Spitfire designer’s belongings up for auction

May 9, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

Treasured items owned by the British engineer who designed the iconic Spitfire fighter plane are going under the hammer at auction this week.

Inventor Reginald J Mitchell created 24 aircraft during his career but is best-remembered for his work on the Spitfire, which won the Battle of Britain during the Second World War.

He also designed the ”Supermarine S.6B” seaplane, which took home the prestigious Jacques Schneider Trophy in 1931 for top speed in an international race.

Mitchell was awarded with a silver-plated miniature of the giant trophy and the rare piece is up for auction at Dominic Winter Auctioneers in South Cerney, Glos., on May 13.

The figurine, which depicts the Spirit Of Flight descending to kiss the face of Neptune in the ocean waves, is expected to fetch #6,000 when it goes under the hammer.

Auctioneer Dominic Winter said: ”There can be no more important figure in the development of British aviation supremacy during the inter-war years than the aircraft designer R J Mitchell.

”What Mitchell learnt in terms of aircraft design while developing racing aircraft for the Schneider Trophy was to result in the legendary Spitfire of World War Two.”

Mitchell spent his career designing planes to be built at the Supermarine Aviation Works in Southampton, Hamps.

His trophy will be sold alongside other memorabilia including three recordings of him speaking in the wake of his Schneider win, expected to fetch £1,000.

Other lots include Mitchell’s briefcase, diaries, photographs and his contract of employment with the Supermarine Aviation Works Ltd which could fetch £1,000.

His possessions have come up for auction following the death of his son Gordon last year.

Mr Winter added: ”It’s an honour and privilege to be handling the sale of such historically important items on behalf of the Mitchell family.

”There will undoubtedly be serious international interest and a tremendous saleroom buzz for these lots of artefacts and documents which will quite likely fly beyond the total estimate of £15,000.”

Mitchell tragically died in 1937 before he saw the Spitfire fulfil its potential, but the aircraft became the backbone of the RAF Fighter Command in the Second World War.

Thanks to its innovative elliptical wing and thin cross-section the plane could fly faster and higher than most other fighters of the day, leading to its success.

The Mitchell lots are being sold in a Battle Of Britain 70th Anniversary Collectors Sale featuring hundreds of themed lots, with viewings on May 11th and 12th.

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