Zeppelins on Poster Stamps
and other Zeppelin Cinderellas

Click on any image for a high-res version

I collect poster stamps in general, and anything related to my philatelic alphabet in particular. AND, since Z is for Zeppelin Post, I'm always on the lookout for Zeppelins on poster stamps and other Zeppelin cinderellas. They tend to be expensive, as this is a popular topic, especially in Germany, where most of them were produced, so I do not have many, but below are the ones I've been able to accumulate so far, plus some whose images I found on eBay and other sites around the www.

Charity stamps for the German Pilots Relief organization of 1916.
This organization provided assistance to widows and orphans of German WWI pilots during the war.
These stamps are part of a much larger set (examples: 1  2  3  4  ) showing various types of aircraft, including, balloons, zeppelins, and planes - one even shows a nice train (see below). They were printed with at least four different tints to the background (at least three of which are shown above), making it quite a challenge to collect them all. As far as I know these are all the the ones that show a Zeppelin.


1926 - Zeppelin-Eckener Fund

Charity stamps issued to raise money to build passenger Zeppelins after WWI.

The peace treaty Germany signed in 1918 forbade her to construct weapons, including Zeppelins, which had been mostly symbolic in the War, but nonetheless were hated by the French and English. Count Zeppelin was dead (he died in 1917), but Hugo Eckener, his successor, was determined to continue the dream. In 1926, realizing that there was no prohibition of private efforts to build Zeppelins, he appealed to the German people for funds, and they responded with enthusiasm. His campaign included souvenir postcards pins, medals, and these three souvenir stamps - 10pf red for contributions from "The German People", 5pf green for "German Women", 5pf blue for "German School Children" - and was a resounding success. The Graf Zeppelin, LZ 127, was the result, and Zeppelins were reborn.

There's a great video of film clips showing Dr. Eckener and his Zeppelin, HERE


1933 Wiener Internationale Postwertzeichen Ausstellung
Vienna International Philatelic Exhibition of 1933

This stamp was part of a set of ten stamps issued for this renowned philatelic exhibition, produced in twenty different colors (two printings of ten colors each). For a lot more about WIPA poster stamps of 1933, please visit my web page devoted to the topic - HERE.

Yes, one of those shows a train, not the Zeppelin. I don't have the reddish- orange Zepp, so for now I'm filling in with the other design. You can see all twenty colors of the train HERE. Don't expect to be able to match your own examples to these scans, there are too many variables in scanners and monitors, and some of the distinctions between the shades are too subtle, and many stamps have faded or aged in other ways, but the scans above should be helpful in sorting things out, and once you get all twenty, you will know - I have never found one I could not match to a known color first-hand. Below is an example of a block of all ten designs (click on the image for an enlargement).



Gordon Bennett, Jr. (1841-1918) was the playboy owner of the New York Herald, and founder of the International Herald Tribune. A great sportsman, he supported and established many competitions, including a yearly international balloon race, first held in 1906.

The set of 47 stamps below, to advertise the 1912 race, is a popular one. The 1914 Cazin and Rochas catalog claims they were printed in nine colors of ink on nine different papers, so that means this is only about half of the total of 81 color combinations theoretically available.

I count at least nine different ink colors in the ones shown here, and at least nine paper colors. There may be a couple of duplicates. But I think there could be more than 81 combinations in the full set.

... ...
Aside from the years of WWI, and 1931, the race was held every year until 1938, then not again until 1983, when it resumed, and has been held every year since. See www.gordonbennett.org.

For more about Bennett, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gordon_Bennett_Jr.

An amusing sidenote: Bennett's behavior was so extraordinary - he lived the life of the ultimate playboy, and was involved in multiple scandals - that until fairly recently, the Brits would say "Gordon Bennett" as an expression of surprise! More HERE

Below are cinderellas created for other Gordon Bennett Balloon Races, but none shows a zeppelin.

... ...

The pair of Polish stamps shown just below are real postage stamps, not cinderellas. Poland hosted the races in 1936, and issued this pair of overprints to commemorate the event - Scott Poland 306 and 307.



Once zeppelins became popular, commercial enterprises with no connection to balloons, flight, or anything remotely related to the airships quickly adopted zeppelins as symbols on their advertising. The stamps below advertise biscuits, chocolate, linoleum, sugar, margarine, etc.



This company manufactured the rubberized fabric used for balloon and zeppelin skins, so its use of zeppelin images is justified. It is still in business today, as a manufacturer of motorcycle tires.

Note that only two of the stamps shown here depict zeppelins/dirigibles - the rest are all non-rigid or semi-regid balloons.

(More about the Parseval balloons - here.)

One could challenge the inclusion of other items on this page. There were many other rigid, semi-rigid, and non-rigid airships built in the first decades of the twentieth century, and some of them had the same long, narrow shape as the zeppelins. I've chosen to show almost anything that looks like it could be a zeppelin, or imitative of one.



