Metalplane Sold At Bargain Price

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A rare 1929 Hamilton Metalplane, which was expected to sell for about $1 million, went to the highest bidder for just $710,000 at an auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., last week. The aluminum airplane is No. 22 of only 29 that were built, and it's the only one in flying condition. The collector who made the winning bid was not identified. After a long useful life in Canada, Alaska, and Washington State, the Metalplane was fully restored in Minnesota in the 1970s. It was flown to airshows and won several awards, including Grand Champion trophy at the Antique Airplane Association National Convention in 1975 and the Silver Age Champion award at Oshkosh in 1976. No. 22 was mainly used a floatplane, and accumulated just over 5,000 hours before its restoration. Since then, it has logged less than 50 hours in the air. It last flew in June 1978.

Though the high bid was less than expected, the Metalplane was still the highest seller at the six-day auction, which mainly featured classic cars. The only other Metalplane in existence is in pieces at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum in Anchorage.