The Spirit of St Louis Collection

SKU: PT791

Price:
Sale price£75,000
Stock:
In stock

Description

An extraordinary piece of aviation history. The Spirit of St Louis Collection features:

  • Original parts of the plane from Charles Lindbergh's historic New York to Paris flight in 1927
  • One of the largest pieces of original Spirit of St Louis fabric ever offered for sale, signed by Charles Lindbergh
  • Superb provenance

Charles Augustus Lindbergh (1902-1974), nicknamed Slim, Lucky Lindy and The Lone Eagle, was a pioneering aviator who began his illustrious career in the skies as an US Air Mail pilot.

At the age of just 25, he emerged from obscurity to capture the $25,000 Orteig Prize for his solo non-stop flight from New York to Paris on May 20-21, 1927.

The event rocketed him to international fame, and there was "tremendous public hysteria" in America. He was awarded the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his legendary flight.

His fame meant that he was able to champion the development of commercial aviation and Air Mail services in the United States, making him one of the leading figures responsible for the progression of aviation technology at the time.

Following his son, Charles Jr, being kidnapped and murdered in the "Crime of the Century" in 1932 - a result of Lindbergh's fame - his family moved overseas. They returned as America joined the second world war, with Lindbergh flying numerous combat missions in the Pacific Theatre.

Following the second world war, Lindbergh styled himself as an explorer, inventor and prize-winning author, as well as an environmentalist - a truly remarkable man. 

1. Original parts of the Spirit of St Louis used during Charles Lindbergh’s record-setting New York to Paris flight in 1927.

These are the only parts from the plane to have ever been offered for sale.

The parts, which all show considerable flight wear, comprise:

  • A rocker arm from the Wright J5-C "Whirlwind" engine (serial no. 7331),
  • Two AC Type N spark plugs from the Whirlwind engine
  • Three shock absorber bungee cords from the plane’s tail skid or landing gear

The parts are beautifully presented in a custom-made oak case (17 x 12½ x 6 inches) with explanatory plaque.

Superb provenance

Superb provenance from Kenneth Lane, engineer at Wright Aeronautical Company, which supplied the engine that powered the Spirit of St Louis. Lane was one of four Wright Aeronautical employees who worked on Lindbergh’s plane before and after its record-breaking flight.

Lane fine-tuned the aircraft at Curtiss Field on Long Island from May 12, 1927 to the day of take off on May 20.

Following Lindbergh and the Spirit’s triumphant return, Lane carried out repairs on the aircraft on July 4 in Teterboro, New Jersey to ready it for Lindbergh’s year-long US tour. During these repairs Lane removed the parts in this collection.

At this time Lane also removed several other pieces of the plane that have since gone on display:

  • In the 1970s Lane donated a shock cord, spark plug and a fragment of faring strip to the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site in Minnesota, where they remain.
  • Lane also gave several items to the San Diego Aerospace Museum which were destroyed in a fire.
  • Lane also donated a “survival kit” of back-up items from the flight to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. They are on display (inventory no. A19790147000) and include an inflatable cushion. Writing to Spirit of St. Louishistorian Ev Cassagneres in 1973, Lindbergh confirmed their authenticity: “Item 6 is ... identical with the inflatable seat-cushion I used in the Spirit of St. Louis on the flights from San Diego to Paris. All items in this photograph are almost certainly items that I carried on these flights."

2. An original piece of fabric from The Spirit of St Louis - among the largest ever offered for sale.

The fabric measures approximately 2" x 3" and is signed 'C. A. Lindbergh' in fountain pen by world famous aviator Charles Lindbergh.

It is in fine, clean condition. 

The fabric is dated "Sept 6 - 1927" in a separate hand. This indicates that it was signed by Lindbergh while in Montana. That same day, he flew from Butte to Helena, returning on September 7 for several days rest as part of his US tour funded by Harry Guggenheim.

The fabric would have been taken from the Spirit of St Louis during essential repairs carried out after landing.

While small pieces of the Spirit of St Louis have appeared at auction, it is rare to find examples of this size. Items signed by Charles Lindbergh are even rarer, and are extremely sought after by aviation collectors, making this the undoubted highlight of your collection.

Superb provenance

The unusually large piece of cloth was acquired by James E. Morrow, a member of the welcoming committee for the triumphant American tour following Lindbergh’s historic flight.

Morrow was a relative of Anne Spencer Morrow, who became Mrs. Charles Lindbergh in 1929. James E. Morrow was also the name of Anne’s paternal grandfather.

Soon after Lindbergh’s return from France, millionaire aviation enthusiast Harry Guggenheim dipped into a promotional fund he had set up with his father, Daniel, to sponsor a nationwide tour for Lindbergh and the plane that he had made famous.

Over a three-month period from July to October 1927, Lindbergh flew and touched down the Spirit of St. Louis in all forty-eight states, gave hundreds of speeches, and rode in countless parades, where he was greeted as a conquering hero by unprecedented adoring throngs.

At the conclusion of the tour, Morrow presented the item to his daughter, Vera M. Morrow (1907–2004), who had earlier accompanied him to the legendary ticker-tape parade for Lindbergh in Manhattan on June 21, 1927.

This exceptional piece of aviation history is available on our layaway plan with the option to spread payment over 12-18 months. 

All items are guaranteed authentic and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity and free insured worldwide delivery.

Free global shipping. 28-day returns. Certificate of Authenticity and our Lifetime Moneyback Guarantee of Authenticity included. 

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