1930 Graf Zeppelin Issue
Issue Date: April 19, 1930
City: Washington, DC
Quantity: 61,296 to 93,536
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Flat plate printing
In 1930, a new issue of airmail stamps was announced. These three stamps were to be used exclusively on mail carried via Graf Zeppelin on its European – Pan American flights.
Because of its great success in 1928 and 1929, the Zeppelin Company planned a trip to the United States by way of Spain and South America. The Graf Zeppelin was to carry mail both ways. The Postmaster General decided to issue this series of stamps for two reasons. The first and most obvious was to cover payment for mail to be sent on the flight. And secondly, the stamps were intended as a gesture of good will toward Germany.
The 65¢ Green issue (Zeppelin over the Atlantic) paid the postage for a post card traveling via Graf Zeppelin one way. The $1.30 Brown issue (Zeppelin between Continents) paid the postage of a letter going one way. The $2.60 Blue (Zeppelin passing Globe) paid the postage on a letter going full route. (This included a trip by steamer from New York to Germany, via Spain, to South America and North America.)
Today, each one of these issues commands a high premium. There are several reasons for their value. They were intended to be used for one particular purpose, and they were only issued for a limited amount of time. Perhaps the major contributing factor to their value is the fact that all unsold quantities were destroyed! Each variety was minted in quantities over one million, but today less than 10% of the 65¢ issue is available. The percentage is even less with regard to the other two. In fact, the $2.60 Blue issue is the rarest of all U.S. Airmail stamps.