Graf Zeppelins

Issued during the Great Depression, the "Zeppelins" are one of the most popular of all US stamps and some of the most valuable stamps of the 1900s.

This set of three stamps was issued in 1930 when deflation made each of these stamps cost more than the average daily wage, sealing their fate as a poor seller.

They were removed from service after only about 2 and a half months with the vast majority of the printed stamps destroyed by the US Postal Service, thus sealing their fate as a scarce set of stamps.

This set was issued on April 19, 1930 for the May Graf Zeppelin Europe-Pan America flight, with 3 slightly different views of the airship on each stamp.

  • $0.65 Green (Scott #C13)
  • $1.30 Brown (Scott #C14)
  • $2.60 Blue (Scott #C15)

Plate Blocks and entire panes of 50 are both extremely rare with Never Hinged Plate Block sets selling for thousands of dollars and sets of sheets going for many tens of thousands.

This set harkens back to an era where flight was new and with excitement of scientific discovery and advances. Zeppelins, in particular, grabbed the public's attention - some remnants of which can still be felt today. It is easy to grow weary of the hassle of today's air travel but air travel was an absolute wonder in 1930. Humans had officially learned to fly and if I were to sum up the wonder of flight in stamps - I would pick this intricately engraved set.

Because this set was issued for mail use, there are a fair number of covers with a variety of cancels and cachets making this set a popular specialty area for many cover collectors.

For the Mint stamp collector, a set of Original Gum previously hinged stamps has a catalog value of about $1300 with Mint Never Hinged sets valued at about $2500. Providing the stamps are sound and well centered they can sell close to or even above those prices.

One thing to beware is regummed stamps. Because of the increased value of Never Hinged stamps, there are many Zepps out there that have had their original hinged gum soaked off and then reapplied to make the stamp look never hinged.

I highly recommend getting a never hinged set expertized by a third party such as APS, PSE, or PF. Even if you're comfortable and experienced it takes time to identify a regummed stamp.

1. Start with a close examination of the perforation edges looking for evidence of regumming after the stamp was separated from its original sheet

  • Crystalized Gum residue at perforation edges
  • Edge paper fibers coated

2. Reference Stamps are needed to identify expert regums by checking known good copies against the stamp in question.

Unfortunately, this is the best method to verify authenticity but msot collectors don't have an extensive enough collection to act as a comprehensive reference library - especially when getting into the gums of early US Classics and other pricey areas.

  • Oddities in uniformity or lack of uniformity of application,
  • Color and thickness of the gum

One thing you don't have to worry about when buying is reperforations. An expert reperforation may be even more difficult to detect than regumming. But Zeppelins were printed in panes of 50 with perforations on all sides. This means there were no stamps on the edges that had a straight edge.

Anyone that's ever received a certificate back with a reperf identified on an otherwise perfect stamp, you know how important apiece of knowledge this can be.

I'd love to hear from you so please let me know if you have any stories, pictures of flight mail, or any other comments about this great issue of stamp.

Return to the US Stamps page from this Graf Zeppelins page.

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.
Stamp Values for a Stamp Collection, Old Stamps and Current Rate Stamps
Stamp Values for a Stamp Collection, Old Stamps and Current Rate Stamps
Buy Stamps
Buy Stamps Online Now
Stamp Auctions - When should you sell your stamp collection through an auction?
Stamp Auctions - When should you use an auction house to sell your stamp collection?
Custom Postage Stamps - Design your own Stamp and Personalize your Mail
Custom Postage Stamps - Design your own Stamp and Personalize your Mail
Postage Stamp Picture Gallery - Photos of Early US and Worldwide Stamps
Postage Stamp Picture Gallery. Photos of Early US and Worldwide Stamps
How to Sell Stamps : Stamp Auctions, Stamp Dealers, Online Auctions, and more!
How to Sell Stamps - From selling an inherited stamp collection to becoming a stamp dealer.
US Stamps - a philatelic history of famous and rare stamps
US Stamps - a philatelic history of the famous and rare stamps of the United States.
Stamp Collecting Blog
This Stamp Collecting Blog keeps you up to date on additions to the Web site. Subscribe here!
Stamp Collecting Albums - The final destination for many stamps
Stamp Collecting Albums : The Final Destination for many Stamps.
Stamp Collecting Supplies - Albums, Pages, Tongs, etc.
Stamp Collecting Supplies - Albums, Pages, Tongs and all the supplies of the hobby
Forever Stamp Pictures
Forever Stamp Pictures - Recent Commemorative Stamp Designs
Stamp Clubs and Societies - What are they all about?
Stamp Clubs and Societies - What are they all about?
Stamp Collecting Resource SiteSearch
Stamp Collecting Resource SiteSearch - Google this site or the entire web
Stamp Collecting Links
Stamp Collecting Links
First Day Covers
First Day Covers. Collecting stamps used the first day it is released is what FDCs are all about.
US Postage Stamps : A Primer on Stamps, old and new.
US Postage Stamps - Rare stamps to modern US Postal Service issues.
Buy Stamps Tips : A How-To Guide for Collectors and Investors
Buy Stamps - How to Purchase Stamps as a Hobby or Investment
Topical Stamp Collecting
Topical Stamp Collecting is booming and with good reason!
Contact Me!
Contact Me! Enter a private message here.
Stamp Stories - Rare and Unusual with Pictures and History
Stamp Stories - Rare and Unusual with Pictures and History

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.
Custom Search


Build the finest collection with top quality US and Worldwide stamps.

Bid in quarterly auctions online or visit our stamp shop in Richmond, VA!!!


click to open in a new window

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines