by Robert Jensen and Csaba L. Kohalmi

Published in The News of Hungarian Philately, July-September 2004.

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

This item was printed on unwatermarked paper with a very plain design. There are left-leaning red and blue slant bars printed along the top and the bottom of the form. Additionally, there is a red line box with a post horn indicating the position for the stamp and a dark blue Légiposta / Par Avion (Airmail in Hungarian and French) indicium in the lower left corner. The form was supplied with paper strips perforated 16 along the top and the two sides to help in opening when glued.

The aerogramme was sent from Balatonkenese to New York City and was franked with a single copy of the 2Ft 5 Year Plan stamp paying the foreign letter rate of 1Ft plus the airmail surcharge of 1Ft. It was posted on 5 February 1951 and was addressed to a Mrs. Harrington, who lived on New York’s Park Avenue. Unfortunately, it was opened roughly and the perforated strips from the sides were discarded.

Specialists who collect Hungarian aeros (including the late László Hrbál) have never seen an example with this unusual format. This item also represents the earliest known used aerogramme from Hungary. It was acquired via a roundabout way on the eBay auction site from a seller in the People’s Republic of China! Examples from late 1951 / early 1952, when aerogramme usage from Hungary became more common, were produced with folded tabs along three sides for closing the item. Lines to help in writing the addresses and instructions for folding and opening were also added. All subsequent aeros from Hungary retained this format as discussed in the articles Hungarian Aerogrammes, Parts I and II, published in the July-September and October-December 2003 issues of The News. (As a footnote, the use of aerogrammes for correspondence from Hungary increased in the early 1950s as the post-World War II Hungarian refugees, who up until then resided in displaced persons camps throughout Western Europe, started to settle in the United States and Canada.)

Hungarys First Aerogramme

This formular aerogramme is the earliest known example used from Hungary. Note the perforations running along the bottom of the slant bars located at the top of the illustration creating a fold-over tab. When sealed, this tab was on the backside of the form. Similar tabs existed along the left and right sides, but these were removed upon opening. The item was mailed from Balantonkenese on 5 February 1951. Because it was posted early in the year, the authors surmise that it was prepared and issued in 1950.

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