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Superior to sell space artifacts at auction

March 12, 2000 — A Mercury-era spacesuit, a toolkit used on the lunar surface, and a sensor probe from the Lunar Module will be among the more than 1,500 rare space related items auctioned by Superior Galleries this May. The sale marks the 14th bi-annual space history memorabilia auction for the Beverly Hills, California firm.

Originally part of the B.F. Goodrich traveling museum of space memorabilia, the silver outer layer of a Mercury pressure suit includes the helmet, gloves and boots. The Apollo 17 toolkit is thought to be the last existing full set.

The lunar sensor probe that would have been attached to the lunar module's round footpad was designed to trigger a light inside the main console of the LM on contact with the surface, indicating touchdown.

These are just an small sample of the the 1,650 lots, including numerous artifacts from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo eras, as well as an extensive autograph section. The sale includes Superior's largest holding of first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin signatures on documents, cards and photographs.

Also featured is an extensive collection of 200 scale models. In addition to NASA replicas, one highlight is the Manned Orbiting Laboratory produced by The Boeing Company as part of their bid to be the prime contractor. This highly detailed scale prototype opens to show the crew compartment, complete with detailing of the interior.

Key among the Soviet/Russian models is a hand-wired Phobos satellite with individual wires and moveable solar collectors. This piece was originally sold by Superior in Spring 1994 and was then featured on the catalog cover.

Additional highlights of the spring 2000 auction include:
  • Charles Conrad's Gemini 5 silver training suit (outer layer only);
  • Charles Duke's training A7LB lunar spacesuit (outer layer only);
  • a complete Soviet "Yastreb" suit (a similar example flew only on the Soyuz 4/5 flight);
  • Neil Armstrong's A6L lunar glove without exterior Beta cloth (interior construction is visible);
  • a lunar Hasselblad camera (part of a Hasselblad Company traveling exhibit);
  • an Apollo Command Module hand controller complete with attachment cable;
  • James Lovell's pressure suit glove (with which he trained as Neil Armstrong's backup for Apollo 11);
  • Charles Duke's training EVA glove.
A color-illustrated catalog is currently in production and is expected to be available the first week in April.

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