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Item 425 - Orville Wright Catalog 576 (Feb 2020)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Estimate: $12,000.00 +
Sold Price: $15,276.25 (includes buyer's premium)


Magnificent vintage matte-finish 9.75 x 6.75 photo of the first flight of the Wright Flyer near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, signed and inscribed in fountain pen "To the Honorable Harry S. New, with best wishes, Orville Wright.” Affixed to its original mount and impressively matted and framed to an overall size of 19.25 x 16.25. In fine condition.

Accompanied by typed and handwritten statements of provenance signed by the recipient of this photograph, Harry Stewart New, a former Indiana senator and the 48th Postmaster General of the United States. The typed statement reads, in full: "This photograph was given to me personally by Orville Wright, whose autograph it carries. For three or four years it was on the wall of the office of the Second Assistant Postmaster General, and after my retirement for the head of the department was returned to me by Mr. W. I. Glover, Second Ass't, in accordance with my request."

The offered signed photograph depicts in crystal-clear detail the first powered, controlled, and sustained airplane flight in history. Orville Wright, age 32, is seen at the controls of the machine, lying prone on the lower wing with hips in the cradle, which operated the wing-warping mechanism. His brother, Wilbur Wright, age 36, ran alongside to help balance the machine, with this image showing him having just released his hold on the forward upright of the right wing. The starting rail, the wing-rest, a coil box, and other items needed for flight preparation are visible behind the machine. The historic photo shoot was organized by Orville Wright, who preset the camera and had John T. Daniels, a member of the U.S. Life-Saving Station in Kill Devil Hills, squeeze the rubber bulb and trigger the shutter.

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