Bonhams to offer rare artefacts from 20th century conflicts

Red Baron

Red Baron

2015-10-14 09:41:11

Rare artefacts from military history will cross the block at Bonhams next week, as part of the company's 'Conflicts of the 20th Century' sale.

"Conflicts of the 20th Century takes on a new type of thematic structure," Lamb said. "The 20th century is an area under-developed in the auction market; this sale will redress the balance of a history generally unknown or unsung.

"Most of the items in this auction have survived the battlefield by complete chance, claimed and brought home by veterans, often to be packed away and forgotten until now."

Amongst the most notable lots will be two items from the earliest days of US military aviation.

First is an insignia from the first U.S-owned plane flown by Americans during WWI, a Dorland AR1 reconnaissance plane.

The plane was part of the 1st Aero Squadron, established in 1913 and deployed to France in 1917 to engage the enemy at Chateau Thierry, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne.

This wood framed canvas aircraft insignia, bearing an image of the American flag, originated from an aircraft flown during those early missions over France, and will be offered with an estimate of $20,000-$30,000.

The next lot is a section of canvas taken from a Spad biplane, part of the 93rd aero squadron which cleared the skies of enemy aircraft and escorted reconnaissance and bombardment aircraft during WWI.

Dating from 1918, the grey camouflage section of fabric aircraft skin features a striking design of a screaming Native American Indian – a popular motif for the US military at the time, and a remnant of the Indian Wars of the 19th century.

This second relic from the early years of what would become the U.S Air Force is also expected to sell for $20,000-$30,000.

Further highlights from the sale will include a Cuban revolutionary flag, dated April 18, 1958 and signed by Fidel Castro, estimated at $10,000-$15,000; and the first Philippine Republic War Flag from the Spanish-American War, captured by the 13th Regiment, 3rd Brigade, New York Infantry on September 17, 1899, valued at U.S. $12,000 - $18,000.

The Bonhams 'Conflicts of the 20th Century' auction takes place in New York on Wednesday, October 21.

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