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celluloid Spirit of St. Louis

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    Posted 10 years ago

    stu
    (4 items)

    This is a celluloid Spirit of St Louis airplane that we purchased in Independence, MO about 25 years ago. The toy is 7" long, and the wingspan is 4 13/16".
    It looks to me as if it was a giveaway or premium, that was commemorating Lindbergh's flight, but the steamship is what baffles me. Was this a cruise that was in the Atlantic at the time of the historic flight?
    I have contacted the Lindbergh Society on several occasions, and none of their members has ever seen the toy, and can give me no information about it. One very nice member did direct me to a Smithsonian site that has an image of a very similar plane that is in their collection.
    If you have seen another like this one, or if you know of it's provenance, please post a reply.
    Thanks,
    Stu Neyland

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    Comments

    1. aycockonxion aycockonxion, 10 years ago
      What you have is a reproduction promotional toy. The steamboat is easy, believe it or not - St. Louis is on the Mississippi river, and the Mississippi river (and the entire city of St. Louis) is closely associated with steam ships. Prior to Lindbergh's flight, St. Louis was a "transportation" city that was generally associated with steamboats. An original 1930's toy would not have been riveted, and yours has a rivet right there in the middle of the "Spirit of St. Louis" emblem attaching the wing to the fuselage. This is definitely a '70s or '80s repop.
    2. stu, 10 years ago
      Thank you for your comments aycockonxion. They made me redouble my efforts to discover the true origin of the toy. I contacted a reputable dealer in St Louis who had a celluloid Spirit posted for sale, but he had sold the toy the previous week. I sent him pix however, and he strongly believes the toy to be period, and original. I also have been corresponding again with the Lindbergh Collectors Club, and at their request have been sending ever more detailed pix all morning. The gentleman who is corresponding with me has 300+ Spirit of St Louis small planes, adn has never seen this one. They also believe it to be an original period piece. One of the things that piqued my interest in the reproduction opinion is that the souvenir is definitely made of celluloid, and celluloid has not been widely used in this way since the 50's. Why would someone bother to have celluloid made in three colors, and produce this item? If it was a reproduction, they would have had to have made thousands of them; and as a toy collector for 40 years, I know there would have been many available to the market. I even considered that they were produced for the 50th anniversary in 1977, but the Lindbergh Club has no record of these being produced for that event. Anyway; I will not say "definitely" on this until I find out more from the Lindbergh people; as they are still researching the plane. But; if you have this piece, or know of someone who does, I would love to see the pix in this forum, along with proof of date and company of manufacture.

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