Top 5 aviation memorabilia

The top 5 items of aviation memorabilia are a treasure trove of delights from the early years of man-made flight.

5. Amelia Earhart Goggles


Amelia Earhart Goggles
The goggles worn by Earhart in her first crash

Amelia Earhart first captured the public's attention in 1928, after becoming the first aviatrix (yes, that is the correct term) to fly solo across the Atlantic. Fuelled by Charles Lindbergh's earlier success in 1927, Earhart was eager to make a name for herself and did just that, becoming the first woman to receive the US Distinguished Flying Cross, among numerous other awards for her superior flying skills.

These Luxor Number 6 goggles, sold in 2011 for $17,775, were worn by Earhart during her first crash in July 1921 and still bear a crack in the lens to prove it. Collectors had a chance to complete Earhart's iconic look when her flying hat sold through Heritage Auctions in 2005 for $16,730.

4. Wright Brothers first cheque

Wright Brothers First cheque
A former Paul Fraser Collectibles item


Its always nice when one of our own items makes the list, but unfortunately this one is no longer available to our customers. This is the first company cheque issued and autographed by the Wright Brothers.

The Wright brothers are often credited with inventing the first aircraft, but in fact were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing flight possible. This cheque was the first issued by the pair following the comany's change from Wright Cycle co. to Wright Brothers, a name that would change the face of aviation history forever.  

While we no longer have the first cheque signed by the brothers, we do have this fantastic cheque autographed by Orville Wright.

3. Baron von Richthofen's scarf


Baron von Richthofen scarf
One of several items taken from the baron's body

This is the silk scarf worn by Baron Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, at the time of his death in 1918. Officially credited with 80 air combat victories, Richthofen was considered one of the best German pilots of the first world war.

The scarf was worn by the baron when he was hit by a single .303 bullet, which pierced his heart and lungs during a low altitude chase with a Canadian fighter. It was sold for $34,500 in March 2005, along with other items of clothing removed from his body following the subsequent crash.

2. Spirit of St Louis mail


Charles Lindbergh Mail Spirit of St Louis
One of three letters to have flown on board the Spirit of St Louis

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic in a non-stop solo flight. Rising to the challenge set by New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig, Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris in his purpose built airplane, the Spirit of St Louis, securing himself the $25,000 reward in the process.

On board Lindbergh's groundbreaking flight were three pieces of mail which have since become extremely popular collector's items. In 1999, one of the letters sold for an impressive $155,000, a dramatic rise in value from the $35,000 achieved by the same letter in 1977.

Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering this menu autographed by Charles Lindbergh, originating from the banquet which was held in his honour following his daring feat.

1. Signed vintage photograph

Autographs spanning the entire history of powered flight

As soon as we saw this photograph here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we knew it had to take the number one spot in our list. The faint image of three biplanes cruising past the Emprie State Building features one hundred signatures from the top luminaries of both air and space exploration.

From Orville Wright and Charles Lindbergh to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, this collection of autographs spans the entire history of our adventures in the skies. It sold for $33,460 in Heritage Auctions' 2009 Space Exploration sale.

See Paul Fraser Collectibles' full range of aviation memorabilia for your chance to invest in mankind's greatest achievement.


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