Thompson Trophy Bookends (1930's)


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For twenty years, the events surrounding the annual Thomson Trophy aircraft race drew top competitors from around the globe. The Thompson race was the culmination of a several day celebration that included military air displays, the Bendix cross-continent air race, and several significant sub-races, all played out in front of an audience that oftentimes numbered over 100,000. Many luminaries of aviation's Golden Age (1920's-30's) were attendees and competitors. Names such as Jimmy Doolittle, Roscoe Turner, Blanche Noyes, Jimmy Haizlip, Ernst Udet, Art Chester, Steve Wittman, Benny Howard, and Jackie Cochran are synonymous with the burgeoning field that was pre-war aviation. The trophy, designed by sculptor Walter Sinz, represented the winged figure of Icarus, known from ancient Greek mythology. Above the figures outstretched wings are the shields upon which the winning aviators names were to be engraved. Above the shields, clouds billow upwards flanked by eagles, and are surmounted by the rising sun. This beautiful sculpture embodies the spirit and esthetic principals of the Deco period in art history, and fine examples of works from this time are highly prized. These bookends are an incredible find, not only for their age and condition, but also for the fact that they exist in a pair. We have only seen two pair before; one appeared at auction several years ago, and the other belongs in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution. The bookends are hollow-cast painted and gilded bronze, (very heavy) with a few minor wear spots, expected for objects of this age. Bookends measure 7" tall by 4 3/8" wide at base. These marvelous, incredibly rare items would look perfect framing a collection of treasured aviation books, or as stand-alone sculptures.

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