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The Cuban Connection

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

You can once again mail a letter from the U-S to Cuba, and vice versa. Oh, you could do
it before, but mail between the two countries had to go through another country, causing
major delays and added cost. The U-S Postal Service, as part of the Obama Administration’s
push to restore relations with Cuba, resumed direct mail service in mid-March.

Now the challenge for collectors will be to find the earliest postmark on an envelope to
or from Cuba that reflects this direct service. It began the day before it was announced.

Most long-distance mail today travels by air, but in the mid-20th century, mailers paid
extra for air mail service... and the inauguration of each new air mail route was a big
deal. There were special postmarks, and collectors and sometimes even the airlines involved
would produce envelopes with postmarks showing the envelopes had traveled the new routes.
Often, the Post Office Department would chip in with a rubber-stamped design for the left
side of the envelope.

These were called “First Flight Covers.” The designs were called “cachets.”

Chances of special postmarks or cachets for the resumption of direct mail service between
the U-S and Cuba are pretty unlikely... but you can still keep an eye out for the first mail
to make the trip in 20-16. And then you’ll have a modern-day first flight cover.

The USPS announcement.

The stamp collecting organization that includes specialists in First Flight Covers is the
American Air Mail Society.

I’m Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting,
visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com.

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