Hindenburg transported large amounts of mail and valuable freight in addition to providing passenger service. Hindenburg’s maiden flight to North America included 1059 kg of mail, primarily first flight covers destined for stamp collectors. Later flights between Germany and North America carried between 90 and 236 kg of mail, including commercial mail as well as philatelic items, and flights within Germany and Europe also carried philatelic mail for collectors and zeppelin enthusiasts.
Note: The “Sieger numbers” mentioned below refer to the Zeppelin Post Katalog published by the Sieger-Verlag of Lorch/Wurttemberg. The Sieger catalog is invaluable not just as a philatelic reference to zeppelin mail, but also as a historic resource, since the catalog contains a comprehensive list of all flights by German commercial zeppelins from LZ-1 through LZ-130.
First Flight to South America
First Flight to North America
Hindenburg carried its largest volume of mail (1059 kg in 60 mail sacks) on its first flight to North America. The majority of this mail was philatelic (i.e., created as souvenirs, or for stamp collectors) rather than commercial, and because of the large quantity of mail, these covers are not generally valuable unless they are unique in some way, but they are wonderful (and easy to find) souvenirs of this historic flight.
First Return Flight from North America
These covers are also relatively common, as Hindenburg carried 824 kg of mail on this flight.
Forged Hindenburg Cover
Forgeries of mail from Hindenburg’s first flight to North America are rare, because these covers are generally not valuable enough to justify forging. But a well known forgery was created in 1938 by a German stamp dealer named Julius Bock, who claimed that these covers were flown to North America and back to Germany; in fact, they never saw the inside of a zeppelin. Bock made the glaring error of franking the covers with the wrong amount of postage (.55 Rpf, a rate for printed matter that was not valid on this flight). There are also errors in the lettering of the postmarks applied to these forged covers.
Sixth North American Flight
Eight North American Flight
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.