Vintage gifts for the aviation geek in your life

Dec 16, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and for most of us that means hustle and bustle and ‘to do’ lists that never end.

TPG fans and aviation aficionados of all kinds are sometimes hard to please when it comes to gifts (unless, of course, there’s extra points under the tree).

Some of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten were vintage aviation objects. Among my treasures? Vintage AA lapel pins donated from a friend who works at American Airlines, and a vintage photograph of one of the first American Airlines freighter planes.

Vintage American Airlines lapel pins.
Vintage American Airlines lapel pins.

 

Vintage American Airlines patch found at NYC flea market.
Vintage American Airlines patch found at NYC flea market.

 

In a quest to find the perfect gift for AvGeeks, I reached out to vintage expert Bob Richter. You may know Richter from the PBS series “Market Warriors,” but his book “Vintage Living” was published this year, and he’s also literally written the book on Christmas, “A Very Vintage Christmas.”

Richter told me there’s several great ways to find vintage aviation items. 

  • eBay
  • Garage sales
  • Flea Markets
  • Friends and family
  • Etsy

Richter told TPG, “The Golden Age of Travel produced many airline customer gifts from ‘Junior Pilot’ wings to model airplanes. Now many of those pieces are at flea markets and other vintage venues. They make sensational gifts for aviation enthusiasts.”

Vintage American Airlines Flagship freighter. Photographer unknown.
Vintage American Airlines Flagship freighter. Photographer unknown.

 

Sign up for TPG’s free daily newsletter for more airfare deals!

Some of my personal favorites are dishes and other crockery from various airlines around the world, old first class menus, and customer memorabilia from airlines and planes of yesteryear like the Concorde. A lot of times, I find old ephemeral objects showing planes or logos and have them framed for wall art. 

Richter even recommends using vintage aviation objects to decorate your tree, “just tie a red ribbon on an object and it’s an ornament.” He says these ornaments will live on forever.   He says trees are like scrapbooks of our lives, chronicling time and places and people we love. He also says that if you didn’t’ get your grandparents’ traditional ornaments, you can go out and find their counterparts at flea markets, etc.   Even if they weren’t actually your grandparents’ ornaments, they conjure up the same memories to be shared.

Vintage holiday greeting card featuring airplane.
Vintage holiday greeting card with aviation theme.

 

Richter suggests (and I’m inclined to believe him) that if you and I each have things (whether it’s Christmas ornaments or a model airplane) from our family, we have something to talk about that defies so many of our differences (political, socio-economic, religious, etc.).  These treasured objects have the power to open our hearts and bring us together.

And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Vintage Delta crockery.
Vintage Delta crockery.

 

Bob’s latest book “Vintage Living” (Rizzoli) is available now. He has a comprehensive list of the flea markets across the country so you can hunt for treasures just like a pro.

Vintage Living by Bob Richter.
Vintage Living by Bob Richter. Photo by Daniel Yund and Blake Drummond.

 

Featured photo belongs to Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.