Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Hardware & Flown Items
  Astronauts' artifacts: selling vs. donating, and the quantity of items they have

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Astronauts' artifacts: selling vs. donating, and the quantity of items they have
DChudwin
Member

Posts: 1041
From: Lincolnshire IL USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-05-2007 11:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Editor's note: This thread was split off from the: Ira and Larry Goldberg Oct. 2007 auction topic under the "Auctions - Reviews & Results" forum.

While Dr. Aldrin has every right to charge for his autograph and to sell commemorative flown items such as flags, covers, etc., does anyone else feel that the following lot should be in a museum?

Apollo 11, 1969, FLOWN LUNAR MODULE Timeline Book. (10.5x8.5") This complete book consists of three-ring pages (with original slightly rusted snap rings) Nos 1-23 ("Flight Plan") and pages Nos 1-15 ("Rendezvous Timelines and Relative Motion Trajectories") and front and back card covers. It is THE book actually created by NASA for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to use during their lunar stay. It covers every minute from the time they entered the Lunar Module until they redocked with the Command Module in lunar orbit (with the exception of their EVA which is detailed in its own Checklist). This unbelievable document is filled with handmade notes, notations and check marks made during man's first visit to the lunar surface. (continued here)

mensax
Member

Posts: 861
From: Virginia
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 10-07-2007 07:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Apollo 11 Timeline book, like many of the items in this sale, is incredible and certainly could qualify as a museum display piece. Whether or not a certain piece should be in a museum however is a debate that crops up among the collecting community from time to time. I guess it comes down to the fact that this is the property of Buzz Aldrin and if he wants to sell it that's his business... and if a museum wants to acquire and display it they can certainly place a bid, or, if an individual thinks it should be displayed in a museum, they can buy it and donate it.

I think this will be an interesting sale to watch... will the estimate be reached?

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 10-07-2007 09:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the other hand its equally possible a profit motivated individual is going to purchase the book, ultimately break it apart into individual sheets and resell, (just as many previous flown checklists and artifacts have been irrevocably dismantled / destroyed/scattered to the four corners of the earth) - if that happens in my opinion the consignor bears some culpability. But heck what do we care - we have no responsibility for succeeding generations who may benefit from access to complete/intact artifacts.

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 502
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 10-08-2007 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It still just amazes me that this material was basically discarded by NASA in the first place. If the space program had been a private venture I would bet very little of this material would have made it to the market.

With all the material signed as going to lunar orbit and/or the moon's surface its a wonder that there was any room in the capsule to move around!!!!!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-08-2007 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by yeknom-ecaps:
If the space program had been a private venture I would bet very little of this material would have made it to the market.
If the space program was a private venture, than there would be a need to turn a profit, which would probably mean even more more items, including the spacesuits and spacecraft, would have been put up for sale long ago.
quote:
With all the material signed as going to lunar orbit and/or the moon's surface its a wonder that there was any room in the capsule to move around!
Not really. Go back through the past 10 years of auction catalogs, and catalog all the astronauts' personal items that have been sold from just Apollo 11. They would barely fill one command module locker.

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 844
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 10-09-2007 07:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I completely agree with Robert. A private venture would have sold everything off to make a profit.

The material that is out there now was disposable items that NASA allowed the astronauts to keep. The Smithsonian reviewed material and kept the good artifacts.

I have made a fairly informal study of what the astronauts have owned based on actually seeing the collections of four moonwalkers, talking to other astronauts about their collections and having collected flown artifacts over the years.

Having said the above, if you look at the auctions, then you will see a lot of flags, patches and medallions. You will then see individual checklist pages and maps. Rarely, do you see a flown piece of hardware.

Consider that the average Apollo mission carried between 20 and 30 checklists. There were at least four starcharts as well as a similar number maps on each mission. Then you break these artifacts up page by page or break up each map section by section (The Orbital descent monitoring chart has about 20 map sections on average).

Then understand that the average checklist has 30 leaves in it, then you may understand why it seems like there is so much material out in the market.

