|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Friday, October 20, 2017
|Myanmar find could flood vintage Spitfire market|
In this Sept. 28, 1941 file photo, Spitfires, subscribed for by the people of Assam, are now operating with fighter command of the Royal Air Force, at an airfield somewhere in England. Myanmar signed a deal with a British aviation enthusiast David J. Cundall to allow the excavation of a World War II treasure: dozens of Spitfire fighter planes buried by the British almost 70 years ago. Cundall discovered the locations of the aircraft after years of searching. The planes are believed to be in good condition, since they were reportedly packed in crates and hidden by British forces to keep them out of the hands of invading Japanese. AP Photo.
By: Aye Aye Win, Associated Press
YANGON (AP).- As many as 140 World War II Spitfire fighter planes three to four times the number of airworthy models known to exist are believed to be buried in near-pristine condition in Myanmar. A British-Myanmar partnership says it will begin digging them up by the end of the month.
The go-ahead for excavation came earlier this week when the Myanmar government signed an agreement with British aviation enthusiast David J. Cundall and his local partner. Cundall, a farmer and businessman, earlier this year announced he had located 20 of the planes, best known for helping the Royal Air Force win mastery of the skies during the Battle of Britain.
On Thursday, however, a retired Myanmar geology professor who has assisted in the recovery operation since 1999 said there are about 140 Spitfires buried in various places around the Southeast Asian country, which until 1948 was a British colony called Burma. He did not explain the discrepancy in estimates.
Soe Thein said the British brought crates of Spitfires to Myanmar in the closing stages of the war, but never used them when the Japanese gave up the fight in 1945. The single-seat version of the fighter plane was 9.14 meters (30 feet) long with an 11.3 meter (37 foot) wingspan.
The U.S. Army was in charge of burying the planes after British forces decided to dispose of them that way, he said, adding Cundall interviewed at least 1,000 war veterans, mostly American, to gather information about the aircraft's fate.
He said a ground search was started in 1999 using magnetometers and ground radar, but faced difficulties. Only in recent years did technology become advanced enough to be more certain of the finds, he said.
Each plane was kept in a crate about 12.2 meters (40 feet) long, 3.4 meters (11 feet) high and 2.7 meters (9 feet) wide, said Soe Thein.
The plans under a two-year contract are to recover 60 planes in the first phase: 36 planes in Mingaladon, near Yangon's current air base and international airport; 18 in Myitkyina in Kachin state in the north; and six in Meikthila in central Myanmar. Others are to be recovered in a second phase.
The Myanmar government will get one plane for display at a museum, as well as half of the remaining total. DJC, a private company headed by Cundall, will get 30 percent of the total and the Myanmar partner company, Shwe Taung Paw, 20 percent.
British Prime Minister David Cameron eased the way to an agreement when he visited Myanmar President Thein Sein in April.
Cundall has said his quest to find the planes involved 12 trips to Myanmar and cost more than 130,000 pounds ($210,000), not including the planned excavation expenses.
Spitfires in working shape are rare and popular with collectors. In 2009, a restored but airworthy Spitfire was sold by British auction house Bonhams for >1,739,500 ($2,544,130)
The excavation agreement was signed Tuesday by Civil Aviation Director-General Tin Naing Tun, Cundall on behalf of DJC, and Htoo Htoo Zaw, managing director of Shwe Taung Paw.
"It took 16 years for Mr. David Cundall to locate the planes buried in crates. We estimate that there are at least 60 Spitfires buried and they are in good condition," Htoo Htoo Zaw said Wednesday. "We want to let people see these historic fighters, and the excavation of these fighter planes will further strengthen relations between Myanmar and Britain."
The British Embassy on Wednesday described the agreement as a chance to work with Myanmar's new reformist government to restore and display the planes.
"We hope that many of them will be gracing the skies of Britain and as discussed, some will be displayed here in Burma," said an embassy spokesman, who spoke anonymously because he was not directly involved in the excavation agreement.
Myanmar from 1962 until last year was under the rule of the military, which changed the country's name from Burma in 1989. Thein Sein's reformist government has turned away from the repression of the military government and patched up relations with Western nations that had previously shunned it.
The state-owned Myanma Ahlin daily on Wednesday cited Transport Minister Nyan Tun Aung as saying the Spitfire agreement amounts to the British government's recognition of the democratic reforms.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
October 21, 2012
Hollywood costumes exhibition opens at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London
Saint Louis Art Museum presents international exhibition "Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master"
Princeton University Art Museum presents City of Gold: Tomb and Temple in Ancient Cyprus
MFAH presents the portraits, landscapes and Biblical paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner
Stolen art can be burden if thieves who robbed Rotterdam's Kunsthal exhibition this week don't have a plan
The Academy unveils vision for new museum by architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali
Exhibition chronicles the vital legacy of the African American artistic community in Los Angeles
Eli and Edythe Broad donate Roxy Paine sculpture and 18 additional works to Broad Art Museum
Inaugural New York exhibition of Japanese artist Makoto Saito opens at Paul Kasmin Gallery
Katharine Hepburn as fashion icon at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts,
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead presents exhibition of works by Tris Vonna-Michell
MdM Salzburg presents works from an outstanding Austrian collection of photography and media art
Fire destroys State Fair of Texas icon Big Tex, this year's fair was supposed to celebrate 60th anniversary
World's oldest surviving Vauxhall to be offered for sale at Bonhams
Major exhibition of Haitian art, representing Vodou, opens at Nottingham Contemporary
English city to show off Roman gold coins find
Paraguay breathes new life to its steam train
Myanmar find could flood vintage Spitfire market
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- $37.7 million bowl sets Chinese ceramic auction record at Sotheby's Hong Kong
2.- Major new show at Picasso Museum focuses on pivotal year in Picasso's life and work
3.- 63 Dutch Masters return home to Holland for an exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam
4.- Exhibition reveals new insights into Renoir's celebrated "Luncheon of the Boating Party"
5.- Nazi-looted Pissarro painting at centre of legal tussle
6.- The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art presents 'Lines of Inquiry: Learning from Rembrandt's Etchings'
7.- Pristine Hermès Himalayan Gris Cendre Birkin bag sells for $112,500 at Heritage Auctions
8.- Tom Petty, heartland rocker with dark streak, dead at 66
9.- Exhibition presenting the art of Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dalí opens in London
10.- Private collectors using online appraisal platform to get multiple estimates from top auction houses
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.