by Robert Jensen

Published in The News of Hungarian Philately, October-December 2003.

Thanks to The Society for Hungarian Philately for permission to place on this website!

The First Official Aerogramme

The date of this issue was 1 September 1969 as verified by the Philatelia Hungarica cancel. The 3Ft value indicium was printed on the aero front in place of the posthorn of a formula aero. The stamp pictured two modes of travel, and airplane flying above the Elizabeth Bridge in Budapest. The designer was Ferenc Bokros.

This aero was similar to the previous formula aero which was typographed with dark blue printing on light blue, unwatermarked paper. The blue and the white peripheral slant bars were left leaning. The printing color variations or shades of blue combined with the paper color variations resulted in three distinct sub-types of this aero. The folded size and shape remained the same as the previous formula aero, 138 x 92mm.

In 1969-79 the Universal Postal Union was pressuring its members to increase the size of their aeros in order to try to stimulate their use. About the same time, some new private aeros came on the scene. These were similar to the 1960 formula aero except with slightly larger format dimensions of 163 x 115mm with right leaning slant bars. These were the first aeros to have the larger size.

Some hotels in Budapest like the Astoria Hotel and the Grand Royal gave free stationery to their guests. These items included private (envelope) aeros with the hotel logo printed on the back. Private aeros looked like formula aeros when comparing the fronts. However, the reverse side of the private aeros looked like envelopes.

Hungarys First Official Imprinted Aerogramme

Figure 1. 1969 First Official Aerogramme Depicting an Airplane over the Elizabeth Bridge in Budapest.

The Second Official Aerogramme

This aero appeared on 1 March 1972 as verified by the Philatelia Hungarica cancel. It is similar to the previous official aero except with a larger format of 163 x 115mm. Apparently, the Post Office took a cue from the maker of the previous private aero in going to the larger format. The logo of the Szentendre paper mill (initials PV and outline of a dove), which supplied the paper for this issue and others, was added to the backside of the aero. An overlay of small dark blue printing repeating the words Lčgiposta Par Avion over and over was added to cover the unprinted front and backsides of the aero. The words mean 'airmail' in Hungarian and French. Because of the dark blue printing and paper, this issue was unattractively dark for letter writing purposes.

Hungarys Second Official Aerogramme

Figure 2. 1972 Second Official Aerogramme Depicting an Airplane over the Elizabeth Bridge in Budapest.

The Third Official Aerogramme

A new type of 3Ft aero was issued on 30 January 1972 as verified by the Philatelia Hungarica cancel. It was the same physical size as the previous issue, but very different otherwise. The aero is made of greenish white watermarked paper with a darker green printing of the Lčgiposta Par Avion overlay. The watermarked paper was used for the first time with this issue.

On the front of the aero, the top bar of the return address box was left off. The edge or slant bars were moved inward from the periphery to two parallel rows near the top and 6mm apart. The were green and white right leaning bars.

On the back or rear of the aero, the Szentendre paper mill logo was moved from the left to the right side, and the edge or slant bars were moved inward to two parallel rows near the bottom, 6mm apart. Also, the Hungarian form number MSZ 4605 was eliminated.

Later in the life of the 1972 third official aerogramme, a post office guarantee was added in the 6mm blank space between the two parallel rows of slant bars. In essence, the guarantee verbiage said that the aero would be replaced by the post office if damaged or otherwise spoiled before use. Also in 1972, a formula aero was issued similar to the official aero described above but with a post horn on the front instead of an indicium. No guarantee statement was included with the purchase, and these could only be bought in post offices outside of Budapest. It was also printed on watermarked paper.

Hungarys Third Official Aerogramme

Figure 3. 1972 Third Official Aerogramme Depicting an Airplane over the Elizabeth Bridge in Budapest Printed in Green instead of Blue.

The Fourth Official Aerogramme

A new official aero was issued on 1 October 1973 as verified by the Philatelia Hungarica cancel. It was printed on unwatermarked paper and is slightly different from the previous issue. A note was added to the front of the aero requesting the user to fill in the postal code box. Also, the return address box was completed with a bar at the top.

A formula aero was issued as a companion to the above official aero; and it, too, should have been on unwatermarked paper. However, examples can be found on watermarked paper as well.

Private aeros kept pace with officials and formulas. Private aeros continued using blue printing and paper and left leaning edge slant bars. Some hotels still gave their guests stationery and envelopes. The private aeros became more elaborate with a post horn printed in the square reserved for the stamp; and, also, a printing overlay on the inside to limit viewing what was written inside.

Hungarys Third Official Aerogramme

Figure 4. 1973 Fourth Official Aerogramme Depicting an Airplane over the Elizabeth Bridge in Budapest with Boxes for the Postal Code.

The Fifth Official Aerogramme

A new official aero was introduced as of 17 October 1974. The designer of the 3Ft stamp was va Zombory. The issue commemorated the Aerofila '74 International Airmail Stamp Exhibition held in Budapest. The paper was watermarked the same as with the 1972 issue.

