Sep 28, 2017 - Sale 2455

Sale 2455 - Lot 44

Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
(AVIATION.) Photographs of the wreck of the Sikorsky S-35 on its record-setting attempt. 17 photographs, each 3 x 5 inches or smaller; some captioned in ink in image, mount remnants at corners, one photograph torn with loss, the rest with minimal wear. Westbury, NY, 21 September 1926

Additional Details

The Orteig Prize was announced in 1919: $25,000 to the first aviators to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. The first serious effort to claim the prize did not come for seven years. Russian-American airplane manufacturer Igor Sikorsky designed the S-35 specifically for the crossing, and French war hero René Paul Fonck was chosen as his pilot. The plane's departure was set for 21 September 1926 with much fanfare at Long Island's Roosevelt Field. However, the plane was overloaded, and its landing gear became partially detached during takeoff. The plane never became airborne and crashed beyond the runway. Two of Fonck's three crew members were killed in the explosion. The following year, Charles Lindbergh made his mark on history by claiming the Orteig Prize.
The photographs in this lot were all apparently taken on the day of the crash. They include 6 of the plane and its hangar taken before the crash, and 10 of the wreckage afterward. One distant view appears to show the S-35 as it taxied for takeoff--apparently the only such image known to exist. The photographer is unknown. Provenance: Cowan's sale, 6 December 2007, lot 998.
with--a book stated by Cowan's to have been recovered from the crash: J. Andrew White. Practical Aviation, Including Construction and Operation. Worn and soiled with part of title page excised; inscribed by an early owner on front pastedown. [New York, 1918].