Today we are offering a very high-quality commemorative plate for the Zeppelin ZR III. This was the internal American code for what would become the LZ 126. It was constructed in 1923-1924 and delivered personally to the U.S. Navy in October 1924 by the Zeppelin Company’s Managing Director, Hugo Eckener. It was a part of Germany’s WW I war reparations. In fact, the airship’s buildingsaved the Zeppelin Company following WW I. Upon delivery to the U.S. Navy at Lakehurst, New Jersey, the 1937 site of the Hindenburg’s(LZ 129) explosion, the LZ 126/ZR III became the U.S.S. Los Angeles. The LZ 126 was very similar in general construction to the LZ 127(Graf Zeppelin) and was built as a “passenger airship” rather than a military airship and thus permitted under the Treaty of Versailles’ terms. The Graf Zeppelin entered service in 1928. She remained in service until October 1937. Ultimately, she performed 590 flights spanning the globe, covering more than 1,000,000 miles.
Imperial Germany had three major porcelain manufacturers. KPM (Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin) was founded in 1763 and produced tableware for the Prussian royal families from Friedrich the Great forward. All Kaisers, Kings, and Princes and their spouses acquired their tableware from KPM, which undoubtedly was Germany’s best known firm. The next noted manufacturer was Meissen,which was located in Saxony. It began producing porcelain in 1710, making it the oldest German porcelain manufacturer. Meissen was famous for their plates. They specialized in producing commemorative plates that commemorated many military units and establishments in Germany. Many of their plates commemorated one hundred and two hundred years of service by specific regiments. The third noted porcelain producer was Rosenthal of Bavaria. As the youngest of the three German firms, it was founded in1879 and actually began producing porcelain pieces in 1891. [It is interesting to note that all three firms survive today and still produce top-quality tableware, figurines, and other fine porcelain items].
This marvelous Rosenthal plate measures 8 ½” in diameter. It features the ZR III/LZ 126/U.S.S. Los Angeles drifting across the Atlantic on its way to its new home in the U.S. The zeppelin, which measures 6″ in length, is highly-detailed and somewhat raised above the plate’s surface. Below her on a rolling sea a ship steams eastward toward Europe. All of this is depicted in various shades of blue, gray, and white on the plate’s obverse. The reverse features the three lines listed below.
Z. R. III”
Below that is Rosenthal of Bavaria’s hallmark. Also, two holes are drilled in the plate’s inner edge and have a wire attached to enable the plate to be hung on a wall. This is a top quality plate in excellent condition.