Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Wright Brothers' Plane Fabric Swatch With Lester D. Gardner Document Signed, framed to an overall size of 8.75" x 10.75". This imprinted statement of authenticity is inscribed to Walter Bookins and reads as follows: "Original Fabric From Kitty Hawk 'Wright Flyer' Certification for Walter Bookins' When Orville Wright, at my suggestion, assembled the Kitty Hawk machine for the first time, in 1916, at the opening of the new buildings of M.I.T. in Cambridge, he found that the original fabric could not be used and substituted new fabric of the identical material. When he died, his executors found that he had preserved some of the original coverings of the wings and entrusted several pieces of this most valuable relic to me for distribution to notable aeronautical friends. I certify that this piece was used in the first successful flight in history by Orville Wright on December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, N.C.". The frame's back panel further reads in print, "I send you with certification what I regard as the most valuable relic in aeronautical history. As very few of these relics can be presented and as they would always be a rare collectors item, I hope that you will have the gift framed with the certification and carefully preserved so that it will never get into the possession of anyone but you. And when you pass on, I hope that you will see that it remains in your family as Orville Wright would never have wanted it to be commercialized. "This entire production is lightly toned and in very fine condition. Lester Gardner, a pioneer aviator, obviously took his charge as caretaker of the swatches quite seriously. The recipient of this piece, Walter R. Bookins, was the first pilot trained by the Wright Brothers. He went on to become the first instructor at the Wright Flying School and personally set numerous flying records before World War I. From the collection of Cliff

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2007
    20th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 29
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,550

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold on Sep 20, 2007 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 2 days left to consign to the 2021 September 25 - 26 Including the Mahoney Collection of George Washington Inaugural Buttons. Americana & Political Signature Auction!

    Learn about consigning with us

    The pre and post sales experience was wonderful and flawless. Heritage has the best in-house operation I have ever seen and their people are not only professional but fun to work with, especially Steve C.

    As for Heritage's online system… Yes the interface is more complex than what we are used to with SAN but what is behind that interface is amazing for sellers and buyers alike. It is real time and for a real serious auction buyer there is nothing better in the auction industry, bar none.
    Ron Cipolla,
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search