Last Modified: March 25, 2004

The Aerogrammes of Iceland


Jerome V. V. Kasper

This exhibit presents a detailed study of Iceland's aerogrammes from their introduction through their discontinuance. Shown are varieties in color of overlay or imprint, type of paper, printing errors, flaws in the overlay or in the stamp, and varieties and errors of uprating meters. Also shown are numerous used examples, both without and with adhesives or meters paying the higher rates subsequent to their release.

Icelandís first imprinted aerogramme was issued October 9, 1949, the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Postal Union. Continual devaluation of the Kronur resulted in a dramatic increase in the aerogramme rate from its initial value of 60 aurar (1 Kronur = 100 aurar). During the next 8 years, four additional imprinted aerogrammes were issued. Aerogrammes were never widely accepted in Iceland and saw little usage. Due to the continuing devaluation and to this lack of interest, the sale of imprinted aerogrammes ceased in late 1962. The total quantity printed of all five issues was 251,400. The saga of the imprinted aerogrammes ended with the October 1, 1963 issue of formular aerogrammes without imprinted stamp. These were normally sold by the Post Offices with adhesives already added or metered at the correct rate.

Several months were invariably required for aerogrammes with a new rate to be printed in Oslo, Norway, and for supplies to be delivered to Reykjavik. To meet the new rates, adhesives were added by the post office or the sender, or aerogrammes were officially or privately uprated using one of several different postal meters identifiable by number. With large quantities of the fifth issue remaining in the post office when the rate increased yet again, higher denomination aerogrammes were never ordered. Three printings of the formular aerogramme were made with sales ceasing almost 30 years later.

This exhibit is organized primarily in chronological order with some overlap due to late usages of particular rates or to the uprating of early issues. The header at the top of each page identifies the issue or issues shown on the page. Items of special note are matted in blue. Included are several items previously unrecorded or recorded in quantities of fewer than ten.

The five imprinted aerogrammes with denominations, selling price, issue dates and quantities are:
#1 60 aur (75) 9 Oct 1949 18,000
#2 85 aur (100) 1 Mar 1950 29,400
#3 150 aur (175) 3 Jul 1951 39,600
#4 175 aur (200) 15 Jun 1954 50,400
#5 175 aur (200) 17 May1957 (est) 114,000

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