Page last updated at 18:52 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 19:52 UK

Spitfire designer's possessions sold at auction

Reginald J Mitchell
Mitchell died before he could see the Spitfire reach its potential

Personal possessions of Spitfire aircraft designer Reginald J Mitchell have sold for £90,000 at auction, six times the anticipated amount.

Mitchell's briefcase reached £15,500 at the auction in Gloucestershire.

A miniature of the Schneider Trophy, won by Mitchell for his design of a seaplane that inspired him to make the iconic Spitfire, fetched £27,000.

The items were auctioned following the death of his son Gordon, who lived in the Cotswolds.

Members of Mitchell's family attended the auction at Dominic Winter Auctioneers in South Cerney.

'Emotional time'

Dominic Winter, auctioneer, said: "They were staggered, frankly, and perhaps even close to tears.

"I stepped down from the rostrum and spoke to them and it was really quite an emotional time."

He said: "What they recognised was how much appreciation people had for their grandfather's reputation and his items, how important he was out there in the wider world and the aviation community in particular."

The lots were bought by museums, private collectors and distant relatives.

The Spitfire achieved iconic status in World War II as it could fly faster and higher than most other fighters of the day.

Mitchell died in 1937 and never saw the aircraft fulfil its potential.

Other items sold included three 78rpm records featuring Mitchell, Rolls-Royce engine designer Arthur Rowledge and the pilot Flight Lieutenant John Boothman speaking after their success in the 1931 Schneider Trophy Contest.

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06 May 10 |  History

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