LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin (Deutsches Luftschiff Zeppelin #127; Registration: D-LZ 127) was a German-built and -operated, passenger-carrying, hydrogen-filled, rigid airship which operated commercially from 1928 to 1937. When it entered commercial service in 1928, it became the first commercial passenger transatlantic flight service in the world. It was named after the German pioneer of airships, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was a count (Graf) in the German nobility. Almost every zeppelin flight carried mail, sometimes in large quantities; the covers usually received special postmarks,
The “Graf Zeppelin” made two visits to the Middle East during its career. The first took place over four days in April 1929, without landing but during which mail was dropped to the large German colony at Jaffa in Palestine (bundle of 5000 letters). Second visit was in 1931.
Below is a German map of the 1929 route (in which the Zeppelin did not land):
On 17.11.2001, the Palestinian authority issued a serie of stamps commemorating “The First Airship over the Holy Land”: the “Orient Flight” (Orientfahrt) of German airship Zeppelin LZ-127 took place between 25.03.29 and 28.03.1929 and Palestine (Haifa, Jerusalem, Jordan Valley, Lake Kinnereth) was overflown in nighttime on 26.03.1929. The stamp depicts the Zeppelin and the map route.
Special postmark found on covers flown on the Orient Flight.
items, frequently seen on the known sites of online selling or other philatelic sites:
a) Heading for Lebanon:
1929 Orient Flight cover addressed to Beirut, Lebanon, franked with 2M Eagle, tied byFriedrichshafen cds, with appropriate cachets, 26March, Er Ramle “c” drop and Beirut (29 Mar) arrival pmks
Another 1929 Orient Flight cover addressed to Beirut with same destination.
Incoming commercial Zeppelin air mail from Germany. The cover, franked 2 Mark, was sent from Friedrichshafen on 24/3/1929 by the Graf Zeppelin “ORIENTFHART” flight, arrived in Beirut on 29/3/1929 (on reverse).
Lebanon, incoming Zeppelin air mail from Germany. The post card, franked 1 Mark, was sent from Friedrichshafen on 24/3/1929 by the Graf Zeppelin “ORIENTFHART” flight, arrived in Beirut on 29/3/1929.
b) Heading for Syria
1929, Zeppelin post LZ 127 flight 1929 Cover Germany To Aleppo Syria via Ramle; Jaffa; Beyrouth. Zeppelin post from Friedrichshafen Germany (official stamp date 24.3.1929 Michel #29) to Aleppo Syria, 1929. LZ 127 flight. Franked by 2M as follows: 20pf, 40pf (damaged), 80pf (Michel #392, #395, #397) and 60pf (Michel #362). “Mit luftpost” (With Airmail) label And Confirmation stamp. Ramle Drop. On the front ER RAMLE 26.3.1929 postmark, on the back JAFFA 27.3.1929, BEYROUTH 29.3.1929 AND Arrival at ALEP 30.3.1929.
Syria, incoming Zeppelin air mail from Germany. The post card, franked 1 Mark (20 pf+80pf), was sent from Friedrichshafen on 24/3/1929 by the Graf Zeppelin “ORIENTFHART” flight. No arrival postmark but probably same routing as previous item.
Zeppelin Postcard heading for Hama, franked 1Mark ( Cooper collection ) . Notice a different red cancel :Mediterranean flight. It belongs to the second Mediterranean cruise that took place in April 29 and flew over France, Spain, Portugal and Tangier.
Leaflet distributed among the population in Palestine to warn of the arrival of the Zeppelin and the reward in case of recovered mail (1929).
Another 1929 incoming Zeppelin airmail to Lebanon from the 1. Amerikafahrt 1929 flight that left Friedrichshafen on first of August heading to New-York after a nearly disaster first attempt in May that interrupted the flight. The cover is franked on 31/07/29, arrived in New York on 05/08/29, forwarded to Beirut on 22/08/29 and handled in Ghazir on 24/08/29 to the director of the Armenian blind school.