Published 19th March 2010
Sometimes an article arrives in your department that simply just grabs your imagination. So it was when a rectangular walnut travelling decanter box was shown to me. Inset into the glazed door were a collection of ballooning medals dating from 1823, but most related to the Gordon Bennet Cup from the 1920's.
The three smaller medals are "Sparrow farthings" issued by Isaac Earlysman Sparrow, an ironmonger in Bishopsgate, London, who ascended in a balloon from Oxford in 1823 with near disastrous consequences.
The remain medals relate to The Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett (The Gordon Bennett Cup). Initiated by the newspaper tycoon Gordon Bennett in 1906 the first race took off from the Tuileries, Paris. Since then the race has taken place every year with the exception of two world wars and the odd cancelation.
The ballooning medals relate to races in 1923, 1924,1925 and 1926 and were awarded to Captain CW Berry.
As a point of interest, the 2010 Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett will take off from Ashton Court, Bristol on 24th September 2010.
The travelling case with the ballooning medals mounted to the glazed door, containing three clear glass decanters will be included in our Fine sale on the 21/22nd April 2010.