CAG Certifies Wright Flyer Artifacts

Posted on 8/23/2019

Pieces of the wing fabric from the famous airplane were expertly conserved and then encapsulated in CAG holders.

Collectibles Authentication Guaranty™ (CAG®) has certified additional pieces of wing fabric from the Wright Flyer, perhaps the most famous airplane of all-time. Flown by the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the plane kicked off the era of powered flight in December 1903.

Long after the famous flight, a portion of the plane’s wing fabric was used to create a model of the Wright Flyer at 1:42 scale. This model was recently sold at auction but sadly broke in transit to the buyer.

The model airplane that used wing fabric pieces from the Wright Flyer. Click images to enlarge.

The buyer decided to contact CAG to see if the fabric from the broken Wright Flyer model could be salvaged and preserved. CAG, which certifies the authenticity and provenance of historic artifacts, had previously certified Wright Flyer pieces that astronaut Neil Armstrong took to the moon.

CAG carefully evaluated the model airplane to determine the best course of action. First, CAG had to safely remove the fabric from the broken model. This conservation was done through a joint effort by two CAG affiliates: Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS) and Classic Collectible Services (CCS). Founded in 2001, NCS is the world’s leading professional conservation service for collectible coins. CCS is a leader in pressing, restoration and restoration removal services for paper collectibles.

CAG cataloged and mapped the Wright Flyer Wing Fabric pieces removed from the model airplane. Click images to enlarge.

After conservation, the fabric was cataloged and mapped. It was then carefully cut into smaller pieces by the same NASA expert who had performed this task for the Armstrong Family Collection. It is common for historic fabrics to be divided so that many collectors can have a tangible connection to an important item and event. Of course, the model airplane itself contained only a small fraction of the original Wright Flyer’s fabric.

Each Wright Flyer fabric piece was encapsulated by CAG in a hard-plastic, tamper-evident holder designed for long-term preservation and protection. A CAG certification label enclosed in each holder provides a description of the item along with its unique CAG certification number. These CAG certification numbers can be entered into the free Verify CAG Certification tool at to view high-resolution images of each item.

CAG-certified Wright Flyer Wing Fabric piece, from the Otto Kallir Collection.
Click images to enlarge.

All of the Wright Flyer model pieces recently certified by CAG are pedigreed to Otto Kallir, a renowned collector of aviation history. Kallir acquired the fabric from Lester Gardner, an aviation expert to whom Orville Wright had bequeathed it.

“The Wright Flyer represents one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. Holding an artifact from this important plane brings one back in time to a moment that forever changed the world,” said Mark Salzberg, Chairman of CAG. “CAG is proud to have been selected to preserve the authenticity, provenance and legacy of these historic items.”

“We are extremely pleased with CAG’s expert conservation, attribution and encapsulation services,” says Nate Sanders at Nate D. Sanders Auctions, which submitted the Wright Flyer model to CAG. “Certification by CAG allows many more collectors to feel connected to this important artifact and event while also having the comfort that their item is genuine and accurately described.”

Nate D. Sanders Auctions will sell one of the CAG-certified Wright Flyer wing pieces later this month. To learn more or inquire about purchasing, please email [email protected].

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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