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An abbreviated version of this article first appeared in the UACC magazine, 'Pen & Quill'.

Neil Armstrong Signature Exemplars

Compiled by Scott Cornish, Tahir Rahman, Bob McLeod, Ken Havekotte and John Reznikoff

Neil Alden Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio in 1930. He is arguably the only living human being whose name people will recognize one thousand years from now. He will forever be remembered for his famous quote from the surface of the Moon on July 20, 1969: "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind."

Increasing Values

Armstrong stopped signing autographs for the general public in 1994. He is a very private person and rarely gives interviews. He downplays his contribution to history and typically credits the thousands of others that made landing on the Moon possible.

Though he has undoubtedly signed tens of thousands of items, demand continues to outweigh supply and his autograph often fetches as much as $1000. Typed letters signed (TLsS) usually sell for even more, while Apollo 11 crew signed items and signed flown items can sell for many thousands of dollars.

Probably the most popular Armstrong signed item is his NASA white space suit (WSS) portrait photo, which often fetches in excess of $1000 and occasionally for two to three times that amount. Apollo 11 crew signed photos are often bringing $5000 or more at auction.

Items without personalizations are currently more in demand and sell for more, although the authors warn that unpersonalized items are by far the most often forged Armstrong autograph examples. Lengthy holographic material and autograph letters signed (ALsS) are virtually non-existent. His autograph material prices are now approaching and even surpassing that of most modern comparable presidential material.

Forgeries Are Common, Especially on the Internet

Only a handful of signature studies have been done and known autopen patterns have been published frequently. It is accepted that Armstrong never utilized secretaries to sign his name without noting such.

Thus, the main concern when authenticating Armstrong's autograph is forgery.

Due to the increasing value of Armstrong's autograph, forgeries are common and apparently becoming more sophisticated. The authors feel that inadequate data is published about his autograph and that forgeries are more common than indicated by earlier authors. It is likely that a large percentage of Armstrong autographs now offered on the Internet are forgeries. Some of these forgeries are so well done they can fool even the most experienced experts in the field. However, as even very obvious and poor forgeries on eBay occasionally sell for hundreds of dollars, it is concluded that a greater knowledge of his autograph is needed in the general collecting population. The authors advise that all Armstrong signature material be heavily scrutinized.

Recently identified forgeries are well executed as far as the general shape of Armstrong's autograph. However, careful examination usually reveals slow pen speeds, shaky writing, drawn appearances, improper scale, incorrect slants, and hesitation. Also, Armstrong does not write on the American flag (important on white space suit signed photos). This fact was confirmed by his office. However, parts of authentic inscriptions and signatures may touch the flag perimeter.

Study Design

The authors are sensitive to and disappointed by the growing number of fraudulent material represented by unscrupulous dealers and Internet sellers as authentic. Therefore, much care was taken to exclude questionable material from this article. Since forgeries are common, the authors have followed other autograph study designs and compiled data by highest credibility sources first.

Limited edition commercial/charity signings are known to be authentic as well as the vast majority of typed letters signed and signed documents. Other credible sources of authentic signatures are examples obtained in-person from Armstrong and those obtained from through the mail signings. Armstrong signed through the mail for over 35 years and as mentioned did not utilize secretaries to sign for him. Like most celebrities, Armstrong's autograph has changed through time. Therefore, we have listed material chronologically.

The authors of this study include dedicated collectors and dealers that have seen and handled many signed items in their careers. In addition, several well-known collectors and dealers were contacted to provide data. The authors independently reviewed all items.

Exemplars
Click on thumbnails to enlarge.



1953
signed document


1960-1962
mail


1960-1962
mail


1960-1962
mail


1962
mail


1965-1966
in-person


ca. 1966
in-person


1967
typed letter signed


ca. 1969
letter signed


1969
typed letter signed


1969
typed letter signed


1969
signed document


ca. 1969
in-person


ca. 1969
in-person


1969
insurance cover


1969
insurance cover


1969
insurance cover


ca. 1970
mail


1970
typed letter signed


1970
mail


1970
mail


1970-1971
Sieger stamp block


1970-1971
Sieger stamp block


1971
typed letter signed


1973
mail


1973
mail


1973
typed letter signed


early 1970s
mail


early 1970s
mail


mid 1970s
mail


1975
mail


1975
typed letter signed


1975
typed letter signed


1975
typed letter signed


1975
typed letter signed


1976
limited edition Calle lithograph


1976
limited edition Calle lithograph


1976
typed letter signed


1976
typed letter signed


mid-late 1970s
mail


mid-late 1970s
mail


mid-late 1970s
mail


mid-late 1970s
mail


mid-late 1970s
mail


mid-late 1970s
mail


mid-late 1970s
mail


mid-late 1970s
mail


1977
limited edition


1978
mail


1978
typed letter signed


late 1970s
mail


1979
typed letter signed


ca. 1980
mail


late 70s - early 80s
mail


1981
in-person


1981
mail


1981
typed letter signed


1982
limited edition


1982
limited edition


1983
mail


1983
typed letter signed


1983
typed letter signed


1984
mail


1985
mail


1987
mail


1988
mail


1988
mail


1989
mail


1989
typed letter signed


1990
typed letter signed


1990
signed document


1990
signed document


1990
mail


1990
mail


1990
mail


ca. 1990
mail


1991
in-person


1991
mail


1993
in-person


1993
limited edition


1993
mail


1994
mail


1994
mail


1994
in-person


1994
in-person


1996
in-person


1997
typed signed letter


1999
mail


1999
mail
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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the following individuals for providing their images, suggestions and time:
  • David Atkatz
  • Chris Bazil
  • Donald Brady
  • Paul Bramley
  • Jason Brennan
  • James Brown
  • Andrew Carson
  • David Chudwin
  • Miguel Cooper
  • Wim Cypers
  • Gerhard Daum
  • Dirk De Quick
  • Bob Eaton (R and R Enterprises)
  • Mike Feldser
  • Heidi Fetzer (Georgetown University Archives)
  • Abdul Gafoor
  • Scott Graham
  • Dennis Hembree
  • Douglas Henry
  • Dean Holder
  • Pascal Kentzinger
  • Andrew Messer
  • Bruce Moody
  • Rick Mulheirn
  • Mark Nolan
  • Florian Noller
  • Robert Pearlman
  • Marty Peters
  • Max Rambod (Max Rambod Autographs)
  • Conrad Sperhake
  • Matt Thomas
  • Danny Tyler
  • John Wardell