Dieter Leder’s article on Lindemann and the first zeppelin onboard post office provided some very interesting details and background information (see Zeppelin Post Journal, Summer 2012 issue, «100 years ago: The first post office onboard an airship».) The illustrated cards, covers and memorabilia were stunning, I wish I have such material in my collection. Lindemann’s distinctive handwriting though reminded me of a card from my collection.
Readers familiar with my writings know that my view of zeppelin mail is that it is Gloriously Philatelic. Since little zeppelin mail was commercial and most of it saved, about the only reason we discuss it today is because of its highly collectible, complex, philatelic nature. If it was meant to be saved by the recipient when created, it is philatelic mail. If it was created as a collectible item, it is philatelic. This describes most zeppelin mail.
Catapult and zeppelin combinations are very popular among zeppelin and catapult mail collectors. And so are many other zeppelin combinations as well, i.e. zeppelin mail combined with glider mail, first flights, rocket mail or any other mail transportation service. The illustrated cover from England was flown on the 13th South America Flight in 1935 (9th flight of LZ-127 Graf Zeppelin). It is at first sight a plain zeppelin cover, but also a combination cover since six different airlines carried the cover.
Alfred Nuzinger’s article on Sieger-onboard mail from the 1930 Pan America Flight is quite fascinating - I never thought that «ordinary» Sieger mail is subject to extensive research. Lesson learned that research is not limited to the extraordinary mail.
After reading Nuzinger’s article, I cross-checked the information with the covers from my own collection and came across two things: At first I found that I have one and the same cover twice in my collection. This is a Sieger onboard dispatch from May 21, 1930 which was dropped over Praia. Both cards have the same address, postage and postmarks. And both cards come with a Sieger certificate. [READ MORE]
The good news at first: transmitted mail from Argentina flown on the 18th South America Flight 1936 of LZ-129 Hindenburg is not documented, neither at Sieger nor at Michel. But here is one cover flown. Sender of the cover was Raimund Karpinski. He was capellmeister onboard the steamer General Artigas.
Titanic was the world’s largest floating post office of its day, and Hindenburg still holds the record as the world’s largest flying post office. But what count records and superlatives? Both, Titanic and Hindenburg are today also synonyms for disasters and tragedies. The one sunk 100 years ago, the other burst into flames 75 years ago. And left of both are a few collectibles and mail pieces.
The Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington DC opened an innovative new exhibit which brings together the two marvels of transportation. Documents, artifacts, newly discovered photographs and of course salvaged mail bring the stories to life in new ways. The exhibit is organized into themes that compare and contrast the large, fast, glamorous ships: 20th-century icons, technological advancements, life onboard, mail ships and disaster. Survivor stories portray the human tragedy associated with each disaster. [READ MORE]
The illustrated picture postcard, which I bought recently with other zeppelin cards, looked inconspicuous and was not did not attract any attention. A view of the Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen - my God, how many of such images exist? Only weeks later, I took a closer look at the card and what I saw was pretty impressive.
The picture shows a clear impression «Rheinfall, Aufnahme v. Luftschiff, 29. VI. 08, L. Dürr» (tranl.: Rhine Fall, photo taken from the airship 29 June 08 L. Dürr.) The sign «L. Dürr» could only be one of engineer Ludwig Dürr. Upon closer examination of the address side, the surprise was complete. I had in front of me an autographic card by Ludwig Dürr from 30 July 1908 addressed to a priest E. Rieger at Bräunisheim near Amstetten (Wurttemberg, Germany). Dürr thanks Rieger for a letter and congratulations. A quick research in my extensive fund of the history of aeronautics and then it was clear to me that this is indeed the signature of Ludwig Dürr. [READ MORE]
The search goes on - This was the subtitle of Arthur Falk’s compendium on LZ-129 Hindenburg crash mail from the 6 May 1937 airship crash at Lakehurst, NJ. And indeed, the search still goes on and while various articles on this subject have been published since, the Arthur Falk book is still the only philatelic book on Hindenburg crash mail.
But this will change next year: On occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Hindenburg crash at Lakehurst, NJ, a new philatelic book on this crash is due. At this point, I do not want to reveal too many details, but all I can say is that this book will be a quite heavy handbook with a couple hundred pages focussing on the postal history of the crash and of course on crash mail. [READ MORE]
In March this year I participated in a stamp auction in Germany and was bidding on some airmail covers which interested me. Among these covers I noticed an official LZ-127 GRAF ZEPPELIN postcard flown on the 1933 Rome Flight. The card has a German address and is franked with the 5 Lira zeppelin stamp from Italy. I briefly want to recall that the additional fee for the 1933 Rome Flight of airship LZ-127 was Lira 3 for postcards sent to Europe and Lira 5 for covers sent to Europe. When I received my purchase from the auctioneer I was surprised to find on the reverse of the postcard various signatures.