CAG-certified Aviation Artifacts Exceed Expectations in University Archives Auction
Posted on 11/7/2022
The Golden Age of Aviation, which took place between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II, was an era of innovation and inspiration. Airplanes literally soared to new heights and the men and women who piloted them became heroes around the globe.
Aviation artifacts connected to two legends from that era — Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart — were offered in University Archives Auction’s September 28 Rare Autographs, Manuscripts and Books sale. The items, both of which were certified by Collectibles Authentication Guaranty® (CAG®), sold for figures that exceeded the expectations of the experts at University Archives.
A swatch that flew with Lindbergh across the Atlantic
Charles Lindbergh was 20 years old in 1922 when he took his first flight lesson in a biplane in Lincoln, Nebraska. Over the next five years, he spent countless hours piloting planes in a variety of professions, from barnstormer to air mail pilot to flight instructor. At the age of 25, he piloted the Spirit of St. Louis on its historic flight from New York to Paris, a feat that made him the first man to successfully complete a solo transatlantic flight.
University Archives offered a fabric swatch from the Spirit of St. Louis that came from the archives of Lloyd M. Best, a celebrated aviation mechanic and amateur aviator who worked at the factory that built the plane. Bidding on the swatch, which was estimated to sell for $900 to $1,000, closed at $1,300. The .626” by .75” swatch was encapsulated by CAG with a special label showing a picture of a Lindbergh standing next to the famous plane.
Lindbergh’s historic transatlantic flight began in Long Island, New York, on May 20, 1927. It took Lindbergh 33 hours to cover the 3,600 miles to Le Bourget, France, which is just outside of Paris. The Spirit of St. Louis, which was built specifically for the flight, was a single engine, single seat, high-wing monoplane. The plane now resides at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
A swatch from Earhart’s iconic Lockheed Vega 5B
Five years to the day after Lindbergh began his historic transatlantic flight, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland, Canada, for a flight that would secure her status as one of the greatest pilots of all time. The solo flight, which took 15 hours to complete, propelled Earhart 2,026 miles across the Atlantic to Northern Ireland. It marked the first time that a woman had completed a solo transatlantic flight.
University Archives offered a fabric swatch from the wing of Earhart’s Lockheed Vega 5B, the aircraft which she piloted on her historic transatlantic flight. The swatch, which was expected to sell for $600 to $700, fetched $1,100 at auction. The .626” by .75” swatch was encapsulated by CAG with a special label showing an iconic picture of Earhart in her aviator’s cap.
Earhart’s Vega 5B was also the plane that she used to make her historic cross-country flight, from Los Angeles, California, to Newark, New Jersey, in August 1932. The flight, which took 19 hours and covered 2,447 miles, was the first solo, nonstop flight across the US by a woman. Earhart sold the plane to the Franklin Institute in 1933. It rests today in the Smithsonian Institution, which acquired it in 1966.
Earhart acquired a long list of flight records during her career as an aviator, including altitude and speed records. She disappeared in 1937 somewhere in the Pacific Ocean while attempting to circumnavigate the globe. Her remains were never found.
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