Fantastic matte-finish 3.5 x 5.5 postcard photo of the pioneer of flight, signed in the lower border in extremely bold black ink, “Yours truly, Wilbur Wright.” The reverse bears text printed in French, including: “Comptoir Photographique de l’Ouest Le Mans.” In fine condition, with silvering to dark areas of the image. Le Mans was a central location in the Wrights’ experience in France in 1908. It was where Wilbur went to perform a series of flights that would prove his plane’s capabilities, and during these tests he repeatedly broke his own speed and endurance records. Signed photos of the elder Wright are extremely scarce, given his early death from typhoid fever in 1912. Examples as fine as this, with a crystal-clear image and impeccable signature, are highly sought-after and very rarely seen. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA.
Category Archives: Wilbur Wright
Breathtaking vintage matte-finish 11.75 x 15.75 photo of Wright breaking an altitude record in his Wright Flyer, affixed to a 15.5 x 19.25 mount, signed in the lower left in ink, “25 December 1908, Wilbur Wright.” Also signed in the lower right in ink by the photographer, Jules Garczynski. Irregular areas of fading and discoloration to ink, toning and adhesive remnants to borders of mount, and a crease to the upper left (passing from the mount’s edge to below the plane’s wing), otherwise very good condition.
On December 18, 1908, as the Wright brothers’ landmark year was coming to a close, Wilbur Wright soared to a height of 110 meters above Le Mans, France, setting an epic new altitude record. For his achievement, he was given the Aero Club de la Sarthe prize. This image beautifully captures that success, showing the Flyer soaring above the Auvours Camp, with a balloon marking 100 meters well below. Oversized original photos of the Wrights’ famous machine are incredibly scarce; with the addition of Wilbur’s elusive autograph, this is a truly exceptional piece. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA.
Pre-Bidding is January 15 – January 21. Live Bidding begins at 3 pm ET on January 22.
Amazing matte-finish 5 x 4 lightweight photograph of the Wright Glider, labeled on the front by French Army and aviation supporter Captain Ferdinand Ferber, “Wright a Kitty Hawk en 1902,” with extremely detailed notes penned on the reverse by Wilbur Wright, in full: “Oct. 24th E. Slope #2 Hill. An interesting picture of one of a series of glides we made to test the ability of operation to turn to right or left. The machine was started exactly towards our camp which lies to the left of the field of view. When picture was taken the machine was almost at right angles to its initial course. Just after the picture was taken, (in fact the change in the wings is already made) the machine was brought back to a level and landed with the left wing a little the lowest. The picture also shows the inclination of both the ‘Big’ and the ‘Little’ hills with reference to the ocean.” Includes a typed translation in French signed by Ferber, who proved to be a major influence in the development of aviation in France by publicizing the work of the Wright brothers and raising public interest in manned flight. The consignor, an expert in aviation history, notes that this is the first-ever instance of a pilot explaining these types of flight maneuvers in such detail
Pre-Bidding is January 15 – January 21. Live Bidding begins at 3 pm ET on January 22.
Extremely scarce matte-finish 5.5 x 3.5 photo of Wilbur Wright, Paul Tissandier, Hart O. Berg, Leon Bollee, and other observers, at the Camp d’Auvours in October–November 1908, signed in black ink, “With my compliments, Wilbur Wright.” Double-matted and framed to an overall size of 11 x 8.5. Diagonal creases to the lower right corner (touching but hardly affecting the signature) and the end of the sentiment a few shades light due to irregular ink flow, otherwise fine condition. In the course of delivering his Wright Flyer to a French syndicate, Wilbur traveled to Camp d’Auvours near Le Mans to perform a series of flights that would prove his plane’s capabilities. During these test flights he repeatedly broke his own speed and endurance records, and was successfully able to win the contract for production. A rare image from these important demonstrations in the history of manned flight. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA
Breathtaking matte-finish 5.75 x 7 crystal-clear portrait of Wright in a classic head-and-shoulders pose, signed and inscribed in black ink, “To my true friend Leon Bolles, whose warm sympathy and unfailing help made my success at Le Mans possible, my sincere thanks and best wishes. Wilbur Wright, Le Mans, 18 December ’08.” Affixed to a period 8.25 x 10.5 mount. In fine condition, with trimmed edges and scattered staining to mount.
In order to secure a contract for their Flyer with a private French syndicate, the Wrights had to complete several public demonstration flights to prove that their plane could fly a distance of at least 50 kilometers with a passenger. After a captivating series of 1908 flights in Le Mans, far surpassing the requirements of the French contract, Wilbur was joined by Orville, who had been giving similar demonstrations in the US. This stunning portrait is inscribed to Leon Bolles, a French automaker who accompanied Wright as a passenger at Le Mans during a flight of four minutes and nine seconds on October 5, 1908—newspaper reports emphasized that Bolles weighed in at a hefty 216 pounds, yet the plane remained agile. The following day, Wright broke his own record for longest flight with a passenger, remaining aloft for 1 hour 4 minutes 26 seconds. It was this flight that secured the contract with M. Lazare Weiller’s syndicate, awarding them a whopping $100,000. An extremely rare and absolutely stunning image of Wright with a great association to this important period in his career.