You also have to look at the fact that there were 43 pre-shuttle astronauts that flew in space and you begin to get the idea that there is a good amount of material out there in each collection.

Finally, this auction looks like the final sale of checklists from Buzz. If he sells all that is here, then the checklist supply from Buzz will be exhausted.

Ben
Member

Posts: 1862
From: Daytona Beach, FL
Registered: May 2000

posted 10-09-2007 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Go back through the past 10 years of auction catalogs, and catalog all the astronauts' personal items that have been sold from just Apollo 11. They would barely fill one command module locker.

I have also seen items make repeat appearances in auctions, as if being resold by the person who bought it in the previous auction.

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 10-09-2007 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a working document which bears the unreplicated handwritten notes of Aldrin during the first Lunar Landing, the timeline book is unique and priceless. I also would not make the assumption that the Smithsonian was offered the opportunity to retain this book and further if it was, the decision to decline may have been made by individuals who erred in judgment or not had the benefit of perspective to make a correct decision.

The perception one is left with in Buzz Aldrin's case is that his motivation for financial gain has superseded any obligation to properly protect and preserve important artifacts from the first lunar landing (even if he were in financial duress, this may be understandable but still not a justifiable position).

Am curious how Collins, as first director of NASM would weigh in on the recommended disposition of this artifact.

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 502
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 10-09-2007 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My first point wasn't necessarily that the material wouldn't have been sold if it had been a private company but that the COMPANY would have sold it and potentially reinvested it rather than INDIVIDUALS profiting from the sales.

On the private company side - has anything been noted that Mike Melvill or Brian Binnie have to sell from their SpaceShipOne flights into space? I have seen some "official" company carried items for sale.

My second point was more facetious than fact - just stating that there is A LOT of flown material available on the market that individuals have profited from.

Matt T
Member

Posts: 1356
From: Chester, Cheshire, UK
Registered: May 2001

posted 10-09-2007 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Go back through the past 10 years of auction catalogs, and catalog all the astronauts' personal items that have been sold from just Apollo 11. They would barely fill one command module locker.
Though let's not forget there's been at least one flown command module locker sold...

I appreciate Larry's point that the astronaut's themselves may only have had fairly modest amounts of material for personal retention but in terms of sheer bulk and volume it seems that NASA and/or crew 'presentoes' have accounted for a large body of flown items. The Apollo 15 crew's gift to Slayton of a LM/CSM umbilical appeared recently, an Apollo 12 surface flown emergency wrench gifted to Al Worden on the backup crew sold on Farthest Reaches. It's worth remembering that because of these direct gifts of mission hardware the moonwalkers aren't the only astronauts with flown lunar items. Either of these artifacts would have made a serious dent in the weight restrictions of an astro's PPK.

When you then factor in the items removed/lost/stolen from museums (the stolen list of flown hardware from the Cosmosphere included two more lockers while we're on the subject ) then a truer picture of the quantity of material in circulation emerges. And as I've said before on this subject, there are several astronauts and/or their estates that have not publicly offered any items yet. Anyone seen anything directly from Anders, Schmitt, Young, Mattingly or Armstrong?

Cheers,
Matt

------------------
www.spaceracemuseum.com

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30714
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-09-2007 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by yeknom-ecaps:
...but that the COMPANY would have sold it and potentially reinvested it rather than INDIVIDUALS profiting from the sales.
But what's to say that the individuals who profit do not turn around and reinvest the money they earn into companies?

Using Buzz Aldrin as an example, he runs both the for-profit Starcraft Boosters, Inc. and the non-profit ShareSpace Foundation. What if the sale of his artifacts are going to support those activities?

quote:
On the private company side - has anything been noted that Mike Melvill or Brian Binnie have to sell from their SpaceShipOne flights into space?
Melvill sold at least one of his flown M&Ms from his June 21, 2004 space flight. Together, Melvill and Binnie sold ten $2 bills that they flew on both of their X PRIZE winning flights.

poofacio
Member

Posts: 268
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2006

posted 10-09-2007 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for poofacio   Click Here to Email poofacio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I bought the aforementioned Mike Melvill M&M. It is on my website for anyone who wants to see it.

