Rectangular nine carat gold-plated metal cigarette case engraved with 'SMITHY OLD SON WE MADE IT. CHARLES'
A small rectangular nine carat gold-plated metal cigarette case with "SMITHY OLD SON / WE MADE IT. / CHARLES." engraved diagonally across the top of the lid. The lid is hinged on the proper right side and the case has minor dents all over. There is an elastic strap to retain cigarettes inside the bottom half but the corresponding strap inside the lid is missing.
Collection statement of significance
Charles Kingsford-Smith collection
The item is a gold cigarette case that was a gift to Charles Kingsford Smith from Charles Thomas Phillippe Ulm. It is in fair condition with a well-worn patina and was seemingly given to the father of the vendor by Smithy. The case is inscribed "Smithy Old Son / We made it / Charles". According to the auctioneers, the gift marked the occasion of the successful inaugural flight across the Pacific Ocean in the three engine Fokker, the Southern Cross. The four man crew, including Americans Harry Lyon and Jim Warner, departed Oakland on 31 May and landed at Eagle Farm Aerodrome in Brisbane on 8 June 1928. Kingsford Smith was the main pilot and Ulm the co-pilot. The partnership between the two prospered for a number of years. They circumnavigated Australia in 1927 and survived a crash landing in the Kimberley in 1929 amid a controversy known as the Coffee Royale Affair. In the emergency two other fliers, Keith Anderson and Robert Hitchcock, attempted a rescue in the Kookaburra only to crash-land in the Tanami Desert where they perished. Later in 1929 Smithy and Ulm flew from Australia to England. The following year, 1930, Ulm was Kingsford Smith's Best Man at his wedding. Smithy and Ulm established Australian National Airlines in 1928. The friends fell-out in 1931 over the perceived lack of recognition for Ulm in Kingsford Smith's Autobiography. They never flew again together and Kingsford Smith may have given away the gift with the rift in the friendship. ANA folded in 1933. Ulm was lost with his crew in December 1934 flying between California and Hawaii. Kingsford Smith, distraught at the loss of his erstwhile friend, was himself lost without trace in 1935 off the coast of Burma.
Kingsford Smith was Australia's pre-eminent pioneer aviator and with others in the heroic age of aviation was world-famous. In the late 1920s and 1930s Smithy was grouped with Bradman and PharLap as icons of the nation. The Southern Cross (housed at Brisbane Airport) remains a national symbol. The figure of Smithy is captured in contemporary press photographs, newsreel film and popular song. Ulm, while now less well known, was vital to Smithy's aviation success.
1920 - 1930
RecipientSir Charles E. Kingsford SmithAssociated personMr Charles T. UlmDate of event
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