Airmail Stamp Worth?

Airmail stamps are denominational stamps, meaning their value is printed on the stamp. So, the amount is printed in the stamp and is the same regardless of how old the stamp is or when you use it.

What Are Airmail Etiquettes?

The Airmail stamps, although not as highly valued compared to the airmail etiquettes, are still very valuable.

Although these stamps cost more than other stamps, they are usually used to send mail by air.
Like other stamps featuring aviation themes, these stamps had designs with themes related to air transport.
The Airmail stamps of the 19th and early 20th centuries usually featured depictions of the airplane and the mail delivery process.

For your records, “airmail” comes from the French term envoi à main courante.

These were blue stickers with white words on them. They contained a logo that said “AirMail” or “Par Avion” in white letters on a blue background.

The stickers did not have any monetary value and were only used to instruct postal clerks how to handle the mail.

This means that there are a large number of different stamps produced privately and not for official use.

This is a very smart move because it lets the writer skip the expensive postage.

The use of airmail became popular in many countries all over the world since it was one of the cheapest ways to send a letter.

But in today’s world the USPS does not actually honor their own policy.
There have also been cases where the USPS has mistakenly sent international First Class letters as domestic First Class.

As you are probably aware, pre-printed airmail etiquettes are used as a visual indication of what type of mail a piece of mail is. If you look at all your mail, you will likely see some with pre-printed etiquettes when you first open the mail. If you see a green etiquette on the piece of mail, then that means the original item was sent by USPS.

USPS has a lot of useful information on their website, including the USPS website postal codes, USPS and foreign stamps, USPS stamp types, and USPS Purple Heart Forever stamps.


Airmail is gone but the Postal Service lives on. You can now order something from anywhere in the world in under a week.

That’s right. It’s much more convenient to just ship things the way you want, by using a service that already knows what you want, when you want it, and where you want it delivered.

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I have always been a shopaholic. A lot of times my questions went unanswered when it came to retail questions, so I started Talk Radio News. - Caitlyn Johnson

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