What is it about the Lindbergh covers?—They’re not the oldest; they’re not the rarest; they’re not the most attractive—But, tradition has settled on them as the premier treasure of the hobby. On the other hand, there certainly aren’t many of them, after all, and they’re dated, and they feature a VIP. Overlaying the covers, themselves, though, there has always been a certain mystique about them within the hobby.
In June 1927, Lindbergh was apparently wined and dined at both a luncheon and a dinner in NYC. Matchbooks were given out at each (I’ve heard about 200). That’s two variations. There’s supposed to be a third variation (perhaps an error having to do with whether he was a Capt. or a Col.), but I haven’t been able to find anything on that as of yet).
Perhaps the beginning of the curious mystique surrounding these covers came in 1970 when one was auctioned off for $160. That was the highest price paid for a single cover up to that date. In 1991, however, another Lindbergh cover was auctioned off for $4,000, a then all-time record price for any single cover [a few years later, in 1994, a full-book Washington Crisps cover, c. 1910, sold for $4,001, which would make in the current record holder, however there was a considerable amount of grumbling and rumors that the whole thing had been purposefully set up to 'steal' that record, and some collectors today do not recognize the latter as the legitimate record holder].
Ironically, the Lindbergh that went for $4000 in 1991 had reportedly been found by a trash collector in someone’s garbage put out for pickup!
In any event, from 1991-2015 sales of Lindberghs after the $4,000 peak in 1991 have gone up and down but in 2015 one sold for $6,000, the current record holder. In 2008, for example, one went for $1,725 on ebay. In 2010, another was purchased for $50, again on ebay. Also, in 2010, a collector sold his for "more than $1,500 and less than $4,000." It should be noted that the known covers are not all the same condition.
Adding to the mystique, one might argue, is the additional fact that two Lindberghs in the hobby have been stolen. One was from a collector in the late 1940's at a New England meeting at his home. The other was from a San Francisco collector in the 1980s when her home was burglarized. The whereabouts of both are currently unknown.
In 2011, I tracked down a total of 11 Lindberghs currently in the hands of collectors. How many more are there outside the hobby still awaiting discovery? There's no way of telling, of course, but time has shown that there is still that tantalizing possibility of a few more showing up.,
Every couple of years or so, it seems, a hitherto unkown Lindbergh cover pops up, either on ebay or from a non-collector advertising within the hobby. Will they maintain their unique status in the hobby? Will they one day go on to set further records? Only time will tell.
In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled!

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