A remarkable archive of documents relating to the aviation career of eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes has been sold as part of a Chicago auction that took place yesterday (November 7).
Business magnate, investor, filmmaker and philanthropist, Hughes was also one of the most influential aviators of his day. He achieved many air speed records during his career, as well as completing a record-breaking around the world flight in just 91 hours in 1938.
Selling at the top of the auction was a group of four signed airmail envelopes that were carried on Hughes' pioneering voyage, one of which had been signed by all the members of his crew. It brought $3,750.
Following closely behind was Hughes' personal notebook, which recorded in minute detail every aspect of the around the world flight. An obsessive compulsive, Hughes even recorded a number of phrases and questions in Russian should his plane have been forced to land. He also prepared welcome speeches for each of his stops.
Containing "everything one might need on an around the world flight", the book sold for $3,250. Also featuring was a collection of important documents, which Hughes was required to carry with him at all times during the flight. These sold for $1,188.
Perhaps the most unusual item in the sale was a sparkplug from the Lockheed Supra Electra that was used to complete the flight. Mounted on a display stand, the part was presented to Al Lodwick, Hughes' flight manager, "for his help in making the flight successful". It sold for $1,875, achieving a 56.2% increase on the $1,200 high estimate.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a superb selection of aviation memorabilia currently available, including two autographed menus signed by Charles Lindbergh following his own around the world flight.