Medals sold with fly­ing colours

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - AND FINALLY -

We re­side in Pre­ston Wat­son coun­try – home of the Tay­side aero­nau­ti­cal pi­o­neer who is some­times cred­ited with pow­ered flight ahead of the Wright Broth­ers.

Yet the event which re­ally put avi­a­tion on the map in Scot­land came seven years later. This was the ex­tra­or­di­nary Scot­tish In­ter­na­tional Avi­a­tion Meet­ing, which took place on La­nark race­course over six days in Au­gust, 1910. It was the first in­ter­na­tional air show in Scot­land and at­tracted an at­ten­dance of 215,000 open-mouthed vis­i­tors through­out its du­ra­tion.

Such was the size and am­bi­tion of the event that a new train sta­tion was built to ac­com­mo­date the num­bers, and the aero­drome Post Of­fice was forced to em­ploy 30 ad­di­tional staff.

Twenty-two avi­a­tors from across the world at­tended and gen­er­ous cash prizes were awarded for dis­ci­plines such as long dis­tance, cross coun­try, speed, alti­tude and weight car­ry­ing. Dur­ing the show, world records were also achieved for both alti­tude and speed.

Mem­o­ra­bilia from the La­nark Air Show has a huge fol­low­ing. In or­der of avail­abil­ity are post­cards show­ing some of the early pi­o­neers. If they can be found, they are gen­er­ally priced at £30 up­wards. Those used on the race­course with a La­nark Grand­stand post­mark will com­mand at least £100, if the mark is leg­i­ble. The pro­gramme from the event is also rare and would re­quire a more sub­stan­tial three­fig­ure sum.

Of huge aero­nau­ti­cal in­ter­est is an im­por­tant 9ct gold medal awarded for the two La­nark world records.

It is en­graved on one side with a de­pic­tion of an early bi-plane in flight over Glas­gow, above the words “World Record Alti­tude & Speed” and “J. Arm­strong Drexel, Com­peti­tor”, with the dated maker’s mark for Elk­ing­ton and Co, 1910.

The medal’s ob­verse is stamped with a crown above “The Royal Aero Club, J. Arm­strong Drexel World’s Height Record 6595ft, La­nark, Au­gust, 1910.”

John Arm­strong Drexel (1891–1958) was an Amer­i­can avi­a­tion pi­o­neer who took part in the cir­cuit of Bri­tish air shows in 1909-1910.

Bon­ham’s took £1,187 for the medal at their re­cent Scot­tish Sale in Ed­in­burgh.

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