Argentina '29 cover
Saint Exupéry on Stamps Argentina '95

Historic flight covers


carried and signed by Saint-Ex
Bahia Blanca - Comodoro Rivadavia, Nov. 1929

July 13, 1985, Scott 1510, perf 12×12½

Although the Scott Catalog (2003) describes the cover on this stamp as "Buenos Aires to France, 1929 St-Exupery flight", the postmark and address (and history!) show that this is not the case. It was mailed to Trelew, like the preceding cover of Oct 31, in the same handwriting. A magnified view of the postmark shows that it originated in Bahia Blanca, a route that St-Ex flew the next day, on Nov. 1

The same cover appears
on this $1 stamp
from the 2000 booklet,
"First airmail flight to Trelew"
with a clearer postmark

... In the afternoon of October 12,1929 three pilots are waiting for their friend Antoine at the northern dock of Buenos Aires harbor in Argentina. At his arrival Antoine is welcomed like a prodigal son by a broad shouldered Jean Mermoz, with his flying hair and windy red scarf; his dear friend Henri Guillaumet, with his blue eyes and boyish grin and Marcel Reine.

In this new land Antoine will face the most unusual and dramatic situations and some of them like a fairy tail, that will be perpetuated for the rest of his life, his experiences, adventures, the people and the scenery will be the inspiration to write Night Flight and the foundation of his most important book, The Little Prince.

Two days after his arrival in Buenos Aires Saint Exupery traveled 400 miles south to Bahia Blanca, the first stop on a proposed Patagonian line as the passenger of Paul Vachet, then operations manager of the Argentine company. The two man continued on, over 800 miles of desolate coastline, to Comodoro Rivadavia, a frontier town that looked to Saint Exupery like a set for Charlie Chaplins movie Gold Rush.

He no longer had to battle Moors and sandstorms in Cape Juby,Western Sahara but had exchanged them for wind and night, for airfields that were dusty in fine weather and swampy most of the time, overrun, as was at Bahia Blanca, by snakes or scorpions, illuminated at night only by storm lamps and faint triangles of gasoline flares.

During this heroic period of the new Aeropostale, the chief concerns were developing the network of routes on the continent and achieving complete air transport of mail from France to South America. As director of Aeroposta Argentina, Saint Exupery established a string of new airfields toward the Patagonia in small towns which would become famous through his book Night Flight, like Bahia Blanca, Comodoro Rivadavia, Trelew, San Julian. He then flew all the way down to Rio Gallegos in Tierra del fuego, where he established the southernmost airfield. He wanted to extend the Line to Punta Arenas, one of the southernmost towns in the world, but the Chilean authorities would not allow this extension. ...

Hannibal Brown
The Country Where The Stones Fly

The other stamps in the set

Buenos Aires to Montevideo
1917 Teodoro Fels flight - Scott 1508

Villa Dolores to Cordoba, 1929
Scott 1509

Buenos Aires to Bremerhaven
1934 Graf Zepplin flight - Scott 1511

First Antarctic flight, 1952
Scott 1512

Argentina '29 cover
Saint Exupéry on Stamps
Argentina '95