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21 Ultimate Gifts: The Wright Stuff

On June 17, 1926, Orville Wright wrote a letter to a journalist commenting on the remarkable feat he and his brother, Wilbur, had accomplished 23 years earlier: "It amuses me that practically every one now thinks he has always believed in its possibility and that many think that before 1903 they had predicted its early accomplishment! At the time we couldn’t find half a dozen such. This inability to believe without seeing probably accounts for the slowness of the general public to become interested, and also for the fact that today, after twenty years have passed to dull the edge of the novelty of it, the interest in aviation is greater than it ever has been before."

 

The public’s interest in aviation continued to soar in the years that followed, and as the December 17 centennial of flight nears, 2003 has brought a renewed appreciation for the brothers Wright. Kenneth W. Rendell, a leading dealer in historic and significant letters, is offering a rare collection of Wright memorabilia to mark the occasion. Included are three letters authored by Orville (including the one from which the aforementioned passage was drawn), a photograph of the first flight bearing Orville’s signature, and a typewritten manuscript that Wilbur wrote for the April 1912 edition of the Aero Club of America Bulletin. Shortly after the bulletin’s publication, he died of typhoid fever at the age of 45.

In the manuscript, Wilbur expounds on the influence that the French aviation pioneer Louis Pierre Mouillard had on him and his brother: "He was like a prophet crying in the wilderness, exhorting the world to repent of its unbelief in the possibility of human flight. In 1881, he published a book called, ‘The Empire of the Air,’ which is one of the most remarkable pieces of aeronautical literature that has ever been published... I know that [the book] was one of the inspiring causes of the efforts of the Wright brothers."

This unique collection of Wright brothers material will thrill any aviation buff. It is also certain to stir the spirit of any entrepreneur who has proved skeptics wrong and succeeded in making a revolutionary idea fly.

Price: $350,000.

Contact: The Kenneth W. Rendell Gallery, 212.717.1776, gallery@kwrendell.com.

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Photo by Justin Sutcliffe
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Photo by Paul Bowen