Lot 1215Anzac Clipper to Honolulu, Dec. 7, 1941 -- The Day of Infamy, red and blue "Via Airmail" cover with purple "American Hard Rubber Co." corner card handstamp bearing "New York N.Y., Dec. 4 '41" Pitney Bowes meter strip of 10¢ and three 20¢ stamps paying the 70¢ per half ounce rate to Hong Kong, carried on the Anzac Clipper from San Francisco on December 6th to Honolulu arriving during the morning of the Pearl Harbor attacks, the flight was less than an hour away from Honolulu when word of the attacks was radioed and it was then diverted to Hilo, reverse with "RELEASED/BY I.C.B." (Information Control Branch) and "190" Hawaii censorship examiner backstamps struck across the sealing tape, "Honolulu, Hawaii, Feb 25, 1942" machine backstamp, purple "Return to Sender / Service Suspended" two-line handstamp struck twice, original letter foreboding of war: "…We believe that unless something unforeseen occurs, this will be sufficient to cover the merchandise, freight and insurance, including war risk, to Hong Kong…In view of the extremely tense situation that has arisen in the Far East, the American Lines have cancelled all sailings to Hongkong and it may be that all other lines will follow suit…", fresh and Very Fine.
Estimate $2,000 - 3,000.
A HISTORIC FLIGHT COVER FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO HONOLULU ON THE ANZAC CLIPPER, ARRIVING IN HAWAII LATE ENOUGH ON DECEMBER 7, 1941 FOR DIVERSION TO HILO AS THE BOMBS FELL.
Ken Lawrence has written extensively on WWII postal history and the Pearl Harbor Day flight of the Anzac Clipper. In his Linn's article, "International airmail covers recall the 'Day of Infamy' ", he writes how the Pan American Airways FAM 14 Anzac Clipper, a Boeing B-314A flying boat, registration No. NC 18611 had taken took off from San Francisco late on the afternoon of December 5 but experienced mechanical trouble 400 miles out and had to return for repairs. "After being repaired, she had been rescheduled to leave at 2 p.m. California time on Dec. 6, but the veteran pilot, Capt. H. Lanier Turner, had been granted a brief postponement of the departure time, about half an hour, so he could attend his daughter's first piano recital at Oakland. At 8 a.m. the next morning, Anzac Clipper was less than an hour away from Honolulu when its radio officer received a coded flash warning that Pearl Harbor was under Japanese air attack. Turner's providentially late departure from San Francisco had delayed his approach just long enough to have kept his vulnerable aircraft out of harms way. Turner's "Plan A" secret instructions in the event of war rerouted Anzac Clipper to Hilo, 220 miles southwest of the combat zone. Gen. Walter C. Short, the military governor of Hawaii, had immediately declared martial law in the islands and had ordered the newly created Information Control Board, headquartered beside the Honolulu post office, to open and examine all transit and outbound civil mail."
The Anzac Clipper's mail was forwarded from Hilo to Honolulu for censorship, denoted by the handstamped RELEASED BY I.C.B. marking in black ink over the cellophane tape seal on the cover offered here. Mail to destinations in Hawaii was delivered, while flights farther west ceased. Mail to Japanese-occupied places was of course returned to sender, as was the case with the cover offered here. Mail to other places was rerouted for transatlantic transport to the destinations.