GLENDALE, Ariz. – He grew up poor, never knowing his father, but his childhood stamp collection gave him some joy during troubled times.
Little did the late Captain William B. White know back then that he would spend a lifetime collecting so many different antique and vintage items, he would have to store what couldn’t fit in his two-story home in several storage units.
Over the years, the former commercial airline pilot from Prescott Valley amassed thousands of rare collectibles, including: an impressive collection of aviation memorabilia, ranging from aviation yearbooks to flight attendant uniforms; a collection of toy trucks, including Smith-Miller, American Toy Co., Tonka, Keystone and Wyandotte; a large collection of antique stock and bond certificates; and thousands of original publicity photographs of fashion models and beauty pageant contestants along with corresponding news releases relating to the products and events.
He also collected press photos from World Wars I and II.
Captain White’s collections will be auctioned at EJ’s Auction & Appraisal in Glendale, Arizona, over several weeks during the firm’s weekly Saturday auctions and a special Aviation Memorabilia Auction set for Friday, April 5, beginning at 6 p.m.
“What struck us most about Captain White’s collection was how diverse it was,” said Erik Hoyer, owner of EJ’s Auction & Appraisal.
“He also was meticulous in how he organized his collections. For example, he put binders together of the beauty pageant contestants and fashion model publicity shots. There must be nearly 100 of these binders, each with 50 or more photographs.”
Collector would rather drive than fly
Captain White built his life around his long career in aviation. He served nine years in the United States Air Force as a fighter pilot, which brought him to Luke Air Force Base. He was employed as a commercial airline pilot and he retired as a captain after 26 years of service.
He was furloughed once in his career, and he took a job driving a dump truck for a landscaping company. He also drove a cattle truck.
“He loved driving trucks. That was his passion,” his widow, Barbara White, said, adding that he preferred driving than flying. “In his spare time, he would collect toy trucks as a hobby.”
EJ’s has started auctioning some collectibles, but there are many more, including toy trucks in boxes that have never been opened.
Hoyer said EJ’s will post updates with each weekly auction. “We’ve already uncovered aviation yearbooks, and several original flight attendant uniforms from Hughes Air West that we’ll auction on April 5,” he said.
EJ’s Auction & Appraisal is located at 5880 W. Bell Road, in Glendale, Arizona, on the northeast corner of 59th Avenue and Bell Road. The auction house opens for a free preview from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday prior to its weekly Saturday auctions.
On Friday, April 5, the auction house will stay open late for the specialty auction that begins at 6 p.m. Online bidding is also available
For more details, visit www.ejsauction.com or call 623-878-2003.
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