1936 Hindenburg Ashtray
Appraised Value: $8,000 - $10,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: ()
APPRAISER: It's funny to have an ashtray on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, but there's something special about this ashtray.
GUEST: It's an ashtray that was given to my grandfather on October 9, 1936, for a special ten-hour flight of the Hindenburg that left Lakehurst, New Jersey. It went up the coast to Boston, back down, I believe, over Washington and Baltimore and landed that evening back in Lakehurst.
APPRAISER: And who was on this flight?
GUEST: Uh, roughly 50 executives, politicians, bankers, uh, media.
APPRAISER: And everybody on the flight got this ashtray?
GUEST: Everybody was given an ashtray, from what I understand, yes.
APPRAISER: Okay. The ashtray is made of forged aluminum. Do you know who made it?
GUEST: It's made by a company which I believe is still in business in Western PA called Wendell August.
APPRAISER: Right. And this... model of the Hindenburg is filled with the fuel that drove the four huge engines--
APPRAISER: --that propelled the airship. So on October of '36, a group of about 50 people went up on the Hindenburg on what's called the Millionaire's Flight. And some of the names were, like, Rockefeller, and…
GUEST: Uh, Eddie Rickenbacker--
APPRAISER: Eddie Rickenbacker.
GUEST: --was on the flight as well.
APPRAISER: Wealthy and influential people.
APPRAISER: Then the Hindenburg flew, I believe, down to Brazil on its regular route.
GUEST: Correct. Right.
APPRAISER: And then over to Germany. Then it came back to the United States.
GUEST: The following May.
APPRAISER: And of course, when it got to Lakehurst in May of '37, it caught fire and 36 people died.
GUEST: That's right.
APPRAISER: When the Hindenburg was first-- the flight to the United States, they asked if they could use helium, because all the helium came from America at that point.
APPRAISER: And they were denied it because it was a strategic element. So they were forced to use hydrogen, which is extremely flammable. Now, the irony of the ashtray is that... there was smoking, actually, on the Hindenburg.
GUEST: Isn't that funny?
APPRAISER: They had a smoking room and each person had in front of them a bowl of water. And there was a crewmember assigned to the room to watch full time, to make sure that not one ash fell away from the bowl of water. And you have a diary here.
GUEST: Right, this is my grandmother's diary from 1936 and '37. And she just happens to mention in the diary that my grandfather was leaving the next day for this one-day flight.
APPRAISER: I would think that if this came up at auction, you would be looking at a value of between $8,000 and $10,000.
GUEST: Oh, great.
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