Art And Culture

Restored WW II Spitfire Auctioned for $4.8m

Restored WW II Spitfire Auctioned  for $4.8mRestored WW II Spitfire Auctioned  for $4.8m

Having attracted media attention across the world, the immaculately restored Vickers Supermarine Spitfire sold for $ 4.8 million, establishing a new world record price for any Spitfire at auction. One of only two restored Mk.1 models still flying, the historic plane inspired competitive bidding, far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of $ 3 million.

Part of a generous gift from American philanthropist and art collector Thomas Kaplan, Spitfire P9347 was sold to benefit the UK’s RAF Benevolent Fund and leading wildlife conservation charity Panthera. A second model, Spitfire N3200, also belonging to Kaplan, was gifted to the Imperial War Museum Duxford on July 9, auctioneer Christie’s said on its website.

Commenting on the sale, which coincided with the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the Battle of France, Kaplan said, “The 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.”

Nic McElhatton, chairman of Christie’s South Kensington added, “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 Kaplan’s incredible generosity.”

The Spitfire was shot down over northern France on May 24, 1940 during the evacuation of Dunkirk and over the years was washed over by tides, sinking deeper into the sands. Its wreckage was recovered in 1980 from a beach at Calais in northern France.