Sopwith Camel shunned by bidders

The Sopwith Camel is perhaps the most famous Allied airplane of World War I. During the war approximately 5,490 of them were built, yet less than half a dozen still exist. Only one is airworthy and it recently went up for sale on eBay.

The California-based seller proudly noted that the plane is an authentic 1917 Sopwith Camel that flew with the No. 10 Squadron on the Western Front during World War I.

After the war the plane made it back to America and managed to avoid the scrap heap. In 1963 it was purchased by a private collector and hidden away. In 1989 the owner had it restored by the British Aerospace Co. in the very same factory where it had been built in 1917.

In December, the Sopwith Camel was put up for sale on eBay. Starting bid was $750,000. A note indicated the aircraft had been appraised for $1.6 million in 2000.

Although the airplane was popular during the war, and later gained notoriety as the preferred airplane of Snoopy, the famous beagle of the Peanuts cartoon, eBayers ignored it. It sat on the electronic auction block for 10 days but did not received a single bid.

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