CAG Certifies Pieces of Pioneering Airship

Posted on 11/21/2019

The LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin was a huge step forward in transatlantic travel.

Collectibles Authentication Guaranty™ (CAG®) has certified pieces from the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin, the pioneering airship that in October 1928 initiated nonstop commercial passenger service across the Atlantic Ocean. The commander of the five-day trip from southern Germany to New Jersey was Hugo Eckener, who also managed Luftschiffbau Zeppelin, the company that built the Graf Zeppelin.

The return flight to Germany carried Clara Adams, the first female ticketed passenger on a transatlantic flight. (Amelia Earhart had just months earlier become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic; she later accomplished the feat solo in 1932.)

Through her Graf Zeppelin flight and others, Adams is credited with helping make the public feel at ease with long-distance commercial air travel. Eckener presented a portion of the Graf Zeppelin to Adams as a souvenir.

CAG-certified Goldbeaters Gas Cells Skin artifact from the Graf Zeppelin, with its Clara Adams provenance included on the label.
Click images to enlarge.

The CAG certification label includes this important pedigree for the pieces of the airship, which are from the goldbeaters gas cells skin. This material held the highly flammable hydrogen that made the 776-foot-long ship lighter than air.

In the years after World War I, airplane and airship travel developed side-by-side. Initially, in the area of commercial intercontinental flights, it was the gas-filled dirigibles that led the way in the late 1920 and 1930s. The fiery Hindenburg disaster in 1937, however, spelled the end of the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin, which Germany dismantled for fighter jet parts in 1940.

“The Graf Zeppelin was a significant stepping stone to today’s highly sophisticated network of international commercial air travel,” said Mark Salzberg, Chairman of CAG. “CAG is honored to have preserved the authenticity and provenance of these important artifacts of world aviation history.”

CAG has certified pieces of other famous aircraft, including wing and propeller pieces from the Wright Flyer, the famous airplane that kicked off the era of powered manned aviation in 1903. Some of these Wright Flyer pieces were taken by Neil Armstrong to the moon in 1969; CAG preserved their provenance as part of its certification of the Armstrong Family Collection™.

After CAG cataloged the LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin skin, it was carefully cut into smaller pieces by the same NASA expert who had performed this task for the CAG-certified Wright Flyer pieces. It is common for historic fabrics to be divided so that many collectors can have a tangible connection to an important item and event.

CAG encapsulated each Graf Zeppelin piece in a hard-plastic, tamper-evident holder designed for long-term preservation and protection. Within each holder, a CAG certification label provides a description of the item along with its unique CAG certification number. These numbers can be entered into the free Verify CAG Certification tool at to view each item. High-resolution images will be available there soon.

The Graf Zeppelin material was submitted on behalf of Numismatic Financial Corporation of Winter Springs, Florida, for a client who had it in their collection for over 40 years.

About Collectibles Authentication Guaranty (CAG)

CAG works directly with collectors, estates, artists and museums to preserve the authenticity and provenance of memorabilia and estate items at the source. Memorabilia, estate items and other diverse collections benefit from CAG’s unique process, holders and expertise. With authenticity and provenance guaranteed, collectors have greater confidence, which results in a safer and more vibrant marketplace.

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