University Archives

Lot 440

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Incredible Wright Brothers Display Incorporating Bold Orville Autograph & Original Kitty Hawk & Other Relics

A handsome display of Wright Brothers autographs and artifacts related to two of the greatest aviators in American history, Wilbur (1867-1912) and Orville (1871-1948). Items include an authentic bank check signed by Orville Wright as "Orville Wright," and two other original artifacts: a fabric swatch preserved from flight tests at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and a nickel turnbuckle salvaged from an early Wright biplane. The items are superimposed on a striking black and white reproduction photograph depicting the first flight at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903, and artfully arranged within a custom 16" x 20" ebonized frame.

The lot is comprised of, displayed from top to bottom, right to left:

1. A bank check, No. 3128, signed by Orville Wright as "Orville Wright" in bold black ink on the payee line. Dated June 29, 1929, the check was issued to "The Dayton Power + Light Co." in the amount of $12.03 from accounts held at the City National Bank and Trust Company of Dayton, Ohio. Bearing the usual clerical marks including stamps and perforations.

2. A small fabric swatch excised from the brothers' "Wright Flyer," the biplane used in the historic flight at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903. The woven canvas type material is beige and measures approximately .25" x .25."

Provenance material accompanying the fabric section reads: "The relic bears a blue ink notation reading 'Fabric from Wright Brothers Kitty Hawk Harvey D. Geyer 3/2/51.' Period typing on the sheet above reads: 'All of the fabric for covering the original Kitty Hawk plane was muslin, purchased from Hunter & Hardy Dry Goods Store E. Third Street, Dayton Ohio, and known as Pride of the West muslin.'"

3. A nickel turnbuckle from an early Wright Brothers' plane featuring eye-bolt screws at each end, measuring 8" in length.

This turnbuckle, once a part of one of the earliest versions of the Wright Brothers' biplane, descended from the family of Louis P. Christman, who worked on the restoration of the 1905 "Wright Flyer," and who was personally gifted this item by Orville Wright. This is accompanied by a description of the original purchase from the Louis Christman family via auction. Leonard S. Hobbs, in his monograph "The Wright Brothers’ Engines and Their Design," (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1971) described Christman's role in the reconstruction of the Wright airplane: "Louis P. Christman … was responsible for the Smithsonian drawings of the 1903 engine and also supervised the reconstruction of the 1905 Wright airplane … Christman worked directly with Orville Wright for a period of six weeks and had access to all the records and parts the Wrights had preserved…"  

A wonderful piece of aviation history!

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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Accepted Forms of Payment

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Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

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January 6, 2021 10:30 AM EST

Wilton, CT, US

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000