Revell Documented Arizona Factory Display Owned By Esther Ross, Who Christened The USS Arizona
Plastic Model Kit, Box Condition: VG
An incredibly rare, documented, one-of-a-kind piece of history in amazing investment-grade collector condition. For the very advanced collector of unique military history and model kits. This Revell Factory Model was originally owned by Mrs. Esther Ross Wassell, who earlier was Miss Esther Ross who christened the USS Arizona in New York on June 19, 1915. She went on to play a very key role in the creation of the USS Arizona Memorial. Thanks to newspaper reports, we know that her father, William Ross, was a prominent pharmacist in Prescott, Arizona. He and his friends convinced Gov. Hunt to choose his daughter from the other 100 applicants anxious to do the honors. It turned out to be a wise choice reasons no one could foresee. Miss Ross took the task of launching the world's most powerful battleship very seriously. She practiced her duties every day after school for months, smashing syrup bottles full of water against a fence behind the house. Miss Ross was popular and well respected in Prescott. Even the Associated Press reported that she "was one of the prettiest girls in the state." A special train took Gov. Hunt, Miss Ross, her family and others to New York for the event. Although the applause for the then unpopular Gov. Hunt, the cheering for Miss Ross was "heard for miles." Page 1 of the Prescott Journal Miner, June 20th, 1915, reported that at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Miss Ross cried "I dub thee Arizona," and "Not a hitch or sign of accident marred the success of the launching." "This is the proudest moment of my life," she stated, "and I am most intensely gratified at the magnificent demonstration that my friends and the city of Prescott has given me." Sometime after the launching ceremony, Miss Ross married Mr. Arthur Wassell and became Mrs. Esther Ross Wassell. She saw the horror of World War II and the disaster of the Arizona touched her deeply. After the war, she joined the drive to create a memorial over the ship to the 1177 sailors entombed in her. She joined the Arizona Memorial Committee which raised all the funds needed to build the Arizona Memorial. She served on the staff and toured the USA giving numerous media interviews and key speeches for the fund raising. Out of gratitude, the USS Arizona Memorial Committee ordered a special Revell Factory Display USS Arizona for her. It came with two specially affixed small Fleet Reserve and Arizona Committee signs (shown in the photos) on the right side; these special markings are only found on the rare "appreciation gift" factory displays from the Arizona Memorial Committee members to important fundraisers. The model was shipped to her in Los Angeles. You can see the original "Arizona Memorial Committee" mailing label that has her full name and address, documenting that it was her model. Esther treasured this gift and kept it in remarkable and very complete condition. Included is the original shipping box in "very good++" condition with all the original shipping tape, all the original internal special cardboard packing material, the model ship in exceptional condition, the cardboard display base(complete but with small tears and very light wear as shown), the colorful backdrop (with wear and slight tears as shown, missing one lower tab), the original display assembly instructions and even an original fund raising card from the Arizona memorial campaign. This display, box and all materials were always in a climate controlled environment. The colors on the cardboard display are in stunning, factory-new condition. The instructions for the display are 'excellent.' The ship is 100% complete and the factory paint is in exceptional condition. Even the factory rigging and all flags are intact. There is very little dust on the ship; it appears to be in 'not displayed' condition; but I know it was displayed for a short time because of the small tears and one tab on the cardboard display backdrop (see photos), which were probably due to putting it up and taking it down. I have only found one repair; the jackstaff broke and was neatly repaired at some point. The factory shipping box still has all the original tape and very little wear for that age. The original Arizona Memorial Committee shipping label is in 'very good' shape. Due to it being on the bottom of the shipping box, it does have some wear, but all the writing can be clearly read with slight magnification. This piece passed to Esther's daughter, who gave it to a friend who then gave it to another friend. The later friend is wife to an OMK customer, who sold me the model. This kit must be shipped insured and I may require it shipped by special courier.