Pioneer Australian airmail collection hits the auction stage

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 9th September, 2016

A letter dated June 9, 1914 from the Bendigo mayor to his counterpart in Ballarat is the earliest known item flown by aeroplane in Australia.

With a catalogue estimate of $25,000, the letter is a highlight of Mossgreen’s auction of collector Tom Frommer’s Grand Prix collection of pioneer Australian airmails from 3pm Sunday September 11 at 935 High Street, Armadale.

Frommer began collecting stamps as a teenager and early on developed a passionate interest in the exploits of pioneer aviators.

He joined the major aerophilatelic societies in Australia, England and America and became friendly with the most prominent promoters of Australian aviation history – Ernie Crome and Nelson Eustis.

Frommer is the current editor of the latest edition (edition 8) of the Australian Air Mail catalogue and a member of the Australian Philatelic Order.

The letter from D. Andrew Mayor on City of Bendigo letterhead to “His Worship the Mayor of Ballaarat” was flown by aviator Maurice Guillaux in his Bleriot monoplane and was the only item carried on the flight.

The Frommer collection includes a Royal Air Force cover flown and endorsed by famous pioneer Australian aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith on his England-Australia flight October 9 to 19, 1930 and addressed to his fiancée (later wife) Mary Powell.

Kingsford Smith flew solo as part of an England-Australia air race and reached Darwin in 10 days, thereby beating Bert Hinkler’s 15-day record. He reached Sydney in 13 days and won the event.

The first ever crossing of the Pacific Ocean (USA-Australia) by Kingsford Smith and his colleagues Charles Ulm, J. Warner and K. Lyon in their aircraft the Southern Cross is commemorated in several other valuable covers.

A further important item is the England-Australian Australian Newspaper Cable Service envelope and enclosed letter of introduction for aviator Amy Johnson, dated May 5, 1930, to QANTAS managing director Hudson Fish.

Johnson was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia. 

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