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Newsletter #36.5, December 5, 2002

Graf Zeppelin 1929 World Tour Commemorative

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The Graf Zeppelin ruled the uncluttered skies like no other monarch could. The sight of the silver ship gliding over head brought crowds of people streaming from their houses and into the streets. No other aircraft in history, with the possible exception of the Spirit of St. Louis, has been the focus of so much admiration by so many people.

The Graf Zeppelin was the crowning achievement in the concept of the zeppelin. Even though the Hindenburg and the Graf Zeppelin II would be technologically superior to the Graf Zeppelin, no other air ship would be so loved by nearly all the world.

Graf Zeppelin
Even with all her new design innovations and the excitement of the German people, the Graf Zeppelin was slowed by of lack of money. It had taken a plea to the German people by her designer, Dr. Eckener to raise most of the money to have her built and more arm twisting in the government to get enough to finish the ship, now he needed money to keep her flying. That money was found in the hands of an American business man and airship supporter named William Randolph Hearst.

Hearst would make a business deal with Dr. Eckener that would appeal to both the Zeppelin Company and Hearst's newspaper companies. Hearst would put up the money for a global flight of the Graf Zeppelin that would be the gain her the publicity she would need to form a solid reputation for dependability and he would get exclusive U.S. rights to the story.

Dr. Eckener, having been a journalist and writer before working for the Count Von Zeppelin, knew how to make the most of this publicity and did so at every opportunity.

The global flight would begin in Friedrichshafen and proceed to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Lakehurst would then mark as the official starting point of the journey as stipulated in the contract drawn up by Hearst. From Lakehurst back to Friedrichshafen, to Tokyo and then to San Francisco, Los Angeles and back to Lakehurst.

Although the Graf was not the first aircraft to circle the globe, it was by far the fastest. What took months for a British military heavy bomber to do, with many breakdowns and hardships, the Graf did in 12 days and 11 minutes in comfort and style with a full passenger load over much previously uncharted land. The trip was a complete success and the world, particularly the U.S., caught Zeppelin Mania.

Once safely moored at Lakehurst, Dr. Eckener was treated to a ticker-tape parade in his honor in New York City and the news papers would dub him the "Magellan of the Air".

This is a silver 1930 commemorative of the 1929 Circumnavigation
3 Reichsmarks.

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Newsletter #37
Signature Changes at Canada's Currency and Coinage Issuers...

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