Zeppelin Mail

Zeppelins carried a great deal of mail, mostly because zeppelin first flight covers and other philatelic covers were prized by stamp collectors and the postal revenue from these items financed much of the cost of operating the zeppelins.

Hindenburg Covers

For information about covers from specific ships, visit:

Zeppelins were the fastest way to send mail across the ocean in their day, and so some commercial mail also exists, especially on the South Atlantic route.  LZ-127′s service to South America cut mail time from weeks to days and was especially popular among businessmen.

Hindenburg’s 2-1/2 day service was the fastest way to send mail between Europe and North America in 1936, when ocean liners took five days or more to cross the Atlantic.  Hindenburg’s irregular schedule made the service unappealing for most business uses, but no faster way to send mail existed until May, 1939, when Pan American Airways inaugurated airmail service across the North Atlantic in Boeing 314 Clipper flying boats.

Zeppelins did have mail competition across the South Atlantic beginning in 1934, when the German airline Deutsche Luft Hansa began a multi-leg airmail service between Europe and South America which crossed the Atlantic at its narrowest point, between Gambia in Africa and Natal in Brazil, offering a coordinated mail service between zeppelins and airplanes.

I welcome comments and emails, but please note that for various reasons I don’t like to offer an opinion on the value or authenticity of zeppelin covers or other items of airship memorabilia.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

william m goldberg April 21, 2013 at 11:07 am

My wife has a post card showing the Rauchsalon(sitting area) on the LZ 129 Hindenberg with two stamps one of which is the 50D with a picture of the Hindenberg on it.It was sent from the Hindenberg to her aunt and it is post marked LUFTSCIFF HINDENBERG,25.6.1936 .The post card descibes the senders view over Gatwick England,Amsterdam and down the Rhine to Frankfurt-I thought this might be of interest and obviously am questioning as to how unique it is-WMGoldberg

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Dewey October 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm

The latest English version of a Michel Zepplin catalog I can find is a 2003 copy. Has a newer edition been published and could you recommend a source?

Thanks!

Member APS

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William Bartusek August 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

I cannot find any information as to the postal rates for Zeppelin mail from the U.S. Why were there 65c, $1.30, $2.65 and 50c stamps? What rates did these pay?

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Scott Williams November 21, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I have a zeppelin cover posted from Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. Did a zeppelin land in Addis? I can find no confirming info about this. Thanks.

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Dan (Airships.net) November 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Mail was often dispatched from places not served by zeppelins; the mail was sent by traditional means to a zeppelin departure point (such as Frankfurt), from which it was dispatched across the Atlantic by zeppelin and then continued its journey to the final destination by traditional means if necessary.

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M. Wall September 18, 2009 at 11:48 am

Thanks for the information. I did not purchase the cover, and glad now that I did not. Sounds like questionable advertising. I appreciate your response.

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M. Wall June 7, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I am considering the purchase of a postal cover whose cachet pictures a drawing of the “Hindenburg” and an unidentified single engine monoplane. Above the cachet are the words “Per Airship HINDENBURG”, and beneath that the word, “Registered”. The letter is franked with three 1936 Winter Olympic stamps and a Zeppelin stamp. The letter was postmarked on April 27, 1936, at Leipzig; and addressed to a person in Brooklyn, New York. One of the markings is a red, round stamp with the words printed in a circular
format with the words, ” Deustsche Luftpost Europa Nordamerica.” My question: With a postmark of April 27, 1936, is it reasonable to assume that the letter was carried on the Hindenburg on its first flight to America? Thank you for your assistance.

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Dan (Airships.net) June 10, 2009 at 8:34 am

For various reasons, I don’t offer advice about the authenticity of value of particular items, and I could not comment on the authenticity of an item without seeing it personally. (I would also need information about the backstamps to even guess whether it was carried on a particular flight). I am sorry I cannot be of more assistance, but thank you for visiting the site and posting your comment. :-)

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Ford U. Ross August 26, 2009 at 12:20 pm

April 27th 1936 is the wrong cancellation date for a letter mailed on the First
North American Flight . That flight ocurred on May 6 – 14 , 1936 and is the flight carried cover is listed
in the American Air Mail catalog as Z-404, worth only about $30.00.
Also something else is wrong. The German Olympic stamps were not issued
until July or August 1936 and appeared on the envelopes of the August 5 to 11th flight of the Hindenburg. AAMS Cat. # Z-416 .

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Nick March 24, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Hi, I have a lot of old Zep covers and post cards from different countries (mostly Germany, Norway, Switzerland, US). The Sieger Zeppelin catalog that I have is pretty old (’92). Where can I get the most current covers and post cards catalog?
I’ going to sell the whole collection (about 200 pcs. overall) and I want to find out the latest catalog prices for the stuff I have.
Thank you,
Nick

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Dan (Airships.net) March 25, 2009 at 7:16 am

@ Nick:

You can get a more recent catalog from Hermann E. Sieger GmbH, but while these catalogs are an invaluable historical resource, and I highly recommend them for that purpose, they are not an infallible source of information about pricing, since pricing is affected by so many market factors. The best use of the catalog for pricing information is to give you a general idea of which covers are more valuable than others, in relative terms, but you can’t use the catalog to determine exactly how much a dealer or collector would pay for your collection.

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Ford U. Ross August 7, 2009 at 12:03 pm

There is another Sieger cataglog that was published in 2002, maybe
even another one. Although it is still dated it is still the best catalog
to use. Be sure and adjust your prices from the listed Euros to U.S. $$$.
Ford U. Ross member Zeppelin Collectors Club and the AAMS.
Does your collection include any flown U.S. NAVY or other BLIMP covers?
You may email me direct at zccaams@tampabay.rr.com These are not
listed in any printed catalogs.

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Ford U. Ross August 26, 2009 at 11:37 am

You will have to check with a dealer for a copy the Latest Seiger, 2001.
There is a later catalog, 2005 issue by FROST, It has their latest
prices in it but some are high. zccaams@tampabay.rr.com
Member AAMS; ZCC, etc.

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