Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The world's biggest collection of airship memorabilia goes on sale.

David Kirch, from Jersey, is selling his lifetime collection of Zeppelin memorabilia at the auctioneer Wallis and Wallis in Lewes, Sussex. "There are 15 tonnes of items," said auctioneer assistant Geoff Wood. In BBC News 21 March 2012

 The world's biggest collection of airship memorabilia goes on sale.

In The Telegraph

( ...) But the 75-year-old, who hoped to offer the public rides on airships at the attraction, never got around to finishing the project and is now selling it all at auction. The total collection weighs an incredible 15 tons and the auction house selling it has had to hire extra storage space for it.

The collection is so big it is having to be sold over four sales at Wallis and Wallis auction rooms in Lewes, East Sussex. Experts expect the total sum for all the lots will be more than a million pounds. Mr Kirch, a wealthy property dealer who lives on Jersey, intends to give the proceeds to charity.

The businessman, who has never travelled in an airship due to a fear of heights, said: "A friend of mine had a collection of envelopes that had been flown on an airship. He was short of money so I bought them and that's how it all started - back in 1968. After that I became fascinated with airships and I bought anything to do with any airship.

"I love collecting and I used to go around car boot sales and antique shops and attend sales. I had intended to open a museum to show my collection off and I bought a huge hangar at Cardington in Bedfordshire - which was the former base of the UK airship industry - to put it all in. It was one of those things you dream up, but I never got around to it because I was working on my business.

"There is a Zeppelin museum in Germany, but that has much bigger things, such as engines. I wanted to make a museum it had to appeal to everybody so there are children's things and jokey things. But now I'm too old so I'm selling it. All the money will go to charity - to the elderly on Jersey."

Mr Kirch has kept his collection in his home in Jersey and the aircraft hangar he bought. Some of the photos in his collection show commercial and military types of airship and highlight the size of the industry that came to an end before World War Two. The British industry effectively ended in 1930 with the crash of R101, the world's biggest airship. It was on its way to India when it crashed in France with the loss of 48 out of 54 of those on board. The Germans continued with their industry, but the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 was the beginning of the end of commercial airship travel.

No comments: