Viridian’s Postcard Blog is hosting a great new blog meme – Sunday Stamps – and this week’s theme in honour of Saint Patrick’s day on 17 March is Irish or green stamps. I thought this striking emerald 15 cent US Air Mail Stamp issued in 1947 featuring the Statue of Liberty and the evocative Manhattan skyline of New York City would be a perfect fit.
Whilst it is now fully acknowledged that the reasons behind the enormous wave of Irish immigration to New York during the 19th century, when millions of Irish arrived in the US, were predominantly to escape from political or religious persecution or the devastating effects of the Great Famine, nothing symbolises more the hopes and aspirations for a better life than Bartholdi’s giant statue towering over New York Harbor.
As you’ll have gathered from the title of this post, however, the official name of this stamp and the real subject isn’t the Statue of Liberty, but instead the Lockheed Constellation – nicknamed “Connie” – the propeller-driven airliner seen flying in the sky. The development of this plane was featured quite prominently in The Aviator with a wonderful performance by Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of Howard Hughes, a major investor in the company Lockheed.
At the time of the issue of this stamp Trans World Airlines transatlantic service had just started in1946, with a New York-Paris route in a Constellation. Only a few months earlier in June 1947, TWA rival Pan American World Airways had instead opened the first ever regularly-scheduled world route with their L749 Clipper America. Strange to imagine nowadays, but the Constellation was the first pressurized airliner to be widely adopted – the age of air travel had officially begun!
Issue date: 20 August, 1947
Catalogue no: Scott #C35