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Story Musgrave's Apollo medallions, shuttle toiletries up for auction

June 20, 2023

— A medallion that was flown to the moon on the first lunar landing for a member of NASA's astronaut corps could be yours for $100.

Or, if you prefer, the same astronaut's copy of the ascent checklist he used on his first launch into space could be yours for $100. Or if that doesn't strike your fancy, the blue flight suit that the astronaut wore to train for the first mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope could be yours for $100.

Or, should none of that appeal to you, the astronaut's personal tube of Colgate toothpaste, his toothbrush and his unwaxed dental floss, could be yours for... $300 — $100 each.

All of these items are part of the Story Musgrave auction, hosted by Los Angeles-based Nate D. Sanders Auctions, with bidding set to end on Thursday, June 29 at 5 p.m. PDT (8 p.m. EDT or 0000 GMT on June 30).

Each of the 100 lots open at just $100.

"Story requested that his items be sold without reserves, so all of his items will have a starting bid of $100," a spokesperson for Nate D. Sanders said.

At the time this article was published, no bids had been placed, meaning all of Musgrave's items had the potential to sell for $100 (plus a 25 percent buyer's premium assessed by the auction house).

Of course, Nate D. Sanders hopes many bids will be placed, raising each lot well above its minimum.

For comparison, Musgrave's Apollo 11 Robbins medallion — referred to as such for the company that minted it — is number 200 out of the 440 that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins flew to the moon in July 1969. Other examples from the same series have sold for more than $50,000 at auctions held within the last year.

Musgrave's sale includes flown Robbins from all but one of the Apollo missions. Although he only flew on the space shuttle, Musgrave joined NASA's corps two years before the first moon landing and so was able to have flown medallions on each of the lunar program flights.

Musgrave is also selling his flown Robbins medallions from the three crewed missions to the Skylab orbital workshop (celebrating their 50th anniversary this year) and from the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), the first joint spaceflight between the United States and Russia.

Of course, Musgrave also has medallions from his own six missions on the space shuttle. The auction includes 29 examples from STS-6, 13 of which were flown. In addition to being Musgrave's first launch into space, STS-6 was the first flight of the orbiter Challenger and the first space shuttle mission to conduct a spacewalk (Musgrave was one of the two spacewalkers).

There are also flown and unflown Robbins medallions from STS-51F (14), STS-33 (8), STS-44 (9), STS-61 (5) and STS-80 (5). Each opens for $100, though shuttle Robbins medals typically sell for several hundred dollars.

Other items from Musgrave's collection include stacks of 20 or more embroidered mission patches flown on three of his missions; a collection of 20 photos signed by Musgrave and his crewmates from his last launch into space; a pile of more than 50 NASA photos, each autographed by Musgrave; and Musgrave's personal stash of almost 200 postmarked envelopes ("covers"), each cancelled for events in space history. There are also certificates that Musgrave received from NASA for his years of service; an access badge he wore to be in Mission Control during the ASTP mission; and a unique set of handwritten index cards.

"Interesting lot of 49 index cards handwritten by Story Musgrave, the most educated astronaut with six academic degrees and the only astronaut to have flown on all five space shuttles," the description in the auction catalog reads. "Many of the cards concern Musgrave's engineering training, with ''CRE'' (Certified Reliability Engineer) written at the top, followed by philosophical musings."

All of that, at least at this instant, for just $100.


Former NASA astronaut Story Musgrave has consigned his space collection, including one of his blue flight suits, to Nate D. Sanders Auctions, with all lots starting at $100. (Nate D. Sanders)

Story Musgrave's Robbins collection, now for auction, has flown-to-the-moon Apollo examples and silver medallions from each of his six space shuttle missions. (Nate D. Sanders)

Story Musgrave's space-flown items include a toothbrush, Colgate toothpaste tube and dental floss used on STS-61, the first shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. (Nate D. Sanders)

"Think things in terms of other things." Former NASA astronaut Story Musgrave's hand-written index cards with engineering notes and personal musings are among the items from his space collection now for sale through Nate D. Sanders Auctions. (Nate D. Sanders)

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