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Collecting space in 2003

January 1, 2003 — When you stop to think about it, the celebration of New Year's day is really all about space: it marks when our planet has made its way through one full revolution about the Sun.

It's only appropriate then, that we should look to what the next orbit holds for the memorabilia produced when Earth and space should meet.

Autographs

Part of the attraction of collecting autographs is that it is largely unpredictable. Both through-the-mail and in-person approaches require a combination of timing, finese, and even a bit of luck to result in a signature. For the most part, there is no telling who will respond favorably in 2003.

With that said, we have the efforts of a few dealers for removing some of the uncertainty by organizing astronaut signings.

Al Hallonquist and Steve Zarelli, who co-moderate the Astronauts Group on Yahoo, will kick off the year with a through-the-mail signing and art gallery opening with Apollo 15 command module pilot Al Worden. Beginning January 7 and extending through the 23rd, collectors can submit their items to have Worden add his autograph.

On January 31, Uncle Al's Time Capsule in Mount Dora, Florida will host Worden's first art exhibit. Open through February 2, collectors are invited to see the photography inspired artwork, purchase prints and meet the astronaut.

In February, James Lovell will make his way to Tuscon, Arizona for a private signing with Novaspace Galleries.

Skip ahead a few months to May and signings on either side of the pond. Billed as the world's largest autograph show, the UK-based Autographica will include Al Worden, Paul Weitz (Skylab 2 and STS-6) and a yet-to-be-named pair of cosmonauts.

State-side, Sims & Hankow hosts the UACC convention and autograph show on May 24-25, in Washington, DC. Featuring nine astronauts, the two days will have public and private signings and a silent auction.

In addition, various individual astronaut appearances are scheduled throughout the year. The Sightings calendar found elsewhere on this site tracks these events and is updated daily.

Books

Providing a nice segway between autographs and books, is the January release of Scott Carpenter's memoirs, For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut. Written with his daughter, the book documents both the family history and the experiences of one of the first astronauts.

Over the course of January and February, the authors will tour the country to discuss the book and sign copies.

Speaking of astronaut authors, Walter Cunningham has announced on his website that a revised version of his memoirs The All-American Boys will be published in April.

Apogee Books is expected to continue its popular series of NASA Mission Reports, with books focusing on pre- and post-Apollo programs. They will also release veteran flight controller Sy Liebergot's autobiography, Apollo EECOM: Journey of a Lifetime, timed to coincide with the anniversary of Apollo 13 in April.

Artifacts

Several auctions will provide collectors an opportunity to acquire flown artifacts and other space memorabilia.

After a four month hiatus, Novaspace Galleries popular online Astro Auction is scheduled return with a new seller qualification process.

On April 12, New York auction house Swann Galleries will host its first space memorabilia sale. The sale is said to feature never before seen astronaut artifacts, though the details have yet to surface.

Aurora Galleries is expected to continue its bi-annual auctions, with the first scheduled for May 31- June 1. If past sales are any indication, astronauts may attend the Los Angeles auction as both guests and consignors.

Miscellaneous

In October, the Canadian Post will release eight stamps honoring the country's astronauts.

Model collectors can look forward to spring 2003, when Code 3 Collectibles will release the next replicas in their National Air and Space Museum collection.

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