This is an envelope that was flown on the Graf Zeppelin’s first U.S. to Germany flight. The Graf Zeppelin entered service in 1928. It was a major effort for the company, which struggled financially after theGraf Zeppelin’s death in 1917 and the war’s end. Hugo Eckner assumed the company’s control after the Graf’s death and navigated the company through a difficult period. He convinced the German government to include building a zeppelin to count toward German war reparations. Thus, the LZ-124 was constructed. Eckner personally commanded it in an historic 1924 flight and, with a great deal of publicity, turned it over to the U.S. Navy to become the U.S.S. Los Angeles. The historic flight began in Friedrichshafen, and ended in Lakehurst, NJ, a U.S. Navy station. Lakehurst was the East Coast base for zeppelin operations. The Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg landed there. The Hindenburglanded for the last time as a fireball at Lakehurst in 1937. The U.S.S. Los Angeles continued in service until 1940, partly because it ran on the much safer helium (German zeppelins were forced to use highly flammable hydrogen due to the USA’s embargo).
Today we are offering a very special zeppelin-flown envelope. It was flown aboard the LZ-127, Graf Zeppelin, on its FIRST flight from the U.S. to Germany. The envelope’s upper right corner sports a one dollar U.S. stamp and a five-cent Theodore Roosevelt stamp. It cost a total of $1.05 to send the envelope. [The equivalent cost in 2013 U. S. dollars is more than $14.00]! To the two stamps’ left is a cancellation for New York, NY on 27 October 1928 at 5:00 PM.
The envelope was addressed to a Lazar Kauerluip in Berlin. Its right upper left region features the first-flight special stamp used for the maiden voyage from the U.S. to Germany, which contains the various information listed below.
“First Flight Air Mail”
“Via Graf Zeppelin”
A profile of the Graf Zeppelin
“United States ± Germany”
Two globes depicting North America and Europe
A date stamp of 28 October 1928
In the envelope’s upper left corner, written in ink, is the information that the envelope was to travel by Air Mail/Zeppelin. The reverse features handwritten information from the sender, including his address. It also displays an inbound cancellation for Friedrichshafen dated 1 November 1928. The Graf Zeppelin carried a small post office onboard. Mail was forwarded accordingly, based on its final destination.
This is a lovely envelope from a historic flight. It would make a fine addition to a zeppelin collection.