Swann Galleries Press Release
On Saturday, April 2, Swann Galleries offers a broad range of significant material related to Space Exploration at their third annual auction devoted to this most modern field of collecting.
The sale, which includes equipment, artifacts, flags, patches, emblems, medallions, books, charts and maps, postal covers, photographs, and posters, features many flown items from the collections of Buzz Aldrin, the Estate of David Brown, Michael Collins, the Estate of Gordon Cooper, Walter Cunningham, Charles Duke, Fred Haise, the Estate of Karl Henize, Edgar Mitchell, Thomas Stafford, Paul Weitz, and Al Worden.
The auction was organized and catalogued by expert Gregg Linebaugh, who said, “this auction features rare and important items from the collections of 12 astronauts, one of the largest number ever to consign to a major auction.”
The sale opens with six lots related to the work of Robert H. Goddard, the father of American rocketry, for whom NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is named. The items have descended in the family of Nils Ljungquist, a machinist who worked closely with Goddard. Of particular interest are three sheets of technical notes and drawings of rocket engine and tank valves by Goddard (estimate: $7,000 to $9,000 each).
The auction contains select items signed by all of the “Original Seven” astronauts, such as a Project Mercury Brochure from Cooper’s collection is signed by Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Virgil Grissom, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard and Donald Slayton, Langley Research Center, April 1959 ($4,000 to $5,000); a first edition of Martin Caidin’s 1960 book, The Astronauts, published before the first manned Mercury flight, signed by the seven Mercury astronauts on the front free endpaper ($3,000 to $4,000); and a color photograph of the seven in their silver space suits, signed by all but Gus Grissom, whose widow signed in his place ($700 to $900).
There is also a color photograph of the 19 astronauts selected by NASA in 1966, who dubbed themselves the “Original 19,” from the collection of Paul Weitz. This extremely rare item was signed in 1967 by the men who manned the Apollo, Skylab and early Shuttle flights ($4,500 to $5,500).
Among the most desirable space collectibles are flown items from the first lunar landing mission, Apollo 11, which took place from July 16 – 24, 1969. This auction contains a number of choice examples. From Buzz Aldrin’s collection comes an Apollo 11 Navigational Chart—with lunar dust—a rare and important artifact of exploration and cartography that was used by Aldrin and Neil Armstrong during their descent to the lunar surface. The chart, which provided a critical verification that the Lunar Module “Eagle” was on course, is boldly inscribed and signed, “Flown to the Lunar Surface on Apollo 11, Buzz Aldrin” ($35,000 to $45,000).
Also from Aldrin’s collection is a Flown Apollo 11 LM (Lunar Module) Lunar Surface page of important procedures used by the crew just after they landed on the moon. Aldrin’s notations are some of the first written information recorded on the surface of an extra-terrestrial body ($7,000 to $9,000); a sheet of Flown Command Service Module Updates with contingency maneuvers, signed and inscribed “Carried to the Moon on Apollo XI, Buzz Aldrin” ($5,000 to $6,000); and one of the most meaningful mission-related items carried on a space flight, Aldrin’s signed and inscribed Apollo 11 Beta Cloth Emblem ($5,000 to $7,000), partially designed by the astronauts and signifying the contributions of the thousands of workers and the national effort to put a man on the moon.
From astronaut Michael Collins’s collection come two signed and inscribed flags that he carried to the moon during the Apollo 11 mission: a 4 x 6-inch United States Flag ($10,000 to $12,000); and a Texas State Flag ($3,000 to $4,000).
There are several flown items from the Apollo 13 mission, which survived an oxygen tank explosion that endangered the lives of all on board. Most notable among the items from the mission that was dramatized in the 1995 hit movie are flown materials from the collection of Fred Haise, who has inscribed and signed them. A LM Contingency Checklist on which Haise recorded critical flight data for both the Service Module and Lunar Module separation maneuvers during the life-and-death struggle of the mission is believed to be the first flown flight manual material from Apollo 13 to be offered at public auction ($2,500 to $3,500). Other highlights include a LM Systems Data Book Page with a schematic of the Lunar Module Cooling System containing Haise’s notes and calculations that was a critical reference tool during the flight ($1,800 to $2,500); Haise’s sterling silver mission medallion, which may be the first such medallion directly from an Apollo 13 crew member ever offered at public auction ($2,500 to $3,000); a flown sterling silver Snoopy award lapel pin ($1,500 to $1,800); and his signed and inscribed Apollo 13 Beta Emblem, 1970 ($2,000 to $2,500).
An interesting related item is a painting that inspired the Apollo 13 emblem. Lumen Martin Winter’s 1969 acrylic on canvas depicts three horses racing across the sky, with a fourth horse trailing, against a background of three intersecting solar and planetary shapes. Commander James Lovell asked the artist to design the emblem after seeing a mural by Winter in a New York City hotel ($10,000 to $15,000).
From Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo Flight, are Walter Cunningham’s flown United States flag, with his signature and inscription “Flown with me on Apollo 7,” 1968 ($2,000 to $2,500); a signed flown California state flag ($1,500 to $2,000); a flown Lunar Module Pilot checklist with Cunningham’s marks and additions made during flight; and his flown Beta Cloth Emblem ($1,800 to $2,200 each).