Aside from the product they sold, I don't know anything about Globin, and they seem to have no modern successor, but they sure issued some great poster stamps. The one with a zeppelin shown here was part of the set of 12 shown to the right. What shoe polish has to do with any of the activities shown I will leave to you to decide.



This stamp was issued as part of a set of ten to mark the 30th anniversary, in 1913, of Fischer Ball Bearings, Inc. (F. AG)

The company is still in business today.


These stamps all come by their zeppelins honestly, since they advertise exhibitions and air shows where a zeppelin actually appeared - or at least might have.


The Zeppelin on these is simply the Count himself, his image being used to generate funds for the company.
These all honor Count Zeppelin or his achievements


These don't fit into any of the previous categories - some are non-German, usually in connection with a visit of a Zeppelin to that country.



During WWI, in both Germany and Great Britain, poster stamps were issued by each side
to deplore the enemy's behavior (and claim blameless their own).

More about this topic on this web page about the use of atrocity propaganda on both sides during WW I


Issued in 1915 or 1916, in sheets of 40 with four designs,
'Lusitania',   'Edith Cavell',   'Kultur has passed here' and 'The Zeppelin Triumph',
with four different frame colors
(blue, brown, violet, and grey) and with 'Winox' advertisements on the reverse.

The message is that the Germans are cruel and barbaric.
(I have seen French postcards with similar themes.)

The ones I own have three different wordings of the ad on the back -

Published for charitable
and patriotic purposes by
Richmond, Surrey,

Published by
Richmond, Surrey,

Published entirely for
charitable purposes by
Richmond, Surrey

Accoring to this link "Lewis Campbell-Johnston, Chairman of Winox Ltd. Collected Propaganda and Commemorative stamps."

And as for what Winox did:

I found online a notice in the The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 10 May 1918, Page 3 saying that Winox Ltd of Richmond, Surrey, England had registered a Trade Mark for their Medicated Wine product WINOX.

Also listed in a directory of British businesses - Winox, Ltd., Makers of Winox Tonic Wine.

Also listed in the British Journal of Nursing, July 8, 1916 - "Winox Wine Food (65, London Wall,London, E.C.) is a preparation, the full formula of which is printed on every bottle, therefore in prescribing it the medical practitioner knows exactly what he is giving, and it is claimed that the formula proves that Winox.is free from any injurious drug, and that its strong tonic properties must'neutralise any reaction possibly caused by the alcohol it contains, and that for this reason it cannot induce habits of intemperance."

Below, blocks of four of all four colors:


"God punishes England" was a popular theme on German poster stamps of the era, with the Zeppelin a symbol of German technology and military might. Zeppelins turned out to be ill suited for combat, and did not figure significantly in the War. Their primary impact was symbolic, as a representative of technical superiority (to the Germans) or barbarity (to the British).

Like the Gordon Bennett stamps above, this design was produced on many different papers, and with many inks. I have seen fifteen variations so far.

(The online translator I used says "Gott Strafe England" translates "God Punishes England", but other sources translate it "May God Punish England" or just "God Punish England".)

NOTE: This phrase gave birth to the English word "strafe", meaning "to attack (ground troops or installations) by airplanes with machine-gun fire; to bombard heavily."



MATCH BOX LABELS and trading cards

Match-box labels and trading cards aren't stamps, so technically they are not cinderellas (or poster stamps), but many poster stamp collectors pursue them, because they are the same size and shape, and represent an approach to the same challenge, how to communicate a message in a very limited space.

Match box label

Match box label

Match box label

Match box label

Match box label

Match box label

Match box label

Match box label
Match box label

Tea card - front

Tea card - back


These cigarette cards show balloons, rather than dirigibles or zeppelins, but they are related, at least, so I am including them here.

Cigarette card

Cigarette card

Cigarette card

Cigarette card

Cigarette card

Cigarette card

Cigarette card

Cigarette card



As I mention at the bottom of my Z is for Zeppelin Post page, German artist and artistamp creator Uwe Bressem has produced this sheet of stamps to promote the Cargolifter venture. The airship is a blimp, rather than a dirigible, but it's probably as close as we'll get these days. If you would like to buy some of these stamps, try the artist's web site, whence you can email him to ask if they are still available. ( Looks like the venture failed, though.)



Finally, simply because I find them charming and quaint, here are scans of a set of postcard reproductions showing scenes from the early history of the Zeppelins. That's Count Ferdinand in the inset, of course, and as you will guess if you have seen my other web pages, card number 4 is my favorite, for the train!

The Zeppelin being towed from its shed

Enthusiastic greeting of the Zeppelin at Strasbourg

The Zeppelin over Mainz

The Crown Prince greets the Kaiser from the Zeppelin over Donaueschingen

The Zeppelin at Munich

The Zeppelin before its landing at Goppingen

Click here to access my web page about the 1936-1951 Poster Stamp Bulletin of the National Poster Stamp Society.


All Letter images Copyright © 1997, 2000, SF chapter of AIGA
All text Copyright © 2001, William M. Senkus

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Updated -- 03/02/2018