There seems to be a vivid E-bay market in aircraft photographs. Not all of these are rare; some were distributed by the thousands by aircraft manufacturers for promotional purposes. Over the many years that aircraft books have been published we have seen the same pictures used in many books. However, even original manufacturer’s  PR photographs many years old seem to be valuable items by now!


Boulton Paul P.71 Britomart at Waalhaven

Boulton Paul P.71 Britomart at Waalhaven

It is very difficult to give a proper definition of ‘rare aircraft photograph’. Is this a photo of a rare aircraft type or a rare photo of a well-known type? I think both can be possible depending on time, place and subject! ‘Rare’ for an aircraft photo means in general little or no published material. We even can say that once published in books or on Internet a picture is no longer rare…

On the other hand, there are aircraft photo collectors who are prepared to pay lots of money for photos offered for sale. In particular when they start bidding against each other, prices may raise to ridiculous levels and I know that in some cases hundreds of Euro’s have been paid, even for photographs that were quite extensively battered over the years. I don’t know the ultimate fate of these pictures, but I would not be surprised if many don’t survive after an owner has passed away and their relatives cleaning out their belongings simply don’t see the worth of it. They will be disposed of as waste material!

So, personally I don’t find it a very good idea not sharing these images with other people.

Over the years I have also found material that must be regarded by now as ‘rare’. I don’t mind publishing and sharing it and make it available to authors of aviation books. I think it is the best fate these photos deserve!!

To start hopefully much more contributions from other persons, I have listed this small article optimistically  as ‘PART 1’!! All images by this article are private shots made in the thirties at Waalhaven and Schiphol airports and all have not been published earlier.

Nico Braas

To be continued (I sincerely hope!)………….