The original television that John Logie Baird built is in the Science Museum in Kensington London. It is dismantled and stored in the cellar (and has been for many years along with untold other treasures), its site now occupied by a garbage collection of notice boards explaining how he did it. This is the function of colleges.

The Tower of London has nearly an entire floor equipped with video projectors, straw and barrels. The purpose? To show what London might have been like if the gunpowder plot had succeeded! The top walk of Tower Bridge which has magnificent views over London has a VDU machine with the same views, I presume because the public are too lazy or stupid to just look out of the window.

IMO the very last place these things should wind up in is a museum. Pretty well all of our great UK museums and historic buildings have been converted into theme parks for peasants.

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 844
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 10-09-2007 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott,

The Smithsonian was granted access to all material at NASA.

The Apollo astronauts were allowed to keep disposable items. Many items that the astronauts kept from the lunar surface were actually to be disposed of on the lunar surface, or in lunar orbit with the jettison of the LM, as an issue of weight. Especially for the CG of the command module upon reentry. One particular astronaut was incensed when he found out that his fellow crew mates had stowed souvenirs on board without telling him. He had to calculate the weight for the reentry and any miscalculation could have serious consequences.

While I agree with you about the breaking up of checklists and the importance of the Apollo 11 timeline checklist as historical artifact, many of those artifacts were supposed to be left behind. Which gets us back to why the astronauts own them after all these years.

Now Buzz is selling that checklist as a complete piece. He is going to attempt to sell it at $300,000 (since Buzz sold the LM startup checklist for $200,000 at the 2003 Swann auction, the $300,000 price tag is not unreasonable). The timeline consists of 20 leaves. I figure an institution will probably by buying this checklist as there are not many of us out there with that type of disposable income. It also means that a buyer with $300,000 or more would have to sell each leaf for over $15,000 to make a profit at this time. Based on prior sales of Apollo 11 flight plan and Apollo 11 lunar surface checklist pages over the last several years that is not likely to
happen.

The astronauts traditionally offered to split this material that was left behind. If you ask Buzz, he would probably tell you that both Armstrong and Collins had a chance to keep some of the material left over from the flight and chose not to keep any of it.

Many of the astronauts felt that way. Also, many crews did split up this material too. You can see it in other astronaut sales.

I also agree with Poofacio (is that Latin?) about museums and their ability to only display, on average, about 5 to 10 percent of their collections.

In reality, the researcher is only looking for the information contained on the checklist. Whether artifact containing the needed information is flown or not means very little to them. It is why NASA scans all Shuttle checklists now, so the information available to researchers via the internet upon request from NASA.

------------------
Larry McGlynn
A Tribute to Apollo

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 10-09-2007 07:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
Many items that the astronauts kept from the lunar surface were actually to be disposed of on the lunar surface, or in lunar orbit with the jettison of the LM, as an issue of weight. Especially for the CG of the command module upon reentry.
True as you state, decision to jettison were made on the bases of mission constraint - however the present reality is the Timeline Book was retained and a decision is being made now on its fate. Those items left on the lunar surface ironically may benefit from their temporary abandonment as protected / undisturbed components of designated historic sites.
quote:
Now Buzz is selling that checklist as a complete piece. He is going to attempt to sell it at $300,000 (since Buzz sold the LM startup checklist for $200,000 at the 2003 Swann auction, the $300,000 price tag is not unreasonable). The timeline consists of 20 leaves. I figure an institution will probably by buying this checklist as there are not many of us out there with that type of disposable income.
Perhaps but why subject this artifact to the risk in an open auction that the sale will go to a non-institution and/or individual who doesn't have a vested interest in retaining intact or promoting future public access. Wouldn't it be more appropriate for Buzz to ensure its future by restricting this transaction directly with qualified institutions?

