Vin Flyer plane banner to sell at Heritage Auctions

This banner was attached to the ground-breaking Vin Fiz flyer - the first aeroplane to fly across the US.

It’s offered with an opening bid of $1,250 ahead of an Americana sale at Heritage Auctions on May 13.

In 1910, publisher William Randolph Hearst announced that he would give $50,000 to the first aviator to fly across the United States in 30 days or less.

Vin Fiz plane

Vin Fiz was an unpleasant drink created by the temperance movement 

At the time powered flight was still in its infancy. The Wright Brothers had taken to the skies for the first time only eight years earlier.

Pilot Calbraith Perry Rodgers, who’d trained briefly under the Brothers, decided to buy a Wright Model EX and have a crack at it.

He roped in J Ogden Armour (of Chicago meatpacking megalith Armour & Company) as a sponsor.

The plane was named The Vin Fiz after the company’s new soft drink. It was emblazoned with the Vin Fiz logo. The support convoy was similarly marked.

This was actually the first advertising campaign of its kind and did ultimately prove very successful, even though Vin Fiz was described by one reviewer as tasting like "river water (sludge) and horse slop”.

Rogers did complete the flight - albeit 19 days after the competition ended.

He crashed 16 times along the way, ending with a particularly bad one in Compton, California that put him in hospital for three months with a broken spine.

This banner was attached to part of the plane and was recovered from the wreckage after the crash.

It’s inscribed: "Remains of/ Wreck at/ Compton/ Sunday Nov 12 1911/ at 5:00 PM 3999 miles".

It’s part of a collection of materials relating to the flight to feature in the sale, with a set of photos and a flyer also included.

All belonged to a chauffeur who worked for Armour & Company.

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