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Eastern Airline Collectibles

Initially headed by World War I flying Ace Eddie Rickenbacker, Eastern Airlines was one of the big four airlines from 1926 through 1991. Former astronaut Frank Borman led Eastern Airlines for several years before subsequent leader Frank Lorenzo seemingly led the carrier into financial disaster circa 1985 when he liquidated much of the airline's assets and funneled them into Continental Airlines and Texas Air.

What was the airline like and why are there collectables?

Eastern Airlines had such a smooth passenger take-off in the midst of the Great Depression. In addition, for decades the airline excelled in its provision of aviation services from its Miami-Dade base, providing transportation for millions of travelers and employment for thousands. Notwithstanding all this, with the demise of the airline comes the birth of a limited supply of collectibles from that time period. The airline's collectibles continue to gain in importance because the company is no longer in business.

What scaled passenger jet models might a collector find?

Overall, the airline operated several models of jets, including the Fokker and the Convair. Various models of the Lockheed were used in their early years. Scaled models of most of the company's jets have been available over the years. The most common jets, and likely more available as scaled models, are the following:

  • Boeing models 727, 747, and 757
  • McDonnell Douglas fleets, including various models of the DC-2, DC-3, DC-4, DC-7, DC-8, DC-9
  • The French Airbus 300
What are some of the Eastern Airlines collectibles available?

Practically any item that bears the airline's name or logo is likely to be important for collectors. Following are some common favorites:

  • Various Eastern Airlines airline and aircraft models, hobby prefab kits, and lapel pins shaped as an Eastern jetliner
  • Airport, aircraft and airliner posters, pictures, luggage tags, and air bills
  • Eastern Airline medallions, keychains, plane pinbacks, and refrigerator magnets
  • Flight safety cards, sectionals (aviation maps), in-flight plane magazines, and other paper memorabilia
  • Some garments, such as labeled pilot or flight attendant jackets, shirts, or flight bags.

Various pieces of dishware with identifying logos and Eastern's name are still in circulation and can be found by a prudent collector. Examples are glasses, coffee cups, some serving trays, and some assorted flatware.

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