First-Flight Cover, Hibiscus over North Pole

Articles Flight Covers

The SAS (Scandinavian Airline System) opened a polar shortcut on February 24, 1957, flying an SAS DC-7C from Copenhagen, Denmark via Anchorage, Alaska to Tokyo, Japan. This new North Pole shortcut shortened the flying time between Denmark and Japan from 50 hours to 32 hours. 

According to the SAS, “the inaugural ceremony at Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport was attended by more than 250 media representatives. Music was provided by the young bandsmen of the Tivoli Guards, who played “Over the Pole”, a tune specially written for the occasion by Danish composer O. Pedersen.” The SAS became the first airline to offer round-the-world service over the North Pole on regularly scheduled routes.

Figure 1: Front cover, Over the North Pole from Tokyo to Copenhagen

In aerophilately, most flight covers originate from one of two destinations between which the flight is being inaugurated. However, sometimes a few covers are dispatched, even from a different country, to one of the cities inaugurating the flight. Such was the case for the SAS first flight cover from Korea (Figure 1). This first flight cover/aerogramme for SAS’s historic North Pole flight was dispatched to Tokyo on Feb. 22, 1957, for the first flight on Feb. 24, 1957. The hibiscus postmark from Seoul was applied on Feb. 22, while Tokyo AP and Copenhagen were back-stamped on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, respectively (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Back-stamps at Tokyo and Copenhagen

This first flight aerogramme with a Korean hibiscus postmark might have been the first Korean cover/aerogramme to “fly over” the North Pole.


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