The Third Reich issued their first airmail definitive
postage stamps on January 21, 1934. The stamps reflect an allegorical
representation of the "symbolic rising" of the new German Empire.
The 5 Pf. through 100 Pf. denominations depict a majestic-looking eagle, flying in front of a world globe, with the sun, emblazoned with a swastika, rising behind it. At the bottom is "Deutsche Luftpost" or "German Air Postage" with the denomination numeral in the middle.
The 2 Mk. denomination depicts Otto Lilienthal (1848-1896), a human flight pioneer, who was the first person to make repeated successful glider flights.
The 3 Mk. denomination depicts
Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin (1838-1917). He was a military officer
during the German Empire, and he later became an aircraft manufacturer.
He was the founder of the Zeppelin Airship Company.
Lightly hinged mint sets of these stamps are reasonably priced. Never hinged sets are VERY expensive. Used examples of the Pfennig denominations are inexpensive.
These stamps come with both the gum ridges horizontal and with the gum ridges vertical. The ones with the vertical ridges are the more expensive of the two varieties.
A variety of the 5 Pf. comes with the bottom stamp in the sheet and the sheet margin below it being imperforate. The 20 Pf. and 25 Pf. exist with plate faults. See the Michel Spezialkatalog for details.
The Pfennig denominations were all printed in sheets of 100, and many plate numbers (HAN) were utilized for them. They are collectible as plate-number-margin singles and are all priced in the Michel Spezialkatalog.
These stamps were valid until the end of 1939. After that, definitive and commemorative postage stamp combinations could be used to pay the air postage rates.
The plane in the photo above is a Junkers JU-52 in about 1934.
These airplanes were manufactured between 1931 and 1952, and they the primary passenger and transport planes of Lufthansa, the airline that carried air mail for the German postal service. As an airliner, the Junkers JU-52 was capable of carrying seventeen passengers.
During World War II, they were also used by the German military as troop transport aircraft, and, occasionally, as bombers.
These popular, German-built aircraft of the 1930's and 1940's were purchased and used as civilian passenger and transport aircraft by 52 other countries, including the United States.
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