A wooden seaplane built in 1971 was up for grabs at Bonham’s annual space auction. It managed to attract four bidders, in spite of the fact that it is not fully functional and can only be showcased. Malcolm Barber, the auctioneer asked the audience to bid only if they are convinced about owing the flying boat.
Estimated to sell for between $300,000 and $500,000, the final bid was even more than the upper limit. It was bought by an anonymous buyer on the phone for $506, 000 ($546,141).
The event also saw artifacts of the flight programs from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). One of the most eminent piece in the auction was an Apollo 11 flight-plane sheet that was signed by none other than Neil Armstrong. The sheet is also special as it has this phrase inscribed on it – “One small step for a man – one giant leap for mankind”. It surprised all by bringing double the amount ($152,000) that was expected ($80,000) out of its sale.
After the sale was over the seaplane was showcased on the IBM building located at 57th street of Madison Avenue. Being one of the early creation in the history of aviation, people were excited to find this antique with a 50-ft (15.24m) wingspan. It symbolized the technological development at the time it was built.