503rd AAF Base unit: Presentation cast propeller from a Mitsubishi naval Bomber G4M (betty). Washington, DC, 1945.
Lot 1251W
503rd AAF Base unit: Presentation cast propeller from a Mitsubishi naval Bomber G4M (betty).
Washington, DC, 1945.
US$ 6,000 - 8,000
£ 4,400 - 5,800

Amended

Voices of the 20th Century

6 Dec 2017, 13:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
503rd AAF Base unit: Presentation cast propeller from a Mitsubishi naval Bomber G4M (betty). Washington, DC, 1945.
503rd AAF Base unit: Presentation cast propeller from a Mitsubishi naval Bomber G4M (betty).
Washington, DC, 1945. A gold colored cast metal presentation propeller, 1,650 mm high, inscribed "To Colonel Frank Collins from the officers of his Command 503 AAF Base Unit, 2 June 1945", signed by 115 officers, the signatures in relief. Some light wear to the edges, a few light abrasions.

The 503rd AAF was based out of Washington National, and were the official carrier of the President and other high ranking people (a forerunner to Air Force One). Presumably a wooden Betty propeller had been available at the airbase from which a cast was taken, and signatures of the officers applied as a lasting memorial to Collins's service. One of the signatories is Major E. Dryer, who piloted the first American plane into Berlin with General Dean on board for the signing of the German Surrender document in May 1945.

Saleroom notices

  • The Propeller is a rare original aluminum alloy propeller from a Mitsubishi naval bomber G4M (Betty) with Japanese marks on the base, which has been inscribed with the signatures of the officers of the 503rd AAF base in Washington DC ("The Brass Hat Unit", a forerunner to Airforce One), using a vibrating engraver that bites into the metal, creating original signatures, the propeller has been finally anodized in bronze/gold. It was a farewell presentation gift on the occasion of the retirement of their Commanding Officer Colonel Frank Collins and has the engraved date June 6, 1945.
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