DescriptionAviation History: Vin Fiz Flyer Ephemera. We are pleased to present numerous lots related to the first cross-country flight by an airplane that occurred in 1911. In brief, William Randolph Hearst offered a $50,000 prize for the first pilot to fly cross country in thirty days start-to-finish. Calbraith Perry Rodgers, a pilot with only 90 minutes of instruction from none other than Orville Wright, took up the challenge. He purchased a Wright Model B, modified and christened the Model EX, and obtained a sponsor, J. Ogden Armour, of meat packing fame. Armour used the event to advertise his grape soft drink "Vin Fiz", so the Model EX was designated the "Vin Fiz Flyer". The plane was accompanied by a support crew that traveled by car and train. The trip began on September 17, 1911 in Brooklyn and ended in Pasadena on November 9th, well-past the time limit set by Hearst. It stopped 75 times along the way and crashed 16 times, necessitating many repairs and replacements. The material in this archive was collected by an ancestor of the consignor, James J. Dunn, Jr., a chauffeur assigned to Mr. C. Meeker, representative of Armour & Company, the corporate sponsor.
The lot includes eleven items, namely: 1) Dunn's 1911 New York State driver's license with his photo and signature on the verso. 2) Dunn's driver's license renewal card for 1912. 3) An 8-page booklet by pilot Rodgers titled "Story of My Flying... From Coast to Coast". 4 & 5) A December 28, 1911 letter and envelope to Dunn from vaudevillian H. Sanger expressing regret he did not see Dunn at his performance. 6 & 7) A October 26, 1911 envelope and letter to "Mr. C. P. Rodgers Aviator" from W. W. Bogel of Marfa, Texas (president of the Commercial Club) giving directions to Rodgers on his proposed landing at a stockyard west of town. 8) A 4" x 2" slip of paper that Rodgers threw from his cockpit while in flight titled "Greetings from the Sky" advertising both the flight and Vin Fiz. 9 & 10) Two identical envelopes made to hold a "Donation to the Cal. P. Rodgers Ocean to Ocean Flight Monument Fund" (to be erected in 25 years). 11) A 3.5" x 6.75" menu for the "Farewell Dinner C. P. Rodgers and His Vin Fiz Flight" at the Hotel Maryland in Pasadena on November 7, 1911 (loss to corners). Condition varies... most items show wear commensurate with age. Please refer to posted image.
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