Flown items from Apollo 14 include three flags from the Edgar Mitchell collection that were carried to the moon in the Command Module (CM) “Kittyhawk,” one of the few large (8 x 11 inch) U.S. Flags flown on the mission, 1971 ($10,000 to $12,000); and state flags of Alabama and New Jersey ($3,500 to $4,500 each). From Apollo 15 is Al Worden’s U.S. flag that orbited the moon for six days in the Endeavor CM, 1971 ($4,000 to $5,000).
There is an Apollo 16 Lunar Orbit Chart that was carried to the lunar surface by Charles Duke to aid with navigating to the lunar landing site and remained on the moon for three days; and a Conversion Cue Card with Lunar Dust that Duke used during both the landing and lunar lift-off sequences, both signed and inscribed by Duke ($7,000 to $9,000 and $3,000 to $4,000). Duke’s flown Utility Towel Assembly and 64-C Beta emblem are also offered.
Other Apollo items include Thomas Stafford’s Apollo 10 Cloth Patch, with a typed letter signed by Stafford, that reads in part, “the patch flew to within 50,000 feet of the lunar surface in our Lunar Module named ‘Snoopy,’” 1969 ($3,000 to $4,000); and a flown Apollo 17 Cloth Patch given to Karl Henize by Command Module Pilot Ron Evans, 1972 ($1,800 to $2,500); and two of Henize’s blue NASA flight suits, each with name badges and mission patches ($800 to $1,000 each).
Rounding out the Apollo selection is a NASA Lunar Chart signed by a member from each Apollo crew that either flew to or landed on the moon between 1969 and 1972, including Fred Haise and Tom Stafford, Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Edgar Mitchell, Dave Scott, Charles Duke and Gene Cernan ($8,000 to $10,000).
In the previous Space Exploration auctions at Swann, flown astronaut toothbrushes have brought steep prices. This sale offers what is believed to be the very first toothbrush for in-flight use carried on a United States space mission. Gordon Cooper’s “Faith 7” Mercury mission, which lasted for 34 hours (the longest of the Mercury missions), had several meal periods, creating the need for oral hygiene. Cooper’s light blue toothbrush was bought at a drug store and modified so it could be attached to his flight suit with Velcro, 1963 ($4,000 to $5,000).
Several other Cooper-related items are featured, including four flown patches; his Gemini 5 Mission Patch, 1965; Gemini XII Mission Patch mounted on a typed letter signed by Cooper next to a photograph of Cooper and Buzz Aldrin, signed by Aldrin, 1966; Apollo 8 Patch—from the first manned lunar mission—mounted on a typed letter signed by Cooper, 1968 ($4,000 to $5,000 each); and his Flown Apollo XII crew-designed Cloth Patch, 1969 ($3,500 to $4,500).
There are also two signed and inscribed flown flags from Cooper’s collection, a United States Flag from the “Faith 7” Mercury Mission that he carried in the leg pocket of his space suit, 1963 ($5,000 to $7,000); and an Extra Large U.S. Flag from Gemini Mission 5, approximately 12 x 18 inches, one of the earliest known flags of this size carried on a U.S. space flight, 1965 ($8,000 to $10,000).
Among many Space Shuttle items is a 1986 color lithograph portrait of the ill-fated “Challenger” crew who became the first to lose their lives during a U.S. space mission. The picture is signed by the crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe ($4,000 to $5,000).
Two images of another kind are posters commemorating Apollo and Skylab missions. A poster, Make the Descartes Scene . . . with Apollo 16, has portraits of John W. Young, Charles W. Duke and Thomas K. Mattingly II, and more than 50 astronaut and key NASA personal autographs. Once on display at a security check point at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, the 1972 poster is a veritable Who’s Who of the early space program ($6,000 to $8,000). There is also a poster for Skylab 1 & 2, Your Craftsmanship – Their Performance, that featured crew members Charles Conrad, Joe Kerwin and Paul J. Weitz, which was at the same check point in 1973 and was signed by 25 astronauts and more than 25 NASA personnel and guests ($3,000 to $4,000).
Other featured posters include colorful examples from the start of the Chinese space program, such as a 1970 image commemorating The Successful Launch of the First Satellite of China is Great Victory of Mao’s Thoughts ($3,000 to $4,000); and Long Live the People’s Republic of China, in which Mao has been replaced by symbols of a more modernized China, 1979 ($1,000 to $1,500). Also from China is a wonderfully kitschy ceramic statue of a farmer and wife sitting astride a rocket as it blasts off; the farmer holds a sign that reads “USA we will catch up with you,” circa 1970-80 ($1,000 to $1,500).
Among other three-dimensional items in the sale are several models of U.S. and Russian spacecraft, including an extremely rare Apollo “Executive” Contractor Module from the collection of Walter Cunningham, one of the few people to obtain the limited-edition item ($4,000 to $5,000).
Autograph collectors will find a broad range of signed documents and photographs, some notably from the estate of Charles Stanton, a lead NASA engineer during the Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs. And, finally, for philatelists, there is a variety of postal covers—most astronaut signed—with postmarks from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and Patrick Airforce Base commemorating Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab missions.
The auction will begin promptly at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 2.The items will be on public exhibition Saturday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, March 28 through Friday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Illustrated catalogues are available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, and may be viewed online at www.swanngalleries.com.
For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact George Lowry at (212) 254-4710, extension 303, or via email at email@example.com.