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.
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.
Hello, I recently discovered amongst my father’s stamp collection a stamped, hand-cancelled, photo postcard (not a cover) of the Hindenburg sent on it’s maiden voyage by Karl Fickes to my grandfather (an executive of General Tire in Akron). As Goodyear no longer has a museum, do you know of a… Read more »
Hi, Zeppelin covers from British Borneo (Sarawak and Brunei; 1934, 1935) are scarce. I will be grateful if one can point me to catalogues where these items are depicted. thanks. chun
What was the rate for a card in 1936 Germany to US. I have a card with 65pf but think this may be incorrect.
I sold my collection od Zeppelin envelopes and accidently included something the resembled all of the other red, round postmarks saying Sudamerika etc. Except, this one seemed to be Hermann Siegels’ personal postmark. It had his name on it and I don’t think I want to know its value because… Read more »
Have a German stamp dated 13.2.1930. Most of the franking shows… “Amerikanische-……….. Within the circular franking are “Bremen- New York”. Doubt its a Zepplin, but what is it then…plane? V. doubtful. Possibly ship? Not had any luck yet on the web, but I’m not used to this sort of search,… Read more »
Full transcript probably reads “Deutsche-Amerikanishe Seepost – Bremen-New York”. If it’s a double circle most probably the Bremen or Columbus (Europa not commissioned at that date), if single circle could be any of the other NDL or Hapag steamers serving the North Atlantic route.
Too early to be catapult mail. Ships “Bremen” and “Europa” carried a seaplane that was catapulted off the steamer about 1800 km before ship’s arrival. Thus mail was arriving about 50 hours earlier than the ship. This service started 1929 and was not operating during the winter. First 1930 catapult… Read more »
How does one obtain information on particular flights. I am interested in tracing a route and information about how many passengers, the amount of mail carried on each leg, etc.
Let me know which flight and I will be glad to provide the information.
Rio de janeiro 28-10-1832 to Freidrichhafen 3-11-1932
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… Read more »
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?
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?
This is a hard topic to research, but as best I found out the 65c was for a postcard and $1.30 on one segment of the total flight, and $2.60 carried a letter all the way. $3.90 (and aren’t we lucky they didn’t issue another stamp for that?) would cover… Read more »
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.
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.