• Issue: June 1950
  • Designer: Otte Wallish
  • Plate no.: 1 - 6
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

The unifying theme for this airmail series is winged-creatures found in archaeological excavations; they were uncovered in ancient mosaics, synagogues, and tombs.


Three stamps in this series feature doves, a common symbol in the Ancient Near East. They appear in pairs as decoration on ancient pottery lamps and were also found in reliefs in numerous ancient synagogues.

A depiction of Noah's dove was found at Jarash (Gerasa), an ancient city in Transjordan, inhabited as early as the Neolithic period. A Hellenistic settlement was founded during the Seleucid dynasty. An Anglo-American expedition began to excavate Jarash in 1928. Uncovered beneath the foundations of a church built in 430 was the mosaic pavement of a synagogue with a Greco-Jewish inscription and representations of the animals entering Noah’s ark and various sacred objects, including a candelabrum.

Eagles from Beth She’arim

Bet She’arim, an ancient city in the Lower Galilee, was the seat of the Sanhedrin in the late second century CE. From the start of the third century it was a central burial place for Jews of Erez Israel and the Diaspora. The rock-cut catacombs used for burial for people from outside the city were set in the area’s soft limestone. Carved into the burial chamber walls are numerous decorations, many of which are religious symbols or ritual objects. The eagle appearing on the stamp was also among the decorations.

Eagles from Maresha

Maresha is an ancient city in Judah which in Hellenistic times was a Sidonian administrative center. Its Hellenistics tombs, excavated in 1902, 1925, and 1962, are decorated with representations of animals, real as well as mythological.

Ostrich from Bet Alpha

Bet Alpha is located at the foot of Mount Gilboa in the eastern Jezreel Valley. In 1929 excavations under the auspices of the Hebrew University uncovered the foundations of an ancient synagogue The synagogue measured some 16 meters by 40 meters and its entire floor was paved with mosaics. An Aramaic inscription at the entrance to the synagogue hall tells that the mosaics were made during the reign of Emperor Justin (518-527). The striking mosaics, with simple, expressive scenes are distinctive examples of Byzantine-period Jewish art.

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First Issue Airmail Stamps: Birds