Straight from the horse’s mouth comes the backstory of one the most published photos in history. Contained in this personal collection of photographer Frank Merta’s letters, credentials and photos is a vintage Acme Newspictures signed photo of Charles Lindbergh (d.1974) known as the “Lindbergh Viking Head”, accompanied by a corresponding negative and letters bearing content related to the famous photo’s origin. Located at bottom right on the photo, Lindbergh’s high-flying autograph shows appealing (“6-7”) quality. Also present are letters/telegrams congratulating Merta on various works, photos of presidents and candidates, travel photos, FDCs, clippings and an original newspaper art sketch. Full photo LOA from JSA. More on our website.
The complete list of included items is as follows:
Charles Lindbergh signed (“6-7”) “Viking Head” vintage 8x10 matte print photo (VG-EX) with Acme Newspictures copyright stamp on the reverse. This photo was taken by Acme photographer Frank J. “Jake” Merta on 7/20/27 at Mitchel Field (Mitchel Air Force Base) as Lindbergh was starting a good-will tour sponsored by aviation enthusiast Harry Guggenheim, this very famous photo was taken exactly two months after “the Lone Eagle” began his historic trans-Atlantic flight on 5/20/27 at Roosevelt Field. Accompanying this iconic image is a corresponding 7x9 negative and (3) letters recounting the photo’s origin with: 1.) 4/17/53 from UPI Director Harold Blumenfeld to Leon Siler of the Treasury Department detailing the NEA copyright of the “Viking” photo, the type of camera Merta used and an anecdote which reads as follows “Frank says he made the shot when a movie man asked Lindbergh to remove his helmet. When the Colonel unbuttoned it, Frank screamed “Hold it,” and got two shots. If you’re going to re-write this story I’d appreciate it if you would identify Acme’s successor as United Press.”; 2.) 4/23/53 from Frank J. Merta to Leon Siler at U.S. Treasury Department crediting Siler for as being “as much responsible about that Lindbergh head picture I shot some 26 years ago as I am for snapping it. Your title “The Viking” completed the masterpiece.”; 3.) 5/19/70 to Martin Merta at Martin’s Camera Center from Harold Blumenfeld of UPI with an attached article recounting the gift of a signed “Viking Head” photo from Leon Siler to NEA president-editor Boyd Lewis.
Frank J. Merta original 10-1/2 x11-1/4” art sketch (EX) by Acme artist Charles Cork (signed on reverse), humorously depicting Merta, a renowned cigar aficionado, wirth a cigar in his mouth and butts littering the floor
(23) Vintage photos average (VG to EX-MT) with: (9) presidents/candidates: (3) F.D. Roosevelt, (2) H. Hoover; W. Wilson, C. Coolidge, A. Smith and W. Willkie, most accompanied by news stories/blurbs; and (16) Merta work and travel related photos
Also present are: (16) letters/telegrams of congratulations and gratitude for various pieces Merta worked on; (3) clippings/articles; (4) credential membership cards/documents; (9) FDCs/cachets