An unnamed buyer on Sunday bought a circa 1928 leather helmet worn by pioneer female aviator Amelia Earhart for $825,000 at an online auction.
The Hill reported Wednesday that Earhart, who set many flying records and championed women in aviation in the 20th century, lost the helmet during a 1929 Women’s National Air Derby from Santa Monica, California, to Cleveland, where it was picked up by a boy, who in turn gave it to a girl at the event.
That woman, Ellie Brookhart, then passed the helmet on to her son, Anthony Twiggs, 67, of Minnesota, The New York Times reported in February.
Twiggs told the Times his mother kept the helmet in good condition for years, occasionally bringing it out to show extended family members, although most were not as impressed with it as he was.
He finally decided it would be better placed in a museum than in the closet in Minnesota where he kept it, so he went about getting it verified, and eventually on the Heritage Auctions online selling block.
The helmet is believed have been worn by Earhart when she made her historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean as a passenger in 1928, a year after Charles Lindbergh made history as the first person to make the solo flight from New York to Paris.
The Hill reported that Twiggs confirmed the helmet’s authenticity through photo matching technology, which concluded it was an exact match to photos of the helmet worn by Earhart in photos of the time.
According to History.com, Earhart, born in 1897, set several aviation records, including being the first woman to fly solo above 14,000 feet, in 1922.
In 1932, she became the first woman to make a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, traveling from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada, to Londonderry, Northern Ireland, according to her biography on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum website.The flight took about 15 hours.
In 1935, she became the first woman to fly solo over the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.
But she is perhaps remembered most for her mysterious disappearance with navigator Fred Noonan in July 1937 during a flight to circle the globe.
They lost radio contact after logging more than 22,000 miles, and had only 7,000 more to go to reach Oakland, California. They are believed to have crashed in the Pacific Ocean after running out of fuel.
Earhart, Noonan and their plane have never been found, despite a massive search of the area the plane was last believed to be, making it one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the century.
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