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Thread: Loft trophies.

  1. #1
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    Loft trophies.

    Many people on this forum profess to being aviation enthusiasts. Indeed, that's why most of us are here. Over the years many have boasted that they own, or look after, several bits of aviation heritage that they store in their loft.
    I know that many people hoard stuff, for it never to see the light of day again, and lots of parts find their way to the tip (generally after the passing of the enthusiast).
    Can I ask that either you donate your available aviation belongings to a museum now before you pass on, or sell/hand them to a concern so that more may enjoy them. It seems such a waste for such treasured possessions to be squandered away from appreciative eyes.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    An excellent idea, although perhaps - if people don't want to do this - could they perhaps just put a note in the item's packaging explaining what it is and asking that it should be sent to an aviation museum. That way it's historic interest might be recognised. Anyone with a heart will probably comply with the wish, anyone more materialistic motives will probably try to sell it. Either way it might reduce the risk of the item being simply thrown away. Just a thought.....

  3. #3
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    "To an aviation museum"? Sorry but by doing that chances are that A; it'll go into storage never to be seen again or B; it'll just be scrapped or 'disappear' completely at a later date.

    There is of course room for both museums and individual collectors, but IMO when it comes to smaller pieces or collections, private collectors are far more likely to show such items at places like Cockpitfest than a larger museum would that is already struggling with display space!

    Just my twopenneth.



    Rob

  4. #4
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    While many museums are good, from experience things can disappear to another loft, or sold out of the back door, why I don't loan either I have just bought a collection from a late friend, it isn't always thrown away.

    I personally have compiled a list with values and my next of kin will deal with it
    Officially now a pensioner

  5. #5
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    Museums just can't be trusted. Sadly, things just disappear never to be seen again if they don't 'float the boat' of the current transient incumbent in charge.

    Andy

  6. #6
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    I've donated many documents and drawings to the local museum as the workshop of the old family engineering business has been recreated there, seemed appropriate to keep it all together.

    The only aviation artefact I have now is a 1929 copy of Flight magazine which is the Schneider Trophy souvenir issue, together with a page torn from the Radio Times where the course times have noted in pencil on a table by someone tuned in to the wireless at the time. As the S6A (later converted to S6B) which competed in the 1929 competition is on display at Solent Sky it's promised to them, just haven't had time this year to get down to Southampton to hand it over.

  7. #7
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    I would suggest that not everything that was once part of an aeroplane is worth keeping, and the tip is probably the best place for a lot of it.
    Work! You don't know what work is. When I was a boy...

  8. #8
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    In view of the concerns expressed about what some museums may do with small artefacts if donated, maybe it would be better for individuals to offer them on long term loan with a formal agreement, properly documented and accompanied by photographs and, possibly, a valuation. Then if the museum acts in a cavalier fashion, the individual may have some comeback - unless it's only when the museum folds, and its trustees are winding it up, that one discovers that one's loan item has disappeared without trace! In many ways, maybe one is better off retaining one's collection oneself, during one's lifetime, and making a will instructing one's executors to sell the artefacts at auction and making a legacy in the sum of the proceeds of sale to one's favoured museum.

  9. #9
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    Sideslip, a few years ago on this very forum I suggested that private collectors would give a home to items that museums wouldn't touch - and was subsequently shouted down by someone who thought his opinion mattered more than mine. In the intervening years what I have both seen and heard means that I stand by what I said. Scraps of metal or parts mean more to private collectors such as myself with individual projects and to relatives of deceased airmen than they ever will to large museums.

    I just wish that those items not wanted by organisations or museums - especially unwanted items from restorations, would actually be offered on the open market before being junked and lost forever.


    Rob

  10. #10
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    There are always other avenues with this. I have a pretty random collection of aviation items covering the whole gambit from high tech military to civvy promotional items, some of the things I acquire at the point where I'm their last chance before getting skipped. Generally they are cleaned and conserved and restored if they are beyond the point their patina can be saved. A couple of times a year I'll see a project which needs something I have but don't need so I donate. Newark Air Museum provides a great platform for us private collectors to bring our kit and get it displayed for the public to see and I always try and bring something each time that hasn't seen the light of day for a long while. The last couple of years I have taken panels from XW666 which ditched in the Moray Firth, the panels as you can imagine are totally wrecked but they are exactly as they were removed from the aircraft. They had been skipped and the chap I got them from rescued them, I bought them because although they are essentially scrap they have one hell of a story to tell and are more talked about than the tidy panels I show. Then again I have given a home to a British Airways enamel potty!

  11. #11
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    A lot of of collectibles and aviation artefacts are preserved and in existence purely because of private collectors. For example the enthusiast who years back had the initiative to venture down to a scrap yard and remove items (with permission) before the aircraft was smelted. Anything in private collectors hands must surely be private property and they can do as they wish with it, even if it means being stored in a loft.

    For example -
    https://forum.keypublishing.com/show...97#post2409397
    Last edited by Runway06; 9th September 2017 at 19:12.

