During its operating life from 1928 to 1937, the Graf Zeppelin made 590 flights, covering more than a million miles. A total of 13,100 passengers were carried without a single injury. On these flights letters and cards from collectors from all over the world were carried. In fact, many of the flights were financed in part, and sometimes wholly, by the revenue derived from philatelic mail carried on board.

Graf Zeppelin made two visits to the Middle East. The first took place over four days in April 1929: the airship did not land, but mail was dropped to the large German colony at Jaffa in Palestine. The second flight took place in 1931, beginning on April 9 with a flight to Cairo, where the airship landed. After a brief stop the Zeppelin proceeded to Palestine before returning to Friedrichshafen on April 23, just an hour over four days after departure. The trip took 97 hours, covered 9,000 kilometres and crossed 14 countries on three continents.

Zeppelin philatelic mail is much sought-after, with some collectors making it their main or even only collecting interest. Although in general they are not difficult to find, no covers are inexpensive and some attract a heavy premium. Because all are philatelically contrived they are all in good condition and colourful and make for an interesting collection.

The Post:

John Davis Collection

Historical Introduction