The brown $1.30 Graf Zeppelin stamp of 1930 depicts the German rigid airship flying westward between the continents of Europe and both South and North America. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing created plates of two hundred subjects in four panes of fifty each.
This stamp paid postcard and letter rates on the May 1930 Pan American flight from Germany to Brazil and the United States. Fees depended on the distance between stops along the route. It could also be used in combination with the 65-cent and $2.60 zeppelin stamps to fulfill rates up to $3.90.
The first day of issue for the Graf Zeppelin set was April 19, 1930 in the District of Columbia. These stamps were available on April 21 at selected post offices throughout the country. The post office withdrew them from sale on June 30, 1930, and destroyed all remaining copies. The $4.55 cost of a mint set during the Great Depression was so high that many stamp collectors could not afford to add them to their collections at that time. As a result, they are treasured today.