Concorde collectibles relate to the French-British supersonic passenger airliner, ‘Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde’ – better known as Concorde.
The idea of creating supersonic transport was originally conceived in the 1950s, and several countries tentatively worked on designs.
The most concrete were those of the British ‘Bristol Aeroplane Company’ (BAC) and the French ‘Sud Aviation’ company. The cost of both designs was high, and as a result, the British Government demanded that BAC seek international cooperation.
In 1962, an international treaty was signed between Britain and France compelling BAC (now the British Aircraft Corporation) and Aérospatiale (which subsumed Sud Aviation) to develop the supersonic aircraft.
Construction of prototypes began in 1965; both were completed by and test-flown in 1969 - one in Toulouse, France, and one in Bristol, UK. Eventually, commercial flights began in January 1976, departing from London and Paris. Services to New York began in 1977.
The world’s first turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, Concorde remained in service for 27 years, retiring in 2003.
This was partially due to increasing maintenance costs, a disastrous and fatal crash in 2000, and the out-dated nature of the airliner in comparison with modern planes.
Concorde famously set a record for the fastest transatlantic flight in 1996, travelling from London to New York in 2 hours, 42 minutes and 59 seconds.
Concorde is an historic and iconic airliner; its delta-wings and dipped nose are highly recognisable, and its often regarded as symbolic of privilege and wealth.
It is much-loved by patriotic British and French citizens, as well as air enthusiasts. Since its retirement, collectibles relating to Concorde have become sought after and valuable.
The most notable of these is the unmistakable needle-shaped nose cone; in 2003, a nose from Concorde was sold for $394,700.
In 2007, a set of Concorde landing gear was sold for $36,000 in Toulouse. At the same auction, a Concorde machmeter realised €29,000.
In October 2010, Regency Superior auctioned a collection of Concorde memorabilia, including flight covers, crew-autographed covers, photo cards, aerograms and FDCs.
With an initial estimate of $2,000-3,000, the collection surprised many by realising $18,720.
It was announced in March 2011 that Lawrences of Crewkerne will be auctioning the speedometer used to clock Concorde’s record-breaking transatlantic flight in 1996. It is expected to sell for around £20,000.