Jun 27, 2024 - Sale 2675

Sale 2675 - Lot 59

Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(AVIATION.) Paul Thompson, photographer. Curtiss biplane launching from the USS Pennsylvania docked in San Francisco Bay. Silver print, 4 x 5 inches, with pencil caption and typed caption label, plus Thompson's inked stamp; minor wear, ¼-inch adhesion in upper right corner. [San Francisco, CA, 1911]

Additional Details

In 1911 Eugene Ely made aviation history by making the first landing of an airplane on a sea vessel. The commanding officer of the USS Pennsylvania called Ely's endeavor "the most important landing of a bird since the dove flew back to Noah's ark." Ely's remarkable flight opened the window for naval aeronautics to begin in the United States and the world. This photograph was taken as Ely was leaving the ship on his return flight to the San Francisco harbor. The pencil caption reads "Ely on Curtis bi-plane," and the typed caption label below reads "Leaving the U.S.S. Pennsylvania for his return flight to San Francisco."

Provenance: From the collection of Ira Richer; Swann sale, 9 December 2003, lot 398.