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The Knapp Collection of Airmail Flights

U.S. "Vin Fiz" Flight
Lot Photo Description
Lot 284

1911 (Sept. 17 - Dec. 10) Cal Rodgers "Vin Fiz" Flight, "FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL FLIGHT" Exhibition Collection, Compton Crash mail, Drop Leaflet Plus, the ultimate exhibit building holding gorgeously annotated in a gilt edged Godin-style album and matching slipcase, featuring a lovely example of the Compton Crash (AAMC #2c, Catalog $5,000) on Vin Fiz picture postcard; an original dropped leaflet promoting the trip and soda; original "History of C.P. Rodgers and his VIN FIZ flight" booklet, actual photographs of the unique unused example of the VIN FIZ stamp and cover, various photographic reproductions of news articles including 1911 "Hartshorne Sun", then "the History of C.P. Rodgers and his VIN FIZ Flight" on 13 pages with 15 photographs all annotated; 16 pages on "Log of C.P. Rodgers' VIN FIZ Flight documenting his seventy (70) legs/stops from Sheepshead Bay, NY to Pasadena, CA- each page with an image from one of the stops, truly incomprehensible in scope and detail; then "First Transcontinental Flight" 21 pages featuring 35 photographs and the above mentioned flight card, leaflet, pamphlet, two souvenir postcards and ends with some anniversary covers including signed by his daughter, one with an actual piece of the VIN FIZ strut attached, numerous letters and correspondence between Knapp and Rodgers' niece, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Estimate $4,000 - 6,000

Known as the First Successful Transcontinental Flight, Cal Rodgers pilot and the "VIN FIZ", crossed the country 4,331 miles in total. Calbraith Perry Rodgers (great grandson of Admiral Perry, the person responsible for opening Japan to the West), transcontinental flight was financed by the Armour Company, makers of "Vin Fiz" a popular soft drink of the same name. Rodgers flew a Wright model EX, nick-named the "Vin Fiz Flyer." Rodgers arrived in Pasadena on November 5, 1911, after many delays caused by accidents, necessitating frequent repairs to the aeroplane. During the coast-to-coast trip he was in the air a total of three days, ten hours and fourteen minutes. His elapsed time, however, was 49 days covering 4,331 miles. Rodgers died in a flight at Long Beach on April 3, 1912.

Realized $4,750.
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Lot 285

1911 (Sept. 17 - Dec. 10) Cal Rodgers "Vin Fiz" Flight, Sheepshead Bay, N.Y. to Long Beach, Calif., Compton Crash mail, 1¢ Franklin tied to real photo picture post card of Rodgers and the Reception Committee by Long Beach flag machine cancel, card dated and message: "Pasadena Nov. 12/ 1911. We traveled with Cal P Rodgers on his flight in airship from Coast to coast aboard at Pasadena for Long Beach, Cal. E. F." addressed to J.A. Fraser in Long Beach, Extremely Fine and rare, less than ten believed to exist.
AAMC 2c; $5,000 (1998).
Estimate $3,000 - 4,000

The final segment of the flight, from Pasadena to Long Beach, was to occur on November 12. Shortly after leaving Pasadena Rodgers crashed in Compton and was seriously injured. A small amount of mail was flown on this segment. Each piece of mail has a 5-line cachet in violet plus a 3-line cachet: "Machine wrecked / at Compton / Aviator injured." The mail was taken off the plane in Compton and taken to Long Beach, where it was postmarked on November 16. Rodgers finally completed the flight from Compton to Long Beach on December 10, however no mail was flown.

Realized $4,250.
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Lot 286

1912, souvenir picture post cards of Cal Rodgers' "Vin Fiz" Flight, Sheepshead Bay, N.Y., to Long Beach, Calif., three different souvenir cards, two sent from Long Beach on May 22, 1912 addressed to Mrs. Flora & Mr. Willis Walling of Meadville PA, card of "Our Cal" message states "Dear Flora, This is 'Our Cal ', Isn't he a nice looking fellow? Too bad he had to be killed Isn't it?", next card showing him in the plane in the same hand "Dear Willis, This is the airship that Rodgers came across the continent in. It was on exhibition here after he was killed. Aunt Emma"; interesting pair, third card, postmarked May 8, 1912 shows split view: Cal in plane and crash at Compton, plus a photo of him flying the VIN FIZ, Appleton Philatelic Society cachet on reverse, superb group with interesting messages, Very Fine.
AAMC 2 var.
Estimate $300 - 400.
Realized $450.
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Lot 287
1911, mounted fabric from "Vin Fiz" aircraft, 2" by 2" square of fabric from the first plane to fly transcontinental in 1911, mounted under glass with a photo of the aircraft, frame is 16" by 21½", photo is 10" by 8", Very Fine.
Estimate $1,000 - 1,500

The "Vin Fiz" made the first U.S. transcontinental flight in 1911 taking off from Sheepshead Bay New York on Sept 17 and landing in Pasadena Ca on Nov 5. Calbraith Percy Rodgers covered the 4321 miles in 82 hours and 2 minutes with seventy landings. Now part of the National Air & Space Museum.

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Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions, LLC
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