A Spitfire soars

Spitfire smashes £1.5 million pre-sale estimate and soars to sell for £3.1 million for charity in London

 

Yesterday, a world record was set when an original, airworthy Spitfire sold for more than double its £1.5 million lower pre-sale estimate at Christie’s in London’s South Kensington.

 

A Spitfire soars - Thomas Kaplan Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mark 1A – P9374/G-MK1A World War II British fighter aircraft sells for charity for £3.1 million at Christie's in London, 9th July 2015
American entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Kaplan with the Spitfire outside the Cabinet War Rooms on 3rd July 2015

A Spitfire soars - Thomas Kaplan Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mark 1A – P9374/G-MK1A World War II British fighter aircraft sells for charity for £3.1 million at Christie's in London, 9th July 2015
The plane in the air (© John Dibbs, 2011; Christies Images Ltd., 2015)

A Spitfire soars - Thomas Kaplan Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mark 1A – P9374/G-MK1A World War II British fighter aircraft sells for charity for £3.1 million at Christie's in London, 9th July 2015
The plane on Calais Beach in May 1940 (© Peter R Arnold Collection; Christies Images Ltd., 2015)

 

Displayed outside the Cabinet War Rooms for the past week, the Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mark 1A – P9374/G-MK1A World War II British fighter aircraft was shot down during the evacuation of Dunkirk on 24th May 1940 and was found absorbed under the sands in 1980. Its pilot, Peter Cazenove, sadly did not live to see it recovered.

 

Described as “authentic and immaculately restored”, the plane was auctioned to benefit the RAF Benevolent Fund as well as the wildlife charities Panthera, WildCRU and Stop Ivory by the American businessman and philanthropist Thomas Kaplan and his wife, Daphne.

 

Of the result, Mr Kaplan commented:

 

“Daphne and I are overwhelmed and thrilled with the outcome of the auction, which has vastly exceeded our expectations. We cannot speak highly enough of the Christie’s team for the passion with which they approached this project…the results of which speak for themselves”.

 

“The knowledge that P9374 has found a fine home, combined with the return of N3200 earlier today to the Imperial War Museum Duxford, marks the end of a profound journey of remembrance for us, and the family of our great friend and partner Simon Marsh”.

 

“When we all embarked upon this project, it was to pay homage to those who Churchill called ‘the Few’, the pilots who were all that stood between Hitler’s darkness and what was left of civilization”.

 

“[Yesterday’s] events 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. The return to Duxford of N3200, which was itself piloted by the heroic Commander of RAF Duxford, and which took place earlier today in the presence of HRH the Duke of Cambridge, is an act of love for Britain that began with my and Simon’s mutual passion for aircraft and desire to enshrine a British legacy”.

 

“The sale of P9374 for charity is likewise an opportunity to share that passion with others and to benefit causes that have moved us since boyhood. The RAF Benevolent Fund represents a way to honor that breed who gave so much for Britain when its existence was imperiled”.

 

“History tells us all that 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. And so it is with full hearts that we congratulate the buyers at the auction, as well as the Imperial War Museum, for their new acquisitions… and the wonderful causes which will be the recipients of these truly extraordinary auction proceeds”.

 

The Spitfire sold for £3.1 million ($4.8 million or €4.3 million) against a pre-sale estimate of £1.5 million to £2.5 million ($2.3 million to $3.9 million; €2.1 million to €3.5 million). The previous world record price auction was set in 2009 when a Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire Tr. Mark IX Monoplane Fighter Trainer sold for £1.7 million ($2.6 million or €2.4 million).

 

 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Shame on this rich individual for focusing on animals rather than missing children like Madeleine McCann. Mr Kaplan should have donated a percentage at least of this large sum to Find Madeleine and to help dear Gerry and Kate McCann find their beloved daughter. Find Madeleine, Find Madeleine now.

  2. Now this is what I call a good deed. What a wonderful man Thomas Kaplan is. The Spitfire is as stunning today as when it was built. To honour “the Few” pilots to battle the oppressors, then restore it to its former glory and return it to Duxford. Not surprised it fetched £3.1m and the proceeds going to wildlife charities and RAF Ben Fund, it doesn’t get better than that! A very good deed indeed!

  3. Thinking about it….the price of the Spitfire seems so little compared to its beauty and place in history: especially considered against the ugly looking Maserati which I would be ashmaed to be seen in.

  4. Gillian……this is fantastic – the McCanns are different; they behaved in an appalling and unseemly way; as do you….boring, boring and McBoring and his ghastly blush making wife………..not to mention you…..pip pip

  5. I met an old chap who was offered a complete Spitfire off the back of a lorry on the way to the scrapyard for £20 just after the war, if he is still alive I bet he wished he had taken up the offer! That said, it is indeed surprising that it didn’t fetch more, if a 250 GTO Ferrari is worth £10-15 million why isn’t a Spitfire worth at least that?

  6. I’ve spent time with Tom Kaplan. He is an extraordinary enthusiast for all his passions and a delightful chap to boot. He is a little overwhelming though in his support for Jewish issues. On this gesture with the Spitfire. I am delighted. Bravo!

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