Last of its kind spitfire sets new world record price at auction for any spitfire

Last of its kind spitfire sets new world record price at auction for any spitfire


£3,106,500 / $4,784,010 / €4,302,503



London – Following great international interest, further to announcing the sale of a unique and remarkable piece of British history – an authentic and immaculately restored Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1A – P9374/G-Mk.1A, Christie’s is pleased to announce that this extraordinary plane has just sold for £3,106,500 / $4,784,010 / €4,302,503, setting a new World Record Price for any Spitfire at auction, in The Exceptional Sale, 9 July 2015.

On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the Battle of France, the Spitfire was the star of the sale, sparking strong competition in the sale room, resulting in this plane far exceeding its pre-sale estimate (£1,500,000 – 2,500,000). As part of a hugely generous gift from American philanthropist and art collector Thomas Kaplan and his wife Daphne, Spitfire P9374 was sold to benefit the RAF Benevolent Fund, leading wildlife conservation charity Panthera, WildCRU and Stop Ivory. P9374 is one of only two remaining Mk.1 models restored to the original specification and still flying; the other model, Spitfire N3200, also belonging to Thomas Kaplan, will be going to the Imperial War Museum Duxford.

Nic McElhatton, Chairman Christie’s South Kensington: “Bringing this iconic and historic aircraft to auction has captivated collectors and enthusiasts around the world. It has been an extraordinary project for Christie’s to work on, and we have all been in awe of Thomas Kaplan’s incredible generosity. Not only are the proceeds of this sale being gifted to so many worthy causes, not least Panthera and the RAF Benevolent Fund, Thomas and Daphne Kaplan are also gifting Spitfire N3200 to Imperial War Museum Duxford for the public to admire and enjoy for generations to come.”

Thomas S. Kaplan: “Daphne and I are overwhelmed and thrilled with the outcome of the auction, which has vastly exceeded our expectations. We cannot speak highly enough of the Christie’s team for the passion with which they approached this project…the results of which speak for themselves. The knowledge that P9374 has found a fine home, combined with the return of N3200 earlier today to the Imperial War Museum Duxford, marks the end of a profound journey of remembrance for us, and the family of our great friend and partner Simon Marsh. When we all embarked upon this project, it was to pay homage to those who Churchill called “the Few”, the pilots who were all that stood between Hitler’s darkness and what was left of civilization. Today’s events are, more than anything else, concrete gestures of gratitude and remembrance for those who prevailed in one of the most pivotal battles in modern history. The return to Duxford of N3200, which was itself piloted by the heroic Commander of RAF Duxford, and which took place earlier today in the presence of HRH the Duke of Cambridge, is an act of love for Britain that began with my and Simon’s mutual passion for aircraft and desire to enshrine a British legacy. The sale of P9374 for charity is likewise an opportunity to share that passion with others and to benefit causes that have moved us since boyhood. The RAF Benevolent Fund represents a way to honor that breed who gave so much for Britain when its existence was imperiled. In a more similar way than one might realize, we are also highlighting our family’s consuming passion, the conservation of the world’s most imperiled wildlife species while there is still time. To accomplish this, our family is dedicating proceeds of the auction to Panthera, now the premier organization focused solely to the conservation of the wild cats and their critical habitats; Oxford University’s excellent Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (the WildCRU), which hosts the world’s leading university-based field conservation program; and the fine people at Stop Ivory who are valiantly trying to prevent the demise of the elephant. History tells us all that there comes a time when one simply has to step up…to act with passion, and to remember with gratitude the few that actually do. And so it is with full hearts that we congratulate the buyers at the auction, as well as the Imperial War Museum, for their new acquisitions… and the wonderful causes which will be the recipients of these truly extraordinary auction proceeds.”

Estimate: £1,500,000 – 2,500,000

Price realised: £3,106,500 / $4,784,010 / €4,302,503,


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