A Postal History Gallery of Related Events


To the North Pole From Underneath


Nuclear submarines conducted surveys under the polar ice cap in 1958 with the USS SKATE surfacing seven times within forty miles of the North Pole.

The submarine did not carry a postal canceler and their improvised cruise marking was accepted by the post office. The cachet was prepared by the American Society of Polar Philatelists for the cruise.


Submarine Polar Basin Studies


Conventional submarines like the USS HALFBEAK were restricted to activities on the edge of the pack during under-ice activities.

The USS HALFBEAK did not have postal ficilities and all mail was delivered to the post office in New York upon arrival. The cachet was prepared for the US Navy by the American Society of Polar Philatelists.


Polish Spitzbergen IGY Expedition

Participation by Poland in the International Geophysical Year research during 1957-58 consisted of a station at Hornsund on the island of Spitzbergen.

Ice Island T3

Although the code name BRAVO was assigned by the Air Force to the floating Ice Island in 1958, cachets did not replace the original designation during the IGY study period seemingly in a sentimental choice. Mail and supply support continued from Thule Air Force Base.

At the end of the International Geophysical Year on December 31, 1958, the cachet used on the ice island mail was altered by cutting out "IGY". The name T3 remained. By July 1959 the island drifted into Alaskan waters and air support responsibilities were transferred to Alaskan points.


(Exhibition pieces courtesy of George Hall)