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Item 405 - Otto Lilienthal Catalog 446 (Feb 2015)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $500.00
Sold Price: $15,757.18 (includes buyer's premium)


Extremely rare ALS in German, one page, lightly-lined, 8.5 x 11, impressive personal letterhead, August 14, 1894. Letter to Major Moedebe[c]k, the later publisher of ‘Aeronautischen Mitteilungen.’ In part (translated): “The artistic flight I have so much worked on, that there needs to be only a short introduction for the practical artistic flight with some illustrations…Herr Anschütz tried already to take photographs of me flying my aeroplane. But unfortunately the weather was too bad.” In fine condition, with unobtrusive intersecting folds and a small split affecting the left side of the letterhead.

Designing his first glider, the Derwitzer, in 1891, Otto Lilienthal began an aviation career that would see over 2,000 flights and receive international recognition from legends in the field, including Wilbur Wright, who in 1912 wrote, ‘Of all the men who attacked the flying problem in the 19th century, Otto Lilienthal was easily the most important.’ Launching himself from an artificial conical hill near his home in Lichterfelde, he was able to catch the wind no matter which direction it blew, enabling him to achieve flight distances as long as 250 meters, a record that remained unbeaten at the time of his death in a gliding crash in 1896. Inspired by the albumen images of storks created by Ottomar Anschütz, Lilienthal hired the photographer to capture his own flights; though unsuccessful in the account mentioned in this letter, Anschütz did take dozens of extraordinary shots of the aviator on other occasions. An exceedingly rare letter from one of the earliest pioneers of aviation. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA.

Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.


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