Dear Helaine and Joe:
This handkerchief was given away at the “Welcome Home” parade given for Capt. Charles A. Lindbergh to celebrate his solo trans-Atlantic flight made on May 20 and 21, 1927, from New York to Paris. It was a handout for the occasion, a giveaway. I believe this artifact should be insured and would like to know the value.
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born in Detroit on Feb. 4, 1902, but he spent much of his childhood in Little Falls, Minn. His father, Charles August Lindbergh, was a U.S. Congressman from Minnesota from 1907 to 1917, but he and Lindbergh’s mother separated in 1909.
We will skip over much of Lindbergh’s early life and pick up when he became a mail pilot for Robertson Aircraft Corporation of St. Louis, flying a contract air route for U.S. mail between St. Louis’ Lambert Field and Chicago’s Maywood Field with stops in Peoria and Springfield, Ill. His career began in October 1925. Twice between then and his historic flight to Paris in May 1927, Lindbergh had to bail out before his plane crashed.
Contrary to popular belief, Lindbergh was not the first person to fly across the Atlantic — in fact, he was the 19th. But, he was the first person to fly solo, nonstop across the long route for New York to Paris.
Lindbergh was at least partially in pursuit of the $25,000 Orteig Prize established by hotelier Raymond Orteig, who established the prize in 1919 for the first person to fly solo in either direction between Paris and New York. It is said that six other aviators lost their lives trying to claim the Orteig, but Lindbergh finally succeeded where others had failed.
Overnight, the boyish-looking, tall, slim aviator became an international superstar, and it is said the American public became obsessed with Lindbergh. As for the handkerchief in today’s question, it was probably obtained on June 13, 1927, when Lindbergh flew from Washington, D.C., to New York, where he landed at the Battery and then traveled up Broadway to City Hall, where he was met by then-Mayor Jimmy Walker.
Lindbergh then started a ticket tape parade that reportedly took him along Park Row, Centre Street and Lafayette Street to Astor Place. The parade then went west on Ninth Street to Fifth Avenue to 60th Street through Central Park to Central Park Mall, where he was greeted by Gov. Al Smith. It is said there were 200,000 waiting for Lindbergh in that spot, and that he was seen by approximately 4 million people that day.
The point here is these handkerchiefs could not have been given away to all those who turned out to the parade, and it is our opinion that these were souvenirs that could be purchased along the route. As for value, it’s about $150 if you want to sell it and $350 if you want to insure it.