Collectors swoon for U.S. Air Force’s ‘Gathering of Eagles’ autographed prints

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Collectors dove into more than 700 aviation, astronaut and military autographs sold across 54 lots in Collectible Classics’ CC28 online auction Aug. 31. Licensed as a Pennsylvania auction company, Collectible Classics specializes in “collector-sized” affordable lots of sports cards, sports memorabilia and Americana. Most lots sell for $500 or less.

Autographs of more than 200 different aviation pioneers, astronauts, Medal of Honor recipients and other military figures were offered. Many signatures are on lithographs created for the U.S. Air Force’s “Gathering of Eagles” program, which focuses on aviation history and the contributions of aviation pioneers.

The first of these impressive “Eagles” prints, from 1982, is signed by Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, and 14 other aviators including Curtis LeMay, Jimmy Doolittle and Chuck Yeager. It sold for $2,541.

Sold individually, the “Gathering of Eagles” run of prints is complete from 1982 through 2008 except for 2003. Other autographs are on lithographs by such artists as Phillips, Taylor and Grinnell. Astronaut Alan Bean produced the painting for one print. Lithographs sold for prices ranging from $75 to $711 for each lot. The prints range in size from 18 inches by 25 inches to as large as 30 inches by 35 inches, matted.

Other autograph highlights include Yeager’s signature on a print limited to 50 copies, which sold for $201; eight Memphis Belle crew members on a print, which brought $587; a rare, first edition of the book “This Flying Game” signed by Hap Arnold, one of only 10 U.S. generals or admirals ever to wear five stars, which sold for $75; Benjamin O. Davis, the first black U.S. Air Force general, $242.

Collectible Classics also sold more than 125 autographed baseball lots, including single-signed baseballs with such names as Mickey Cochrane, $245; Mickey Mantle, $321; Barry Bonds, $75; Joe DiMaggio, $429; Ted Williams, $354; Sandy Koufax, $163; Kirby Pickett, $83; a set of five single-signed balls by Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, manager Joe Girardi, Andy Pettite and Alex Rodriguez, $396; a set of 12 single-signed balls including Hank Aaron, Jim Bunning, Andre Dawson and Monte Irvin brought $264 and a ball signed by the late George Steinbrenner sold for $366.

In addition, more than 30 lots of Robin Roberts autographs and memorabilia were sold, the top lot being a collection of 20 Robin Roberts autographed baseballs for $847.

The auction also offered more than 20 lots of baseball cards, rare baseball books, 10 lots of non-sport cards, and football, basketball and boxing memorabilia, including a Muhammad Ali autographed photo that sold for $200.

Catalogs for future Collectible Classics sales and more information on the auction are available at Collectible Classics, P.O. Box 429, Irwin, PA 15642 or or by calling 724-446-3079. ?


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