Reverse of Hungarys Third Aerogramme

Figure 5. 1974 Fifth Official Aerogramme Depicting the Aerofila 74 Stylized Airplane Logo. The sixth official issue utilized the same design.

The Sixth Official Aerogramme

Another separate issue related to the above event appeared on almost white, unwatermarked paper with light green printing. The paper and printing combination was so light that the address lines and the postal code boxes were difficult to see.

Reverse of Hungarys Third Aerogramme

Figure 6. The Common Reverse Side Design Utilized for the ‘Green’ Aerogrammes (Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and Eleventh Official)

The Seventh and Eight Official Aerogrammes

Entirely new aeros were issued for the 1976 International Stamp Show in Philadelphia celebrating the Bicentennial of the United States. While there were assorted postal cards, airmail envelopes, stamps and first day covers issued, there were only two major varieties of aeros.

The seventh official aerogramme reverted back to blue printing and light blue, unwatermarked paper in the large format of 160 x 113mm. The designer of the 5Ft stamp was Ad m Czigl‚nyi. The stamp design consisted of two parts. The right hand portion depicted the silhouettes of three bells and the left hand portion showed a picture of Independence Hall and a flag. The blue and white slant bars around the periphery were right leaning. The lower left side had the airmail etiquette over the return address and the postal code numbers boxes. The backside was plain showing only the right leaning peripheral slant bars. There were 9850 of these aeros printed. The first day of issue was 29 May 1976. These aeros were sold in Hungary.

Reverse of Hungarys Third Aerogramme

Figure 7. 1976 Seventh Official Aerogramme Issued for General Use in Honor of the Interphil 76 International Stamp Exhibition in Philadelphia

In addition to the indicium, the eighth official aerogramme has a view of Independence Hall with the word Interphil 76 under it. The airmail etiquette was on the lower left and the return address lines were omitted. On the right are the pre-printed words Philatelia Hungarica, Interphil '76, Booth 159, Philadelphia, PA 19105 - USA. There were 6200 of these aeros printed for sale at Interphil 76 between 29 May and 6 June 1976. In addition to the serial number, the aero could have a show cachet and a first day or show cancellation with an additional stamp. On the front and back there were left leaning blue and white slant bars along the periphery.

Hungarys Third Aerogramme

Figure 8. 1976 Eighth Official Aerogramme Issued for Sale only during the Interphil 76 International Stamp Exhibition in Philadelphia.

The Ninth Official Aerogramme

A new official aero was issued as of 15 February 1979 as per the Philatelia Hungarica cancel. The new, reduced face value 1Ft stamp was designed by J˘zsef Vertel. The stamp design showed a view of the Budapest-Ferihegy airport and the tail surface of a Mal‚v TU-154 airliner. The aero had light green printing on whitish green unwatermarked paper. However, the aero can be found also on watermarked laid paper. The folded dimensions of the aero were 160 x 113mm. On the aero's front side, the return address box was moved upward replacing the postal code instructions, which were eliminated. On the aero's back side, the guarantee wording was changed substituting two words for one. However, the meaning remained the same as before.

Hungarys Ninth Aerogramme

Figure 9. 1979 Ninth Official Aerogramme with a 1Ft Indicium Depicting a View of the Budapest-Ferihegy Airport.

The Tenth Official Aerogramme

A special aero was issued to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Italian court painter, Raphaello Santi, who lived 1483-1520. The first day cancel was dated 19 December 1983. The designer of the 8Ft-imprinted stamp was Andr s Andor.

The front side of the aero had the return address box in the upper left corner, the airmail etiquette in the middle left and the self-portrait of Raphael in the lower left with the dates 1483-1520. It was printed on glossy, white, unwatermarked paper. The folded dimensions were 162 x 114mm. The backside of the aero has Raphaello Santi's name near the top center along with reproductions of two of his paintings below. These paintings are displayed in the Museum of fine Arts in Budapest.

Copies of this aero are in short supply as only 30,000 examples were printed. The original selling price of mint copies of this aero was 23Ft each.

Hungarys Tenth Aerogramme

Reverse of Hungarys Tenth Aerogramme

Figure 11. The Raphaello Santi Commemorative Aerogramme Issued in 1983. The view of the front side is on the left, the illustrated reverse side is on the right. The face value of the indicium was 8Ft while the selling price of the aerogramme was 23Ft.

The Eleventh Official Aerogramme

The last official aerogramme was issued by Hungary on 1 November 1984. The front of the aero is the same as on the 1979 issue, light green printing on whitish green, laid watermarked paper with two parallel rows of right leaning slant bars near the top. The new 2Ft stamp design depicts a scene at the Budapest-Ferihegy airport. The dimensions of the folded aero were 162 x 113mm.

The backside of the aero is the same as that of the 1979 issue.

This issue, being the last of its kind, is also in short supply due to the lack acceptance and use by the letter writing public.

Hungarys Eleventh Aerogramme

Figure 10. 1984 Eleventh and Last Official Aerogramme with a 2Ft Indicium Depicting a View of an Airplane over the Budapest-Ferihegy

Part 1 of Bob Jensen's Article

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