Aviation Collection, ca. 1920
Appraised Value: $25,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:20)
Books & Manuscripts
Senior Vice President & Senior Specialist, Rare Books and Manuscripts
GUEST: This is a life's work of my great-grandfather's. He was an aviation pioneer, mainly out of the state of Michigan.
APPRAISER: We have a huge album here of clippings, letters, photographs, programs, tickets, you name it. And we have this stack of original early-aviation photographs collected by your grandfather.
GUEST: Yes. There's his picture.
APPRAISER: His name was Wayne Sheldon.
APPRAISER: And, uh, he was obviously someone fascinated by early aviation and its pioneers particularly. So I was struck by some of the images in this wonderful collection you have. Manned flight began with the Wright brothers, of course, and his scrapbook has three nice early shots of the Wright Flyer, 3. Uh, another Wright machine over here, and this is rather nice. This is one of the Wright brothers himself at the controls of his aircraft. Here's an early helicopter... a strange, birdlike machine that someone built. And... let's look at this little group as well. A lot of images of Glenn Curtiss, who was one of the pioneers along with the Wrights. In fact, they later formed a company together. And didn't your grandfather work for the Curtiss-Wright Company?
APPRAISER: Uh, this shows some of Curtiss's early experiments: a sort of motor-powered bike, an ice boat powered by a propeller. And over here you have a picture of Curtiss and Alexander Graham Bell, a few of the other early pioneers. What struck me about the collection particularly was how carefully captioned all these were by your grandfather. He identified the individual who was the pilot, the aircraft, the date of the flight, and that kind of documentation is very special and I think it adds to the appeal and the importance of the collection.
APPRAISER: It's such an enormous group of material that it's hard to value just for its complexity. My own feeling is, though, that it should be worth something in the neighborhood of $25,000. Possibly more, depending on what's in these enormous books.
GUEST: Great. Thank you.
APPRAISER: The most valuable part of the collection is the photographs, without a doubt.
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