Stunning Original NC-4 Relics from one of the Original Crew Members.
This is one of the most intriguing historic early aviation lots that I have had the opportunity to work with, and thought I should share it on the forum before it goes back into private hands. It has been buried in a private collection since given to the current owner by Walter Hinton himself in the late 1970s, a couple of years before his death.
For those that are familiar with the NC-4 Flight in May of 1919, you may understand how significant this flight was at the time. The 1st Transatlantic Crossing by Air… While Lindbergh was the 1st to fly the route Solo 8 years later, this was the First Time an aircraft made that voyage successfully. Four Planes were built by the Glenn Curtiss Aircraft Company, supported by the U.S. Navy, for the attempt (NC-1, NC-2/used for testing only, NC-3, and Only the NC-4 was successful in completing the mission.) Lt. JG Walter Hinton was one of the 2 NC-4 Pilots on the Successful Transatlantic Flight.
There is a great deal written about the mission, initially put together by Richard Byrd, Glenn Curtiss, and Walter Hinton (In his own words, he was the “Most Famous Guy you’ve never heard of…” ), although a number were given credit. At the time he was a “Rockstar” and the equivalent of the Early Astronauts. Not until Charles Lindbergh made his 1927 flight did Hinton start to fade from memories. Lt. Hinton was truly a significant player in the Golden Age of Aviation.
He was actively flying well into the 1930s, and also known as the pilot of an aerial mapping expedition of the Amazon River in Brazil as part of the Rice Scientific Expedition in 1924–1925. Hinton, the last surviving member of the NC-4′s crew, passed away in 1981, just short of his 93rd Birthday.
This lot has a couple of notable components, the Key Piece being an Original Gold Plated and Monogramed Cigarette Case that he actually carried across the Atlantic on the NC-4 Flight in 1919. Another significant item is one of the Rare Cased Private Presentation Bronze Table Medallions that Glenn Curtiss gave to the players at a special dinner in NY City, shortly after the flight in July 1919. There are also 2 Original “Brownie” size Photos of the NC-4 in the water around the time of the mission, Personal Family Images with a classic daguerreotype image of his father and 3 other soldiers in uniform, 16 First Day Covers for Events he headlined in the late 1920s-early 1930s (5 of which are signed by Hinton…), and Original Newspaper Article and Obit. Clipping from the 1970s-80s. The Provenance is Ironclad, with a Personally Signed and Notarized Letter on an Original Sheet of Walter Hinton’s Personal 1930s Exchange Club Stationary, transferring the Cigarette Case, listed by Serial Number inside it, to the current owner in 1978.
This Cigarette Case appears to be the Only Known Personal Item in private hands that was actually on the crossing flight… and that may even include museums and crew families. As each guy in the 6 Man Crew was only allowed to carry 7 pounds, including their uniforms, they were allowed little to nothing in “carry on”, and as such, there was little to nothing carried across on the flight. The Actual NC-4 Plane and the majority of Hinton’s Medals, Awards, Documents, etc. are in Pensacola’s Naval Air Museum, including his Navy Cross Received for this flight, and the Congressional Gold Medal given to the Overall Commander and the 6 NC-4 Crew Members.
Please feel free to contact me directly if you would like more information on this group, as well as comparing notes on any other relics you may have seen over the years, relating to this mission.
There is also an Excellent thread on the Forum, with great information and images of the 1st Transatlantic Flight.
The Private Dinner at the Commodore Hotel in NY City, in July 1919, where Glenn Curtiss gave out the Cased Bronze Presentation Medallions...
Edited by WittWorldWide.com, 24 September 2014 - 08:57 PM.