Maynard Sundman Lecture Series

The Smithsonian National Postal Museum's Maynard Sundman Lecture Series was established in 2002 through a donation by his sons, David and Donald. The Sundman lectures feature talks by authors and expert philatelists on stamps and stamp collecting.

The 20th Maynard Sundman Lecture

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Dr. Cheryl R. Ganz, President of the American Philatelic Society and Curator Emerita Smithsonian Institution

Thursday, November 2 at 4 pm ET.

Online on Zoom and in person at the National Postal Museum.

Cheryl Ganz spoke about “U.S. Zeppelin Postage Stamps.”

Everyone wants to own a set of zeppelin stamps from the 1930s. But why did the Post Office Department issue four zeppelin stamps to subsidize a German aircraft’s operations during the Great Depression? Why were the values of these stamps so high and who received all that money? How did the rates and routes change from 1930 to 1933? Why were zeppelins important to transoceanic mail service?

Attendees learned the stories about these zeppelin stamps that are so iconic to philatelists today. Dr. Ganz traced production of the issues at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing from source materials to die proofs to certified plate proofs with marginal markings. The first days of issue examples covered the various city postmarks and private cachets. Finally, she illustrated when and where Graf Zeppelin flew mail with U.S. franking and the many ways that passengers, crew, and collectors sought to create varieties.

About Cheryl Ganz

For any questions, please contact Susan Smith at

Maynard Sundman

Maynard Sundman

Maynard Sundman's love of stamp collecting began in 1927. As a child, Maynard was fascinated by these tiny bits of paper and all the history and culture they held.

At 19, Maynard started a mail-order stamp business with $400 he had saved, operating out of his parents' home in Connecticut. After serving in WWII, he founded his second firm, Littleton Stamp Company, with his wife, Fannie Kasper Sundman.

The company branched into coins for collectors in the 1950s. In 1974, the Sundman family purchased Mystic Stamp Company of Camden, New York. Maynard's son Donald is President of Mystic Stamp Company and his son David is Chairman of the Board of Littleton Coin Co., Inc. in Littleton, New Hampshire.

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Previous Lectures

The National Postal Museum gratefully acknowledges the continued support of the Mystic Stamp Company.