Zeppelin Graf Stamps

Permanently linked to the early 20th Century, the word “zeppelin” is uniquely evocative on its own. Given that part of the novelty behind philately is how it connects us with another time and place, is it any wonder that the 1930 Graf Zeppelin is one of the most famous U.S. stamps of all time? Both rare and historic, the Graf Zeppelin has a fascinating backstory that places it at the intersection of several historical currents.

History of the Zeppelin Graf

zeppelin graf stamps

 The motives behind the release of the Graf Zeppelin stamp were complex — it was, on various levels, a commemoration of one of the most remarkable airships of the day, a goodwill gesture towards a Germany still struggling with political and economical insecurity. It was also a way for the U.S. Postal Service to capitalize on a growing interest in collectible stamps. First issued on April 19, 1930, the Graf Zeppelin was released in $0.65, $1.30 and $2.30 denominations. They were intended to be used to pay for postage on the airship’s transatlantic flights.

Unfortunately, the Great Depression put a serious dent in the collector’s market which was intended to prop up sales of the stamp. As a result, more than 90% of the initial stock was returned unsold and destroyed by the post office shortly thereafter.

Zeppelin Stamp Buyers Guides

Each of the three denominations of Graf Zeppelin stamps has a unique design. The green $0.65 stamp features the Zeppelin over the Atlantic Ocean, the brown $1.30 stamp shows the Zeppelin spanning the distance between Europe and the Americas, and the blue $2.60 stamp depicts the Zeppelin superimposed over a globe. Of these three, the blue $2.60 stamp is the rarest, with only 61,296 of one million sold.

Rarer still — and highly sought after by collectors — is mail delivered on the Graf Zeppelin run. In addition to featuring several of these rare stamps, Zeppelin mail sent on flights between May and June of 1930 received a set of cancellations and cachets that are unique in American philately.

Buy Graf Zeppelin Stamps Online

A Graf Zeppelin stamp is a unique and beautiful addition to any collection. At Apfelbaum, Inc., we always have Graf Zeppelin stamps for sale through our Stamp Store, our online Public Auctions & our Buy It Now sales.  Please contact our office for more information about upcoming sales.