  12. #12
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    The few artefacts I've acquired over the years have memories personal to me and have been hidden away from view for years. One such example is a British Eagle branded Marvel dried milk sachet which was retained as a keepsake following a flight from Spain in 1968 in Bristol Britannia G-AVOT, the first time I'd flown on a commercial flight.

    This same aeroplane forms part of the Duxford Aircraft Society's classic British airliners collection albeit in Monarch Airlines livery. So last year the two were reunited! The sachet can now be seen in the collection of artefacts at the rear of the cabin!

  13. #13
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    The instincts of private collectors should be trusted far more than professional museums; after all, it is their own time and (often considerable sums of) money that they are devoting to their hobby...

    ...and, as has been said, private individuals often preserve things no museum would even look at!

    So, while these things may 'never see the light of day', that is hardly the fault of the very few people who did take the time, trouble and money, to collect them in the first place; after all, without them, these things probably wouldn't exist at all!

    The other point, about ensuring these artefacts aren't junked when their owner dies, is an important one but, thanks to the likes of Google and eBay (and savvy house-clearers), I'd say that there is far less chance of 'valuable' artefacts being lost these days.....and more chance of them being 'found'...

    ...plus, I'm sure the families of most collectors are only too aware of the cost / value of the 'hoard'!
    Last edited by Creaking Door; 9th September 2017 at 21:21.
    WA$.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mkke1275
    Newark Air Museum provides a great platform for us private collectors to bring our kit and get it displayed for the public to see and I always try
    In the early 1970's I donated one of my loft trophies to Newark Air Museum.

    It was the control column from the Percival P.74, XK889, that was being scrapped at Luton when I jut happened to be cycling by, circa 1959. The scrapper 'gas axed' it off for me and I strapped it to my crossbar.

    I wonder if it got labelled and what became of it.

    Mark

    "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney…"

  15. #15
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    The other point, about ensuring these artefacts aren't junked when their owner dies, is an important one but, thanks to the likes of Google and eBay (and savvy house-clearers), I'd say that there is far less chance of 'valuable' artefacts being lost these days.....and more chance of them being 'found'...
    Whilst this might hold true for substantial artefacts, I fear that it is not necessarily the case for documentary material. I wonder how many 'paper' collections have failed to survive the demise of the collector, because executors, family, house clearers, etc. haven't the time or the inclination to wade through files of documentation and, instead, simply put these into the paper recycling bins. I seem to recollect that chumpy can tell a tale that bears this out.

  16. #16
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    I take your point about papers, but when was this ever not the case? At least with the internet it is possible to get an almost instant 'valuation' or an identification on a iPhone without the person holding the artefact next to the skip having to go to too much effort. That alone must have saved countless artefacts.
    WA$.

  17. #17
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    My grandfather had an extensive model railway in his loft. One section of it was controlled, in part, by four two-way switches that were apparently 'from a bomber' and purchased just after the war. Unfortunately I don't know where these ended up, but I think they probably ended up in the skip. Having had a look at Lancaster bomb arming/releasing control panels via Google, the switches look similar. In fact I wonder if my grandfather simply purchased a cut down section of one of these units.

    My broader point here is that some aviation artifacts simply don't look like aviation artifacts to anybody beyond the hyper-knowledgeable, so the risk is that when an elderly relative passes away this stuff is simply seen as obsolete electronics, or similar, and binned accordingly. On the other hand how valuable are four switches from a bomber, or even some of the smaller or more generic parts overall? Plus, some of the reasoning in this thread makes the assumption that museums necessarily handle and conserve artifacts better than private collectors.

    It would be interesting to know what is believed to be out there in the private collections that isn't in general circulation. I mentioned the rumour about the TSR-2 front section in the Hanningfield thread (admittedly the front half of a TSR-2 wouldn't fit in most lofts). There is the cockpit collection in Rayleigh that is largely undocumented on the web, with no recent photographs of the cockpits and none of them in their current location, for example.

  18. #18
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    That's the problem really; all of these 'priceless' artefacts are actually 'junk'...

    ...except to those that collect them (and who are perhaps willing to pay large sums of money for them)!
    WA$.

  19. #19
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    In response to post #14 by Mark12.

    A few months ago I had recourse to look through Newark Air Museum’s early acquisition register, but I do not recall a Percival P.74 control column being listed. I will try to remember to check again the next time I have a need to look in that register.

    I suspect that it’s a case of different time, different individuals and different standards of acquisition documentation; certainly in current times the more rigorous obligations of Accredited Museum status put a greater responsibility on such document trails being tied to individual objects. It’s also a fact that a lot more items are declined now days than they ever were before.