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 844
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 10-09-2007 09:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott,

I refer you to other threads that have posed this same argument in the past to no avail.

I will say that those protected items on the lunar surface are most probably destroyed by now. They were never meant to withstand a 500 degree change in temperature every two weeks, meteoric bombardment and solar radiation. The only thing that is standing is the descent stage and some bits of metal.

I have witnessed the same argument on the salvage of maritime artifacts from salt water shipwrecks. The corrosive effect of salt water desolves most wrecks over time and turns them into dust and yet, some maritime expert wants to leave the artifacts where they lay in the ocean to be seen by no one.

Ironically, I am on your side and it is why I have tried to purchase as many of complete checklists as possible and this one is not within my budget.

I would suggest you email Buzz at his website and tell him how you feel. Who knows maybe he will take your advice.

------------------
Larry McGlynn
A Tribute to Apollo

robsouth
Member

Posts: 680
From: West Midlands, UK
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 10-09-2007 10:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The bottom line is this, it could have been left in the LM to be lost forever on the moon's surface, it wasn't, it was brought back to earth so lets be grateful it is here.
It was Buzz Aldrin's decision to bring it home and it is also his decision what he does with it.

What would you do if you had a checklist worth $300,000+ keep it shut away somewhere where no one saw it, or sell it? I doubt very much that you would just give it away.

SRB
Member

Posts: 258
From:
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 10-12-2007 01:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott

Your comment about Michael Collins ("Am curious how Collins, as first director of NASM would weigh in on the recommended disposition of this artifact") is very interesting. Collins retained a number of the CM manuals he used on the flight and they are on exhibit at the Air and Space Museum. The display states (as of a year ago) that they are on loan from him. Collins did not give them to the museum. He will eventually have to decide what he wishes to do with his own unique, "priceless" relics of Apollo 11. Will he sell them, or give them to NASM or just leave them to his heirs to decide what to do? My own view is that they are his property and I think he (and Buzz) can do whatever they choose with these items. The one request I would make, as others have already noted, is that if they choose to sell them they should make sure there is a public record of the complete manuals with all the notes for future researchers to access.

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 10-12-2007 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although important, just preserving the information is not satisfactory - particuarly more so given the importance of this piece. Taken to the extreme, theoretically every attribute of an artifact could be digitized and there wouldnt be a need for museums. But how fulfilling would that be to us and future generations who want to gain a first person visual/tactile reaffirmation of history - the answer should be pretty obvious to us as collectors - having a direct connection with an artifact gives us many intangible benefits that cant be digitally replicated.

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 10-20-2007 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:

Now Buzz is selling that checklist as a complete piece. He is going to attempt to sell it at $300,000 (since Buzz sold the LM startup checklist for $200,000 at the 2003 Swann auction, the $300,000 price tag is not unreasonable). The timeline consists of 20 leaves. I figure an institution will probably by buying this checklist as there are not many of us out there with that type of disposable income. It also means that a buyer with $300,000 or more would have to sell each leaf for over $15,000 to make a profit at this time.


Based on Ebay live results, the Checklist sold for $220,000 (plus 20 percent). A single complete flown Apollo 11 flight plan sheet sold for $26,000 (there was one other flown AP11 sheet sold for less but it was essentially blank)...

Scott
Member

Posts: 3303
From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 10-20-2007 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LCDR Scott Schneeweis:
But how fulfilling would that be to us and future generations who want to gain a first person visual/tactile reaffirmation of history - the answer should be pretty obvious to us as collectors - having a direct connection with an artifact gives us many intangible benefits that cant be digitally replicated.


I agree, Scott. I went to the Huntington Library several months ago and visited their autograph/manuscript exhibit. I was very disappointed to see many of the best pieces with a note next to them which read, in effect, "This is a copy of the original. The original is in archival storage to protect it from light." It seemed like most of the good stuff on display was a copy, despite the light level being low and (I assume) archival UV glass being used. It just wasn't the same. Seeing a copy was just like looking at it in a book. But at least the paintings were real.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2014 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement