Lindbergh bestows an original piece of ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ fabric upon
a federal official—and includes a
handwritten letter of provenance!
ALS signed “Charles A. Lindbergh,” one page, 5.25 x 7.75, personal letterhead, December 25, 1928. Letter to Bill McCracken. In full: “I am enclosing a small piece of the original fabric from the Spirit of St. Louis. This was removed when the center wing gasoline tank was taken out preparatory to the flight to Mexico City.” Affixed to the bottom of the letter is a 2 x 1 silver fabric swatch of the fabric from the Spirit of St. Louis, signed and inscribed in fountain pen, “Part of the original fabric from the Spirit of St. Louis. To Bill McCracken / Sincerely, Charles A. Lindbergh Dec. 25, 1928.” Letter is affixed to a mount and matted with a portrait of Lindbergh in front of the Spirit of St. Louis to an overall size of 19.5 x 14. In fine condition, with uniform toning to letter, some light fading to portions of signature and inscription on fabric, and fabric lightly pulling away from letter at one edge.
Lindbergh’s pioneering 1927 transatlantic flight aboard the Spirit of St. Louis made him a well-known figure throughout the world and a leader in aviation. And it was that man—a living national hero—who personally deemed McCracken a worthy recipient of a portion of one of the most important aircraft of all time. At the time Lindbergh presented this gift, McCracken was Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Civil Aeronautics under Secretary of Commerce (and President-elect) Herbert Hoover. McCracken was the first to hold this position and is credited with drafting much of civil aviation law. Interestingly, the aviator’s reference to preparations for a flight to Mexico City is likely the trip during which he first met Anne Morrow, later his wife. Pieces from the historic aircraft are prized possessions in their own right, more so with provenance from Lindbergh himself! Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.