Hindenburg disaster memorabilia collection hopes to raise $1.6m


A massive collection of airship memorabilia, which includes scorched letters from the notorious Hindenburg disaster, is expected to bring more than £1m in four separate auctions.

Hindenburg disaster 1937 letter scorched
The scorched letter addressed to one of ship's youngest crew members

The collection is so vast that British businessman David Kirch once planned to build a museum for it in an old airship hangar that he owns. Kirch has since decided to sell. The collection has already raised £220,000 following an initial auction in March 2012, the profits from which Kirch has said will go to charity.

The latest sale, which will be held on July 25 in Sussex, UK, will feature numerous items from the 1937 Hindenburg disaster, in which the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire while attempting to dock with its mooring mast in New Jersey. 35 people died in the tragedy, and the crash marked the end of the airship era.

Highlighting the collection is a scorched envelope which was recovered from the charred remains of the airship. Addressed to Mr Robert Moser, one of the youngest crew members who died aboard the ship, the letter features a contemporary German stamp and is dated May 5, 1937 - just one day before the fatal accident. It is expected to make £3,000-5,000.

Also featuring will be a 64-page book, written by Arthur Falk as chairman of the Stamp Institute of America, which details all the mail known to survive from the crash up until 1976. Included in the book are several letters associated with the crash, as well as a burnt fragment of recovered paperwork from the ship's records, which push the estimate up to £800-1200.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a magnificent selection of aviation memorabilia currently available. Collectors won't want to miss this collection of Wright Brothers aviation photographs, compiled by fellow aviator Charles Rolls.



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