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Old 03-27-2012, 09:38 AM   #1
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Default Propeller Question: Possibly from a Sopwith Camel

Hi,

I met a man in my area who was trying to sell off some old model plans and spent several hours looking at his aviation memorabilia. One of the items that really caught my eye was an old propeller hanging on the wall. He indicated that it was a Sopwith Camel propeller that his wife had bought many years ago from a local department store where it was being used as a decoration. I may have the opportunity to buy it from him but I want to be sure that it is a real Camel propeller instead of a reproduction. The shape and size matches the few images I have been able to find on the web. I didn't have a chance to remove it from the wall to look for markings, but there were none visible from the front. The one aspect that concerned me was the metal reinforcement on the curved leading edge of the prop - something I have not seen on any other Camel propellers. Can anybody confirm if this is authentic or not? Also, a series of small holes were drilled along the length of the propeller, maybe five or six holes per blade (probably added to hang banners and such). What impact does this have on the value of the propeller?

Sorry I can't provide more information at this time. I'm just hoping to find out if the metal reinforcement rules out the possibility of an authentic propeller. Also if anybody has any advice on what to look for when I get another chance to examine it that would also be greatly appreciated.

David
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:58 AM   #2
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Beware of claims like that. They are very common and often unfounded, sometimes completely innocently by the person making them, as the claim gets handed down through several people. I haven't seen an ORIGINAL Camel propeller with metal sheathing, but that's not to say that one doesn't exist.

Check out this recurrent auction on eBay. They acknowledge that the props are reproductions, and I've seen several versions that appear to be manufactured by the same outfit.

If it's truly an original Camel propeller, a few small drill holes won't make a huge difference, although it's always nicer when they're not there . . .

Can you at least get some photos of the one you're looking at? It's a start.
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Old 04-08-2012, 03:24 PM   #3
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After a second conversation with the owner I have found that the propeller is not for sale. I had planned to examine it in more detail to ensure that it was an authentic Sopwith Camel propeller, but now I am just curious as compared to placing a value for sale.

So instead of a detailed examination I just got some photographs so that we may be able to determine if metal leading edge reinforcement is present on a Camel propeller. I couldn't remove it from the wall to examine the back, but tried to get several good photos of the front. Does it look authentic? Any help would be appreciated!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Propeller_1.jpg (45.8 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Propeller_2.jpg (41.2 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Propeller_3.jpg (37.9 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg Propeller_4.jpg (80.4 KB, 10 views)
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:34 PM   #4
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It's at least POSSIBLE that it's an authentic Camel propeller. There were several different propeller designs used on the Camel, but you really can't determine if it actually a Camel prop unless you correlate the drawing numbers. One of the common ones was AD644, shown on this page, but the design of this one looks different than yours. Another common drawing was AB644, which was very similar. See this page. A rarer, unlisted drawing number was L 3750. Also, it is possible that the metal sheathing was added years later, perhaps by someone other than the factory. The factory sheathing was often inlaid, and this looks to be ONlaid instead.

Again though, identifying propellers by looks alone is like identifying old tires the same way. You really need to specific model number to be sure. There were just SO many propellers that look similar.
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