This is an envelope that was flown on the first flight of the Graf Zeppelin from Germany to the U.S. The Graf Zeppelin entered service in 1928. It was a major effort for the company, which struggled financially after the Graf 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, theLZ-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 Hindenburg landed 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, while the German zeppelins were forced to use highly flammable hydrogen due to the U.S.’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 Germany to the U.S. It is a deluxe envelope prepared just for the event. A yellow zeppelin that covers most of its top width is preprinted on the envelope. A special blue German stamp that was specially produced for mail flown aboard the Graf Zeppelin appears in the envelope’s upper right corner. It sports a zeppelin circling the globe, and proclaims “Deutsche Luftpost.” It mentions “Amerika” on the left and “Europa” on the right. The cost of the stamp was two Reichsmarks. The stamp is cancelled twice: once with “Friedrichshafen Bodensee Luftpost,” then with the normal postal cancellation.
Below it, a large, very elaborate, hand-stamped cancellation shows the New York skyline, including the Statue of Liberty. Within the hand cancellation we also see “Luftschiff Graf Zeppelin 1. Amerikafahrt 1929.” In the lower left corner we see the more traditional blue “Mit Luftpost – Par Avion.” To the right we see the hand-stamped cancellation where the envelope was received in New York on 5 August 1929. In the center is the large legend, “Zeppelin Mail,” which was pre printed on the envelope like the yellowzeppelin. The envelope was prepared for the collector firm of A.b.s. Roessler in East Orange, NJ. The envelope was prepared for postage stamp and first-day-cover collectors. It is a fine example of a first-day-cover. It would make a fine addition to a zeppelin collection.