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Foreign Air Mail (FAM)

Mail flown on foreign airmail contract routes, often called “F.A.M.”s by stamp collectors, include stamps, postmarks, cachets, and markings that trace the routes but also the development, expansion, and service of postal service from the United States to countries worldwide.

F.A.M.s can be organized by three periods:

Pre-World War II (October 1920 to December 1941)

World War II (December 1941 to August 1945)

Post-World War II (August 1945 until the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978)

The F.A.M. routes are numbered from 1 to 98. Routes changed over time, with legs added and deleted. Special cachets were applied for most first flights of a new or changed route. Collectors often specialize by seeking mail from a specific route, a specific country or region, or a specific airline.

To read more about F.A.M. mail, see:

Jonathan L. Johnson, Jr., George K. Sioras, and William F. Turner, eds., “Foreign Contract Air Mail Routes (F.A.M.)” in American Air Mail Catalogue: A Priced Catalogue and Reference Listing of the Airposts of the World, 6th edition, volume 3 (N.Y.: American Air Mail Society, 2004).

Cheryl R. Ganz, National Postal Museum