Spain’s autogiro stamps have strong appeal
Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
The autogiro, which bears a superficial resemblance to a helicopter, was invented by Spanish aviation pioneer Juan de la Cierva. The first successful flight was made in January 1923.
Autogiros have an unpowered rotary wing mounted on a mast above the fuselage. Power is supplied by a fuselage-mounted engine and propeller. As the engine pulls or pushes the aircraft forward, air is forced upward through the rotary wing, providing lift.
La Cierva began developing the autogiro after a prototype bomber that he designed stalled and crashed during trials. This led him to seek an aircraft design that could fly at very low speeds without stalling.
Once airborne, because the rotary wing will continue to autogyrate as long as the aircraft retains some forward motion, autogiros can often land safely even if the engine quits. Because of this, la Cierva and other autogiro proponents have claimed they are the safest type of aircraft to operate.
Ironically, la Cierva was killed in the crash of a conventional KLM DC2 passenger plane after takeoff from Croydon Airfield in Croydon, England, on Dec. 9, 1936.
Spain issued the world’s first autogiro stamp in 1935. The design of this 2-peseta gray blue stamp shows a la Cierva autogiro in flight over Seville (Scott C72A). A similar dark blue 2p stamp with a re-engraved design was issued later (C72B).
These stamps are perforated gauge 11½. The stamps also exist as imperforate pairs (Scott C72Ag and C72Bc). The re-engraved stamp also exists perforated gauge 10 (C72Bd).
In addition, the re-engraved dark blue stamp (C72B) exists with private gauge 14 perforations, which are noted and valued but not listed in the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940.
These Spanish autogiro stamps have strong appeal for aircraft topical collectors.
The Scott Classic Specialized catalog values the gray blue stamp (Scott C72A) at $30 in unused, hinged condition and $60 in mint, never-hinged condition. The re-engraved stamp (C72B) is valued at 75¢ in unused, hinged condition and $2.50 in mint, never-hinged condition.
The re-engraved stamp perforated gauge 10 (Scott C72Bd) is valued at $1.50 in unused, hinged condition and $3 in mint, never-hinged condition. The re-engraved stamp with private gauge 14 perforations is valued at $9 in both unused, hinged condition and used condition.
The stamps and varieties are a good buy at or near the Scott catalog value.
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