Bonhams’ Air and Space Sale is looking set to be one of the most intriguing auctions of the year so far.
Among the items on offer is a remarkable 1904 album containing photographs and annotations by Alexander Graham Bell, the Scottish inventor best known for developing the telephone.
Alexander Graham Bell was convinced tetrahedral kites were the future of flight
They show a series of experiments with tetrahedral kites, which Bell began undertaking in the 1890s.
The kites are structures made of varying shapes, constructed from triangular box kites.
Bell’s big idea was to create the optimal shape for flying, one that could be powered by an engine and used to carry a pilot and passengers.
In his annotations, he’s particularly pleased with the results of a long-tailed specimen he refers to as the Oionos.
The shape would later form the basis of the Oionos 1, a triplane he built in Nova Scotia in 1910 that ultimately failed to fly.
The album is one of very few such examples in private hands, hence its valuation of $50,000-80,000.
There’s also a 1:42 scale model of the Wright Brothers’ 1903 Flyer, featuring actual material from the original aircraft.
Orville Wright himself gifted the fabric to Leslie Gardner, editor of the journal Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering from 1916 to 1921.
Gardner later used it to construct this model.
The Wright Flyer ushered in the age of flight and memorabilia is in high demand.
This lot is expected to make around $30,000-50,000.
Check out our space and aviation selection here.
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