The Zeppelin flight LZ 127 from Rome was scheduled to take place on 29th and 30th May 1933. This was considered to be a very significant event. For that reason special sets of postage stamps were issued which were exclusively used for that flight only. The stamps were not only issued by Italy and San Marino but also by the Italian colonies and even Greece. A special set was issued by the Vatican but it used the Italian set in combination with its own postage stamps.
Both letters and cards were sent to Rome from different parts, by regular airmail, so that they could be received by the Zeppelin which would, in turn, forward and deliver them to various different destinations such as Germany and other European countries as well as North and South America. Generally speaking, as the bulk of the correspondence carried on that flight was absolutely huge, one may notice a host of remarkable cases of philatelic interest.
Officials in Rome did not seem to have the time required to stamp all the correspondence until the departure date (29th May) of the Zeppelin. It was for this reason that a certain part of it received a 30th May-date stamp and was sent to Friedrichshafen by rail. There again, after the arrival of the Zeppelin, and having been through the loading / unloading cargo procedure for its next destinations, the mail bags heading for South America were not opened so the correspondence did not receive an arrival date stamp. However, the bags containing correspondence for Europe were opened and stamped with the green arrival date stamp of Friedrichshafen. The bags whose destination was North America received, apart from the above mentioned date stamp, the commemorative three-line green stamp of the second Zeppelin flight of 1933. At the same time, it appears that there are cards and covers that received all postmarks of that flight without even flying with it at all! This is the part of the correspondence which was transported on 30th May from Rome to Friedrichshafen by rail and whose destination was other European countries.
Apart from the well-known three stamp set, Greece also used a commemorative red cancellation stamp and, rarely, a blue one:
27TH MAY 1933
The charge amounted to 150 drs for a card and 250 drs for a letter. Covers not having the right number of postage stamps were stamped with a special postmark:
PAR VOIE ORDINAIRE
and were sent to their destination by ground means of transport.
From Greece, there were cards and letters sent from Athens, Alexandroupoli, Patras and Iraklio. The Italians used special commemorative cancellation stamp depicting the Capitoline Wolf of Rome in different colors blue, blue-violet, marine blue, blue-grey, green and black.
There were 1,170 cards and letters carried on that Zeppelin flight. From all the countries that took part in that flight, it was only in Greece that fake covers were made (original postage stamps with fake cancellation stamps). However, apart from the set issued by the Greek Post, the Italian Post of the occupied Dodecanese, at that time, circulated a six value set with the following denominations: 3, 5, 10, 12, 15, 20L.
3L for a card to Italy or any other European country
5L for a letter to Italy or any other European country
10L for a card to South America (Brazil)
12L for a letter to South America (Brazil)
15L for a card to any other country of South America
20L for a letter to any other country of South America
There also registered envelopes, very rare indeed, with the full set on them.
1 – Registered card from Athens to Germany. The commemorative arrival postmark, Rome 29/05/33, can be seen at the back.
2 – Registered card with the full set from Alexandroupoli to Brazil (Rio de Janeiro). It has not received the Italian commemorative arrival stamp at the back
3 – A single letter from Athens to France via Barcelona (the Zeppelin on its journey from Friedrichshafen to Brazil made only two delivery drops: in Barcelona and the United States) with the full set and all the related postmarks
4 – Registered letter sent from Athens to Pernambuco – Brazil with the full set and all the related postmarks
5 – Letter from Athens to Germany with reduced charge, which was forwarded by ground means of transport and was marked with special postmarks
6 – Letter with the full set. All departure and arrival stamps are fake
7 – A card from Rhode to Italy with right airmail charge of 3L including all the commemorative cancellations (violet commemorative cancellation)
8 – Registered letter from Rhode to Germany with the correct airmail of 5L and all the related postmarks (green commemorative cancellation)
9 – Registered letter from Rhode to Germany with the correct airmail of 5L and all the related postmarks (blue-violet commemorative cancellation)
10 – Registered letter from Rhode to Bahia – Brazil with the correct airmail charge of 12L and all the related postmarks (green commemorative cancellation)
11- Registered card from Rhode to Pernambuco – Brazil with the charge of 15L (the correct charge is 10L) and all the related postmarks (green commemorative cancellation)
Registered letter from Rhode to Germany with the full set and all the related postmarks (blue-grey commemorative cancellation) This is the only cover that bears, at the back, an identical arrival date stamp to the Italian one but it is written in German. Covers with the full set are very few indeed
Enjoy your Zeppelin Flight!!!
KO for eCharta