Bidding for the Auction opens Sep 11, 2014 & ends Sep 17, 2014
An amazing typed manuscript of an essay entitled “What Clement Ader Did,” which was published in the May 1912 edition of The Aero Club of America Bulletin, 10 pages, 8.5 x 11, signed on the last page in black ink, “Wilbur Wright,” with a couple of additional ink notations in the hand of his brother Orville Wright.
The essay begins: “Clement Ader was a French electrical engineer, who during the last quarter of the nineteenth century devoted a great deal of study and money to the problem of human flight…Having exhausted his own resources, he succeeded in enlisting the aid of the French Government and proceeded to the construction of a large machine, having a steam motor of 40 horse power. This apparatus was tried under conditions of great secrecy in October 1897 at the military field at Satory, near Paris…but the results were so unsatisfactory that the French Government, which had spent more than one hundred thousand dollars on the project, refused to advance further funds.” After the last line, Orville has added “and Ader abandoned the attempt to solve the problem.”
The essay continues: “After the possibility of human flight had been demonstrated by the Wright Brothers, claims began to be made that the Ader machine before being wrecked, had flown nearly one thousand feet in 1897. After a time a systematic attempt was begun to establish by constant repetition a legend which might eventually displace the truth. But the friends of M. Santos Dumont, who claimed the honor of being the first man to fly within the borders of France, became aroused and a heated controversy arose. At length M. Archdeacon succeeded in obtaining permission of the French Ministry of War to publish the official report of the Commission which supervised the trials of the Ader machine in 1897. The report conclusively shows that the Ader machine never left the ground.” The following six pages of the essay show the results of the report.
The last two pages contain Wilbur’s summation and conclusion, and read, in part: “It will be seen that the report shows that the Ader machine never left the ground. It started with the wind on its back and rolled along the ground at a speed not greater than twelve or fourteen miles an hour. The wind on its back and the pull of the screws tend to force the upper part of the apparatus forward, while the friction of the wheels on the ground retarded the machine below…A puff of wind rolled the machine over and smashed it to pieces. The official report accords exactly with the statement made to us in 1906 by a member of the French Commission, which came to America to negotiate with us in that year. He said the machine never flew at all…He also remarked that if the machine had really flown, the Commission would not be in America negotiating with us. The failure of the Ader machine was the real cause of the failure of this negotiation with us, because the French Officials at home could not believe that we had succeeded, where Ader with the assistance of the French Government had failed, and they feared being laughed at if they closed a contract with us…The Wright Brothers had heard of Ader only as a man, who was rumored to have attempted to solve the problem of human flight…and had met with disastrous failure…Consequently his work contributed nothing to the final success.” The essay also contains pencil notations and line by an unidentified editor from the Aero Club of America Bulletin.
In very good condition, with two horizontal mailing folds, aforementioned notations, staple holes to upper left corners, and scattered soiling. Accompanied by an original May 1912 edition of The Aero Club of America Bulletin.
Published mere weeks before Wilbur’s death from typhoid fever, this essay is one of the final pieces he wrote. At the peak of the excitement over the first public heavier-than-air flight, Frenchman Clement Ader announced that he had flown his machine, Avion III, over 300 feet in October of 1897. Despite the fact that the French Ministry had cut funding for his project immediately after this supposedly successful flight, and despite the fact that the only surviving witness recalled that the wheels had lifted and almost immediately crashed, several historians of aviation began to credit him with the flight. Written with decisive clarity, the Wright brothers address their competitor’s tale with precision and finality, debunking his claim and denying any contribution his failed attempts made to their own work. One of only seven articles published by Wilbur Wright before his untimely death—and one of only two such that is in private hands—this outstanding essay gives voice to the leading pioneer of aviation, passionately defending his crowning achievement. RR Auction COA.
Magnificent vintage color 35 x 17.75 lithograph drawn by Ernest Montaut and finished by artists in his studio and publishing house (pochoir process), entitled ‘Wright Au Camp D’Auvours,’ depicting Wilbur on his ‘flier’ near Le Mans, signed in fountain pen “22 December 1908, Wilbur Wright.” Litho is affixed to an identical size board and archivally framed. In fine condition, with some scattered light edge chipping and title faded.
With rising European skepticism that the Wright brothers’ claims of flight had been inflated by the US, Wilbur Wright began official public demonstrations on August 8, 1908 at the Hunaudieres horse racing track near Le Mans, France. Immediately thrilling the French public and erasing any doubts of their achievement, Wright drew crowds of thousands to the small track, forcing him to relocate to the larger Camp d’Avours to accommodate the masses. He took to the air every day, breaking records as soon as he set them, and quickly became the most celebrated figure in Europe. Drawn in by the hype, artist Ernest Montaut—known for his innovative, action-packed prints of aviation and motor racing—created this print for sale at his studio, L’Estampe Sportive Artistique in Paris. The prints were produced by the pochoir process, in which the outlines were drawn onto lithographic stones and printed, then painstakingly colored using individual color stencils. This extraordinary lithograph, purchased and signed while the historic flights dominated the headlines, is the only of its kind that we have seen: an absolutely remarkable piece! Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.