Hindenburg airship disaster relics sold for £12,500


Two fire-damaged relics from infamous airship The Hindenburg have been sold for £12,500 at auction.

The hydrogen-filled craft - once billed as the future of commercial air-travel - burst into flames in New Jersey in the US at the end of a flight in 1937, killing more than 30 people.

A silver plated hollowware pitcher and serving tray which survived the disaster went under the hammer at Henry Aldridge & Son in Wiltshire.

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said both items generated plenty of interest from bidders - with the pitcher going for £5,500 while the tray fetched £7,000.

"They are truly fascinating items from one of the 20th Century's defining events," he added.

"The Hindenburg, the largest aircraft ever flown measuring over 800ft, was destroyed in a little over 90 seconds.

"The two items both bear witness to the immense destructive power of the fire.

"Despite showing obvious signs of exposure to extremely high temperatures, which include metal which had melted onto the face of the tray, there was a lot of interest on the auction floor."

The silver-plated hollowware pitcher and serving tray were saved from the Zeppelin disaster by volunteer fire chief Leroy Smith who had rushed with five others to the scene in New Jersey to help.

After performing his duties, he recovered the pitcher and tray and buried them in the surrounding sand as guards were not allowing any objects to be removed from the site.

Mr Smith returned several days later and recovered the pitcher and serving tray, along with six full bottles of beer, which he shared with his five co-rescuers.

The items were sold during Henry Aldridge & Son's Fire and Ice auction on Saturday - which also saw lots from the Titanic sparking a bidding war from collectors across the globe.

A photograph apparently showing the iceberg which sank the ill-fated vessel was sold for £21,000. The grainy picture was taken on the morning of 15 April, 1912, several hours after the historic collision which sank the Titanic.

And a silver loving cup given to a rescue boat captain went for £130,000 while a biscuit from an onboard survival kit topped £15,000.

Mr Aldridge, who will be auctioning a pair of shoes worn by Elvis Presley later in the year, added: "The prices which were paid prove the eternal fascination with such an historic event."