Collectible ballooning books are set to swell in value

On Wednesday July 21, Dominic Winter is holding an auction of books and manuscripts entitled Printed Books & Maps, Travel, Exploration & Ballooning, Natural History, Art & Science.

For aviation fans, one section will leap out: the 26 lots on the history of ballooning, much of which pre-dates man's flight in planes ('heavier than air vehicles'). Most of these are of entry-level, but there are some very interesting works nevertheless, which would be worthy of investment.

For example: A set of books based around polar exploration includes a first UK edition of The Andree Diaries by S A Andree, 1931, which boasts a portrait frontispiece, folding maps, half-tone plates, original red cloth.

The same lot includes Andree's Story, The Complete Record of his Polar Flight, 1897, 3rd printing, pub. Viking, New York, 1931 and Andree's Balloon Expedition in Search of the North Pole, by Henri Lachambre and Alexis Machuron, New York, 1898, and a work by Roald Amundsen.

S A Andree was a Swedish scientist and explorer who tried to fly over the North Pole in a hydrogen balloon in 1897. The scheme was received enthusiastically by Sweden and back by patrons including King Oscar II and Alfred Nobel.

S A Andree's Eagle balloon crashes at the North Pole
S A Andree's Eagle balloon crashes at the North Pole
(Click to enlarge)

The expedition was a deadly failure with all three men dying. Andree was initially treated as a hero, but in recent decades his judgment and character were questioned (in a way comparable to the reassessment of Robert Scott of the Antarctic), suggesting that he should be blamed for the deaths of his companions.

Other lots include the Naval Air Service Training Manual of November 1914 and a three shelf collection of leather bound 19th century works related to ballooning.

Aviation memorabilia is a growing area of investment and it seems likely that such works will increase in value if properly preserved. The sale takes place in South Cerney, Gloucestershire.


Join our readers in 183 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today


Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock