Plane memorabilia is a popular collector’s item and there is a vast array of historical pieces available for the discerning collector. From manuals to engines to uniforms and magazines the world of plane memorabilia has something for just about everybody but what are some of the coolest and most impressive items available in the market today? Aviation antique specialty stores are a great place to seek fantastic additions to your collection, or to help you get one started.
Continental A-40 Engine
This 4 cylinder, air cooled engine was once used to power the Taylor E-2 ‘Cub’, a small, light, and simple aircraft designed by C. Gilbert Taylor of the Taylor Aircraft Company. The design evolved from the Arrowing Chummy engine and paved the way for the Piper J-3 Cub.
This engine (or one like it) made its first flight on September 12, 1930 and the Cub continued to be manufactured until 1936 with a total of 353 planes built during that time. In its day the plane cost around $1325. Billed as the “great grandfather” of modern airplane engines, this amazing collector’s piece weighs 125 pounds and costs $1295.
Aerial Age Weekly, July 25, 1921
A more affordable start to your aviation memorabilia collection, this serial magazine from 1921 contains 25 12” x 9” pages of articles, ads, photos, drawings, and display ads including:
- Ansaldo S.V.A. Aeroplanes;
- Lincoln Standard Airplanes;
- Waterman Racing Monoplane;
- ‘Fly away’ Canucks from $1500;
- A 3 passenger triplane; and
- Special offers on OX-5 engine parts.
For only $25, this is a great way to add a real touch of history to a budding collection and it gives you something to strive for: can you track down the whole set?
NorthWest Airlines Stewardess Wing
Billed as “one of the most beautiful airline wings ever worn”, this stewardess pin from the late 1950’s measures just over 2 inches long and is made of gold-plated brass and enamel. These pins were worn by stewardesses on NorthWest flights until the late 1950’s when the airline decided to switch to a cheaper, less attractive design. A lovely piece of jewelry as well as a great collector’s item, this pin will set you back $39.
Lockheed Electra Ground Support Manual
A real bargain piece for true plane enthusiasts, this spiral bound softcover manual is 50 9”x 11” pages of photos and illustrations of every single ground support item produced for Electra Ground support by Well Industries Corp. This includes images and information on:
- Tail pipes;
- Propeller dollies;
- Main landing gear; and
- Tire covers.
In good condition, this item costs only $10 and will certainly make an interesting conversation piece.
American Airlines DC-6/DC-7 Operating Manuals Set
For those interested in manuals, this set is a great deal as it contains a DC-6 manual from 1954 and a DC-7 manual from 1958. Both are manuals for American Airlines and were owned by a flight engineer by the name of A.N.Bull. These authentic pieces contain revision pages with dates, company bulletins, and operating procedures as well as numerous drawings and charts. Used but in good condition, they feature tabbed sections for easy reference as well as red tabbed sections for emergencies. Measuring 9” x 7” x 2.25”, this set will cost an enthusiastic collector $39.