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What are Aviation Collectibles?

While many of our readers are avid collectors and very familiar with the value aviation collectibles, both monetary and in memory, some of you may be wondering what are aviation collectibles and memorabilia. From private collections, to hobbyist collections, to specific genres, aviation items share a part of history as we know it.

We would like to give you a little look into exactly what that is. The collectibles and memorabilia in the Aviation industry are expansive and represent the beginning of flight history. Collectibles may differ depending on the focus – commercial aviation, military, etc.

From the start of the WrightBrother’s embarking on their first flight, to the beginning of the passenger aviation service (1914), people have been collecting.  What have they been collecting you may ask- Everything from fine china to menus, to aviation equipment.

In the beginning years of flight, passengers were offered meals served on fine china, eaten with nice silverware, hydrated with sturdy glassware, and presented on menus. Menus stamped with the airline name or logo, as well as China and glassware made by very well known and reputable companies. Airline China was made lighter weight than the traditional household China. Not only was it lighter, it was also labeled by the airline with in which one traveled.  This being said, these pieces of China, glassware, and even menus are collectibles today.

Think beyond just dining on an aircraft. Think other onboard items, such as blankets, safety kits, ashtrays (when smoking on an aircraft was allowed), playing cards, cigarette lighters, magazines, fabrics from seats, stickers, wings (remember those wing broaches they used to have), and manuals. These items, much of what we see today have become the collectibles of yesteryear. The beginning of flight history set into motion a transformation of how people traveled. Collector’s today hold onto these items or seek these items because they were the beginning, and the continuous growth of how the aviation industry has transformed travel and so much more.

Now let’s take a look beyond the passenger items or onboard aircraft collector’s items.

Aviation Equipment. Any equipment used by airline staff. Emergency life vest, uniforms, badges, and in air equipment. The different positions, pilot to stewardess and ground staff, had different uniforms, name tags, etc. These are all collectibles today.

A few more randoms just to name a few…….

Post cards, calendars, mini models of aircraft, and other promotional/advertising items.

And of course there are the actual full aircraft carriers. A lot more rare, and a lot more expensive original, most in famous museums.

The Aviation Industry is a plays a huge role in history. Aspects from the first ashtray, to the wings that you were once given as a passenger are collections of this history.


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