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Lot # 1362 (of 1525)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1940 Howard Hughes Signed Contract to Test-Fly Airplanes

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $4,350.00

Three-page aviation contract signed by Howard Hughes, dated September 9th, 1940. Since he was one of the world's most reclusive eccentrics, authentic Howard Hughes signatures have always been virtually nonexistent. An official signed document, let alone one with significance to one of his greatest business and personal interests, aviation, is particularly noteworthy. This agreement reads in part: Hughes Tool Company hereby employs Howard R. Hughes to act as chief pilot and master of Hughes Tool Company's aircraft. It is signed by both Hughes and Noah Dietrich, who ran the Hughes Tool Company for more than 40 years. According to Dietrich, this was the only legal document he and Hughes ever signed together during their many years of partnership. The Hughes' signature on this contract is flawlessly executed and grades a "10" overall. Two pieces of provenance are featured on the signature page: the first is a notary's certificate (dated Sept. 17, 1940) affixed to the front and attesting to the contract's legal status. The second is a neatly written notation in Dietrich's hand on the reverse which reads, I hereby certify that the signatures of Howard R. Hughes and Noah Dietrich are authentic. Noah Dietrich. June 4, 1973. Noah Dietrich obviously parted with this signed contract in 1973, and at that time provided the reverse notation. Though Hughes did not die until 1976, he was so totally hidden from the public throughout the 1960s and 1970s that the world could only speculate what he looked like, as no photographs were available. Information regarding his whereabouts, let alone his signature, were simply not available. As the Clifford Irving fake biography scandal unfolded, interest in Hughes reached a fever pitch in the early 1970s, which not coincidentally is when Noah Dietrich parted with this document. At the time, Howard Hughes and Greta Garbo were considered the most valuable signatures of living persons in the world. This is an extraordinary signed document with a flawless signature. The contract has a staple hole at the top left corner of each page, and is otherwise in Excellent to Near Mint condition. Howard Hughes signatures are extremely rare and aviation-related examples are most highly sought after by collectors. LOA from James Spence, Steve Grad & John Reznikoff/PSA DNA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $4,350.00


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