    It’s also perhaps worth noting that back in the early 1970s NAM ‘lost’ a lot of control columns and stick tops from its own aircraft, like the Prentice and Meteor FR.9; I suspect there were individuals involved at that time who thought it their right to take these items for themselves.
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  20. #20
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    On first read, I found the OP post somewhat offensive and cheeky. Over the years, I've had forumites tell what I should do including scrap your cockpits and give the money to something more deserving. I Realise the OP intention was not that. Like all collectors, I do have stuff that is not seen, though I try to display most of the collection at the museum, Cockpitfest and other displays. Social media now allows us to have virtual museums too

  21. #21
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    Not a bad idea Rocketeer, Maybe we should create a virtual museum amongst this forum or easier still a thread to show what is stored in our lofts and sheds. That way it can all go on show for all to see....

  22. #22
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    Just a few points from me. I certainly intend to dispose of most of my collection as I get older but that is decades away however if something unexpected was to happen to me then my wife knows the significance of everything and will act appropriately. As to a virtual museum, I share photos of my cockpits on the web but not of too many smaller items, my address is not that hard to find and I'm wary of targeted theft (possibly unjustified).

    On the other side of the coin how many museums have large amounts of aircraft parts and other items sitting in a storage facility / shed / out the back of the hangar that will never be displayed or used which could help a private collector progress their project or improve a collection. Nearly every person I know who is undertaking a major project is aware of something they need sitting in a store at a museum, sometimes multiples of said item, yet these parts are off limits to private people for love or money.

    Paul
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  23. #23
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    I agree with the OP, but am also cognizant of the realities museums face...they can't keep/display/use a great deal of what they're given.

    Recently I went to a local veterans museum and they sell donated books. I bought an old book by William Green (his works were almost all that was available when I was young, hence a bit of nostalgia). The asking price was $1.99. No bad for a book in excellent condition.
    In the back was a receipt from a used book store who sold it in 2011 (presumably to the person who donated it to the Museum) for $25.00.

    While donating items for the museum to sell is one way of drawing down our collections, perhaps a better way would be to sell the items online where you might get a better price...and then donating the money to the Museum or group.

    My wife is after me to figure out what to do with my books (including a complete collection of the Putnam manufacturers series and autographed volumes by everyone from Orville Wright and Lindbergh to Neil Armstrong) and manufacturer's desk models. Ideally, it would be great to give them to one entity, but I'm not holding my breath.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  24. #24
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    what stuff do you intend disposing of? sad to hear...

  25. #25
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    the realities museums face...they can't keep/display/use a great deal of what they're given.
    I'm sure with larger museums there's a great deal more held in storage than is actually on view and that's certainly the case with the Science Museum. There's a treasure trove of fascinating machinery and equipment including many rare aviation treats at their facility at Wroughton which the general public is now denied access to. I used to be a regular visitor there a couple of decades back but sadly the occasional open days no longer take place. And many of these hidden artefacts were donated.

  26. #26
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    "what stuff do you intend disposing of? sad to hear..."

    Hi brataccas, I'm not certain you were referring to my post but if so when I say 'dispose' I mean sell, donate and gift rather than throw out.

    Paul
    Facebook: Aussie Cockpits

  27. #27
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    I have a huge amount of loft trophies that I would display if I had the ability but not being able to drive makes it difficult. That said, they do go out now and again, I've loaned a late 30s/early 40s set of flying clothing to a school in Norfolk. I loaned some panels for copying to someone in Germany, the first lot came back but the second lot never did.

    However. Imminent old age and health issues have made it clear that I need to start looking at disposal. Some of it can go on evilbay with no worries but some "groupings" were sold to me very cheaply on the basis that I wouldn't split them up and sell the items separately, these are causing me some pain. What do I do with them to be as sure as I can that they will remain together? Museums won't pay me the cost of them. To take an extreme example, one group is a pilot's life story, all his uniforms, his log books, medals, flying suits, trophies, souvenirs, photos, even his school reports. if you have principles this all becomes very difficult. I don't want to give the stuff away becasue that will deprive my family of money that might otherwise have been spent on them.

  28. #28
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    A while ago I had some of my junk framed as here. There are two cloth squadron badges for flying overalls, a gash medal I got for drinking Stella, a nav badge and an old photo. This, together with my 2 log books is about all I have to show for my time in the mob, and I wonder if I should ask my boys what they intend to do with them.

    Man is not lost. Only temporarily uncertain of his position.

  29. #29
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    That is a fantastic little display, Peter, and I'm sure your boys would be proud to own that when the time comes - if not then I certainly would . Maybe even a signature bottom left would add your own personal touch for them.

    It's little records like this that should be displayed on a wall, whether in a house or maybe a pub wall as they make a great talking point.



    Rob

  30. #30
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    Ive thought about this, and I think all I would say is that if you have anything that might be of more than just sentimental value, then let friends or family know what it is, and perhaps they could then make sure it goes somewhere where it can continue to be appreciated. In some cases, a museum might be a good place for it - in others, another collector might be looking for just that thing.

    A couple of people have contacted me in recent years and asked if I would be so kind, in the event of their passing, to help sort out their collections, just so it doesn't end up in the local tip.


    Bruce

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