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Last of its kind Supermarine Spitfire to be auctioned for charity at Christie’s

Questa estate, per commemorare il 75 ° anniversario della Battaglia di Francia e d’Inghilterra, Christie’s è orgogliosa di presentare un pezzo unico e straordinario della storia britannica: un autentico e perfettamente restaurato Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1A – P9374 / G-MK1A. Questo magnifico Spitfire oltre ad essere un aeroplano di rara bellezza fu tra le più efficienti macchine da guerra che contribuirono a salvare la Gran Bretagna dagli assalti del III Reich nel 1940 e successivamente a vincere la Seconda Guerra Mondiale. L’asta avrà luogo il 9 luglio 2015, e la stima del velivolo è tra £ 1,500,000-2,500,000.

Ci sono solo due altri Mk.1 restaurati alla specifica originale e ancora in volo oggi: il P9374 e il N3200, entrambi appartenenti al filantropo e collezionista d’arte americano Thomas Kaplan. Questo esemplare sarà generosamente offerto a beneficio delle fondazioni RAF Benevolent Fund e Panthera, quest’ultimo uno dei principali fondi per la protezione della fauna selvatica. Lo Spitfire, una volta aggiudicato, andrà al Imperial War Museum di Duxford, come merita uno dei simboli più rappresentativi della resistenza nel secondo conflitto mondiale.

Nel mese di settembre 1980, il relitto dello Spitfire P9374 emerse dalle sabbie della spiaggia di Calais, dove si era schiantato dopo essere stato abbattuto il 24 maggio 1940 durante la battaglia aerea di Dunkerque. In realtà il pilota, il veterano di guerra Peter Cazenove, esegui un atterraggio d’emergenza sulla “pancia” del velivolo riuscendo a rimanere illeso. Addirittura si racconta che prima di atterrare mandò via radio un messaggio alla madre dicendo: “Dite a mia madre che sarò a casa per il tè…”. Uno stile decisamente coerente con il personaggio.

 

Cazenove è stato poi catturato e fatto prigioniero, mentre il suo Spitfire P9374 è stato lentamente consumato dalle maree e sommerso con il tempo più in profondità nella sabbia. Purtroppo, Cazenove non ha potuto assistere al recupero del velivolo poiché è morto poco prima dell’evento.

Subito dopo il recupero lo Spitfire fu trasferito prima al Musée d’l’Air di Le Bourget, a Parigi, e in seguito presso l’Aircraft Restoration Company / Historic Flying Ltd. a Duxford, dove è stato riportato al funzionamento. Dodici tecnici altamente qualificati hanno trascorso tre anni per quello che è considerato essere il restauro più riuscito di un Mk.1 Spitfire fino ad oggi. Il velivolo, una volta terminato il restauro, è tornato a volare per la prima volta dalla seconda guerra mondiale, il 1 ° settembre 2011. Ai comandi, John Romain pilota e ingegnere capo presso la Aircraft Restoration Company.

Dice Thomas Kaplan: “Quando il mio grande amico d’infanzia, Simon Marsh, ed io abbiamo intrapreso questo progetto, il nostro obbiettivo era rendere omaggio a coloro che Churchill chiamava the Few, ovvero i pochi piloti che erano tutto ciò che si trovava tra l’oblio Hitleriano e ciò che era rimasto della civiltà. Questo progetto è più di ogni altra cosa un chiaro gesto di gratitudine dedicato a coloro che hanno prevalso in una delle battaglie più cruciali della storia moderna”.

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Auction times: 9 July – The Exceptional Sale 2015 – London, King Street

Viewing times: 23–24 May – VE Day Anniversary Air Show – IWM Duxford – Cambridgeshire – CB22 4QR

Book a ticket online at iwm.org.uk 4–9 July Churchill War Rooms Clive Steps King Charles Street London SW1A 2AQ

Contact: Nic McElhatton nmcelhatton@christies.com +44 (0) 7752 3290


Last of its kind Supermarine Spitfire to be auctioned for charity

P9374, one of only two original Mk. 1 Spitfires to still be flying, is to be donated by the American entrepreneur and philanthropist who masterminded its painstaking restoration, and offered in the Exceptional Sale on 9 July

This summer, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain, Christie’s London is proud to present a unique and remarkable piece of British history at auction: an authentic and immaculately restored Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1A – P9374/G-MK1A.

This Spitfire, a thing of beauty but also an iconic war machine that helped save Britain in 1940, and ultimately to win the Second World War, will be offered in The Exceptional Sale on 9 July 2015, with an estimate of £1,500,000-2,500,000. For more on the history of Spitfire P9374 and the remarkable story of its painstaking restoration, see our full interactive documentary presentation, featuring videos, interviews and picture galleries.

There are only two remaining Mk.1 models restored to the original specification and still flying today, P9374 and N3200, both belonging to the American philanthropist and art collector Thomas Kaplan. As part of a generous gift, Spitfire P9374 will be sold at Christie’s to benefit the RAF Benevolent Fund and Panthera, a leading wildlife conservation charity. Spitfire N3200 will be going to the Imperial War Museum Duxford. ‘As history tells us all,’ says Kaplan, ‘there comes a time when one simply has to step up… to act with passion, and to remember with gratitude the few that actually do.’

Explore the full story of the discovery and reconstruction of Spitfire P9374. This interactive documentary goes behind the scenes at Duxford Aerodrome to follow its extraordinary restoration. Image courtesy of the Peter R Arnold Collection

In September 1980 the wreckage of Spitfire P9374 emerged from the sands of Calais beach where it had crash-landed after being shot down on 24 May 1940 during the air battle of Dunkirk. Flying Officer Peter Cazenove, later a veteran of the ‘Great Escape’, was flying the aircraft when it was attacked and hit. Before executing his belly-landing on Calais beach, Cazenove had radioed that he was OK, adding, ‘Tell mother I’ll be home for tea!’

Cazenove was soon captured and taken as a Prisoner of War, while Spitfire P9374 was consumed by successive tides and sunk deeper into the sands. Sadly, Cazenove passed away shortly before the recovery of his aircraft.

Post-recovery the Spitfire went first to the Musée d’l’Air at Le Bourget, Paris, and subsequently to further collections until the parts eventually ended up with the Aircraft Restoration Company / Historic Flying Ltd. at Duxford, who have since brought this remarkable Spitfire back to life. Twelve highly skilled engineers have spent three years carrying out what is considered to be the most authentic restoration of an original Mk.1 Spitfire to date, incorporating many components from the original plane into the build.

The completed aircraft successfully returned to flight for the first time since the Second World War on September 1, 2011. It was flown by John Romain, Pilot and Chief Engineer at the Aircraft Restoration Company, who later remarked, ‘This is a fantastic restoration to be justifiably proud of. Spitfire P9374 is a truly lovely aircraft, and she flies beautifully.’

Says Thomas Kaplan: ‘When my great childhood friend, Simon Marsh, and I embarked upon this project, it was to pay homage to those who [Winston] Churchill called “the Few”, the pilots who were all that stood between Hitler’s darkness and what was left of civilisation. The upcoming events of July 9th are, more than anything else, concrete gestures of gratitude and remembrance for those who prevailed in one of the most pivotal battles in modern history.’

Auction times: 9 July – The Exceptional Sale 2015 – London, King Street

Viewing times: 23–24 May – VE Day Anniversary Air Show – IWM Duxford – Cambridgeshire – CB22 4QR

Book a ticket online at iwm.org.uk 4–9 July Churchill War Rooms Clive Steps King Charles Street London SW1A 2AQ

Contact: Nic McElhatton nmcelhatton@christies.com +44 (0) 7752 3290

 

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