World Coins

Gold Graf Zeppelin medal affordable aviation artifact

A 1929 gold LZ 127 (Graf Zeppelin) medal sold in a recent auction in Germany is an affordable way to own gold with historical value as well.

Medal images courtesy of Teutoburger Munzauktion.

The heavier-than-air ship known as the Graf Zeppelin has a famous role in early world aviation history. 

The giant German-built and -operated, passenger-carrying, hydrogen-filled rigid airship operated commercially from 1928 to 1937. 


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When it entered commercial service in 1928, the LZ 127 (Luftschiff Zeppelin No. 127) became the first commercial passenger transatlantic flight service in the world.

Letters that traveled aboard the airship, with special stamps, are well-known pieces of philatelic history, but the famous vessel was also honored on contemporary numismatic items. 

One such piece, a small gold medal issued in 1929, realized a hammer price of €220 ($249.47 U.S.) in the Dec. 6 Teutoburger Munzauction No. 120 in Germany. 

The .750 fine gold medal weighs 3.46 grams and was issued to celebrate the ship’s flight in 1929.  

The airship was named after the German pioneer of airships, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was a count (Graf) in the German nobility. 

During its operating life, the airship made 590 flights covering more than 1 million miles. 

It was designed to be operated by a crew of 36 officers and men. 

The LZ 127 was the longest rigid airship at the time of its completion and was only surpassed by the USS Akron in 1931. It was scrapped for fighter plane parts in 1940.

The gold medal shows on its obverse the count and Hugo Eckener, who captained the airship. 

The reverse shows the airship in the clouds somewhere over the sea. 

The auction house categorized the medal’s condition as Good Very Fine.  

The piece is an affordable, topical way to own gold, with a historic value as well. 

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