The Concorde—a plane that epitomized glamour as it whisked celebrities and dignitaries across the Atlantic in under four hours—hasn't flown since 2003 (blame a combination of high costs, bad PR, and a horrific crash in 2000).
But fans of the retro jets may want to head to Toulouse, France in November for a landmark auction of some of the plane's parts, from seats to menus to toilet seats (yes, toilet seats). The sale, which is being organized by French auction house Marc Labarbe, features more than 1,000 lots taken from the remaining Concorde planes, which were operated by British Airways and Air France for 27 years. The auction, taking place from November 3-5, has a range of goodies that run the gamut from high to low opening bid-wise, so even a non-outrageously wealthy aviation geek might be able to pick up a souvenir.
So, if you don't want a Concorde brand toilet seat, what else is up for grabs? There are in-flight food and drink menus, some of which were illustrated by French style and design stars like Christian Lacroix and Jean Baggio, bright yellow inflatable life jackets, seat back tray tables, pilot instructional manuals, and even sinks straight from the airplane bathroom.
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If you're into technology, you might want to save your bids for the nuts-and-bolts mechanical equipment like washers, bolts, and controllers, and history buffs will love the set of French and English-language newspapers commemorating the day the first Concorde took flight.
The less-likely-to-have-been-touched-by-royalty lots include parts of the reactor blower (left) and brakes (right).
While watching these iconic jets be literally broken down and sold in pieces might be disheartening for the people who believe the Concorde, despite its expense, might make a comeback someday, don't lose heart just yet.
A group of Concorde lovers, including former pilots, raised enough money to purchase one and have plans to use the plane for short charter flights one day.
In the meantime, the technology behind the Concorde is being reinvented for a new generation, as NASA continues work on a quiet supersonic jet and U.K.-based tech startup Reaction Engines are working on SABRE, a "hypersonic" jet that could (theoretically, at least) get you from London to Sydney in a record-breaking four hours.