Concorde nose sells for 'bargain' £115,000

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The Independent Online

An Italian bidder paid nearly £115,000 for the first of three Concorde nose cones to be sold at an auction of memorabilia from the retired supersonic jets.

An Italian bidder paid nearly £115,000 for the first of three Concorde nose cones to be sold at an auction of memorabilia from the retired supersonic jets.

Andrea Scopti said he would install the quarter-ton, three-metre-long structure - which saw 14 years' service attached to the end of Alpha Foxtrot aircraft - in his Milan home.

Two other nose cones will be sold this week among more than 6,000 lots of Concorde souvenirs on auction at Stoneleigh Park, in Warwickshire. Mr Scopti secured his piece of British aviation history at a bargain price - Ferenc Gaspar, a New York-based Hungarian, paid £320,000 when a similar piece went under the hammer in London last December.

Other items that were bought at the auction yesterday, which is attracting internet bidders from around the world, included a Rolls-Royce Olympus engine, which went for £23,000, and two lavatory cubicles, which sold for £15,000 and £9,000. A British Airways spokeswoman said the lavatories had been designed for the refurbished aircraft after the crash of an Air France Concorde in 2000, but they had never been fitted.

One buyer spent £3,500 on a visor and droop nose selector switch, which changes the angle of the aeroplane's nose cone. A set of Concorde cutlery - 12 knifes, forks, serving spoons and teaspoons - sold for £350, and a Wedgewood commemorative ashtray sold for £30.

Captain Mike Bannister, the chief Concorde pilot, said: "Right from the time we announced Concorde was retiring, we have tried to make it a celebration of 27 years of successful service ... As one of the last parts of this celebration, we are making these items available for people to buy as a memento of this fantastic aircraft."

The auction started yesterday and continues to Saturday. All the items come from British Airways, which will pocket auction proceeds, organisers said.

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