100669 | UNITED STATES. Richard E. Byrd bronze Medal.

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    100669 | UNITED STATES. Richard E. Byrd bronze Medal. Issued 1929. Commemorating his (alleged) feat of being the first to reach both the North and South Poles by air (82mm, 206.31 g, 12h). By J. Kilényi and struck by Whitehead-Hoag.

     

    Ford trimotor flying right, surmounted by eagle perching right / Head of Byrd left, wearing aviator hat and among the clouds; in five lines below, COMMEMORATING THE CONQUEST OF THE POLES / BY REAR ADMIRAL RICHARD E. BYRD / AND HIS ASSOCIATES / PRESENTED BY / THE AERONAUTICAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF AMERICA; below, two globes featuring the North and South Poles, respectively. Edge: WHITEHEAD-HOAG, light stain.

     

    Joos a.635; Marqusee 217. Choice Mint State. Satin brown surfaces. Very rare aviation type.

     

    Ex Michael Joos Collection.

     

    One of the most decorated airmen in American history, Richard E. Byrd claimed to have been the first man to reach both of earth's geographic poles by air, but the account of his reaching the North Pole has long since been in doubt. Setting out from Spitsbergen in the Josephine Ford (a Fokker F.VIIa/3m monoplane), Byrd and his co-pilot, Floyd Bennett, allegedly completed their goal in a 15+ hour roundtrip on 9 May 1926. A few days later, fellow explorer Roald Amundsen would reach the North Pole by air with his crew aboard the airship Norge. Byrd returned to the United States a national hero, but doubts began to emerge, as Bennett's apparent confession to a fellow aviator, Bernt Balchen, revealed that they had not, in fact, fully reached the North Pole. Released in 1996, Byrd's journal entries revealed erased coordinates that would belie the claim that the journey was successful. Nevertheless, when Byrd reached the South Pole in 1929, even more fanfare followed as, in the minds of many, he had become the first to reach both poles by air—the cause for the issue of this medal.

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