In 1913, Germany and England began planning a joint expedition to survey New Guinea by Zeppelin. The expedition was to be consist of a joint crew, and scientists from both countries. It was to be headed by Lt Paul Graetz, who had famously been the first man to drive across Africa in an automobile.
In order to promote and help finance the expedition, a series of vignette stamps was printed beginning in July 1913. These stamps were not valid postage, but could be purchased as collectors’ items or for use with valid postage.
The Luftschiff Expedition was scheduled for 1914, but was canceled due to World War I. The vignettes therefore never made it into widespread circulation, and are considered extremely rare. Used copies are even more rare.