DS in Russian, signed "Howard R. Hughes," one page, 8.5 x 11, Amtorg Trading Corporation letterhead, July 9, 1938. Letter of credit document, in full (translated): "The bearer of this [letter], the Chairman of the firm Hughes Tool Co. of Houston, Texas, the pilot Mr. Howard Hughes, during his around-the-world flight is going to fly over the territory of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with stops in Moscow, Novosibirsk and Yakutsk. Mr. Howard Hughes and his team require that fuel, aircraft oil, water, food products, dry ice, hot coffee, sterilized milk, cable expenses, postage stamps and other services be provided. We ask all organizations of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics where Mr. Howard Hughes applies to receive the above mentioned services to provide him with all necessary items and to recoup their costs from Mosamtorg, Sovietskaya Ploschad No. 1, which we direct to pay all bills related to the services for Mr. Howard Hughes. We certify for all organizations the signature personally executed by the hand of Mr. Howard Hughes on the bottom of this letter." Signed at the conclusion by Hughes. Included with the document is a superb large 12 x 8 silk flag for the 1939 New York World's Fair carried on Hughes's triumphant 1938 around-the-world flight. In overall fine condition, with a bit of scattered light soiling and an impressed Amtorg seal to lower right. Accompanied by an original mailing envelope, and a letter from the Amtorg Trading Corporation dated July 9, 1938, forwarding in a separate envelope, “a copy of the Letter of Credit to be signed by you and returned to us for our files.”
For years Howard Hughes had dreamed of breaking Wiley Post's 1933 circumnavigation flight record. On July 10, 1938, he set out to do just that. Lifting off from Floyd Bennett Field in New York, he made stops in Paris, Moscow, Omsk, Yakutsk, Fairbanks, and Minneapolis before returning to New York 91 hours, 14 minutes, and 19 seconds later. This letter, laying out the requirements for his three stops in the Soviet Union including "fuel, aircraft oil, water, food products, dry ice, hot coffee, sterilized milk, cable expenses, postage stamps and other services," details the stops that made the trip possible. Issued by the Soviet Union's Amtorg Trading Corporation, a New York-based international trading company initially used as a cover for military espionage, this letter of credit is a remarkable piece from the round-the-world flight that became a landmark in aviation history.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.