Arnold H. Warren, in his article "The Rare Baguio - USA Initial Flight Covers" published in the 1938 Vol 1, No. 2 of the Air Mail Digest, stated that the Manila Post Office placed on sale The 1935 P.I. - U.S. INITIAL FLIGHT stamps that Scott catalogue list as #C52-53 and December 2, 1935 as the first day of issue. Warren further stated that the sale of the stamps was withdrawn on the morning of November 30. When the article was written, Warren believed that  his Baguio to U.S. cover, postmarked November 30, is the earliest known cover franked with the "P.I. - U.S. INITIAL FLIGHT" airmail stamps and that November 27, 1935 as the first day of issue of the stamps (no official records to support this).


Figure 1 is the famous Warren cover with steel BAGUIO / MOUNTAIN P.I. / NOV 30 1935 12M postmark on B/4 of the "P.I. - U.S. INITIAL FLIGHT" airmail stamps.  On verso is boxed-in "REGISTERED" marking. The cover, addressed to Washington, was received in Manila on December 1 per double circle purple Manila Post Office backstamp and in Washington on December 10.

Figure 2

Figure 2 is a cover also carried by the China Clipper on December 2 but postmarked CORREGIDOR / CAVITE P.I. / NOV 1935 / 30 / 11AM. It seems that from the above two examples that Warren's belief that NOVEMBER 30 is the earliest known cover franked with the "P.I. - U.S. INITIAL FLIGHT" airmail stamps was correct at the time the article was written.

If my memory serves me right, Mario Que wrote an article on the conflicting dates of issue of the P.I. - U.S. INITIAL FLIGHT airmail stamps. In that article he reported having acquired a cover postmarked November 26, which I personally believed is the earliest known usage of the stamps. Several covers, postmarked November 27, have surfaced in the past couple of years. Majority of the covers bear the Malacañag Palace corner card and signed by Frank Murphy, the High Commissioner to the Philippines, and / or Manuel L. Quezon. I have yet to see a cover
earlier than what Mario Que has.

So what date should be considered as the first day of issue: November 26, 27, or 30 or December 2? As a postal history collector, I will continue to abide with postmarks and on this matter,  November 26 as official first day of issue. The cover in the Que collection  is signed by Frank Murphy. Evidently, the Bureau of Posts made covers for high ranking government officials one day before the stamps were supposed to have been placed on sale per Warren's report. There is a possibility that the stamps were put on sale on November 26 and not November 27 as Warren reported. 

I have seen a similar covers, this time signed by Murphy and Quezon and Sergio Osmeña, postmarked on November 26 and 27. There is no doubt in my mind that the postmarks and signatures are genuine. Being so, November 26 should be the official first date of issue.

December 2 is the recognized date simply because the China Clipper left Manila on this date. Majority of the covers bear this date because this was meant to be by the post office. Simply put, the Bureau of Posts sold the stamps starting November 26 or 27 (Tuesday or Wednesday) to give the collectors time to prepare commemorative covers. Naturally the sale of the stamps was withdrawn by noon of November 30, a Saturday, which is a half working day only. 
This gave  the post office ample time to cancel in advance the covers with the December 2 date and time ranging from 5:30Am to 9:00AM. 

Per official records, the China Clipper left Manila on December 2, Monday, at about  2:50 AM. The time appearing on the commemorative covers and actual departure time conflict with each other. How can covers be postmarked on December at 5:30Am to 9:00AM and still be carried by the China Clipper when it left Manila hours before?

In one of Manila Auctions sale, it offered a cover with a Manila registry postmark of November 30 on the verso and the December 2 flight cachet on front. This particular cover was canceled because as a registered letter, it required the proper numbering in order to be properly recorded in the registry books. Regrettably, I do not have an image of this cover. 

This issue has been well written in the past. Yet, no one has taken the time to have the December 2 1935 date, as recorded by Scott and other catalogue makers, amended.

Now is the time to do so!

I am therefore asking all Philippine collectors who agree to the proposal to change the first day of issue date from December 2, 1935 to November 26, 1935 to send an email indicating the following: Your name and complete address and your explicit approval of the change. I will then gather all your communications and present it to Scott.

Its so easy. The "COMMUNICATE!" button on the bottom of this page.