From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007
posted 04-15-2013 10:21 PM
Offered here is a vintage contractor's model, made by the Topping model company for McDonnell so they could show the spacecraft they were designing and building.
You'll notice that the escape tower is missing one of its thin supports, and the little circle at the lower end. It will still attach to the spacecraft (which is, along with the Earth hemisphere, in excellent condition). It just won't be as solidly connected as it would be if it were perfectly intact. Frankly, I think these models make a better display with the escape tower off rather than on, since while McDonnell was responsible for building the escape tower along with the capsule, the Mercury spacecraft NEVER FLEW IN THAT CONFIGURATION, with the escape tower on top and a noticeable lack of anything else below. It orbited the Earth looking like this:
These models, which are more than a half-century old, rarely come up at auction. The most recent one (if you don't count Wally Schirra's, which sold in 2010 for $4,880) was sold by Regency-Superior in December of 2008. It had no escape tower whatsoever, and the base of the spacecraft was broken enough so that it drooped on the metal stand instead of angling upwards. It sold for $550. Before that, R-S sold one in fine shape in March of 2008 for $800. The Schirra one is the only one to come up in the last four years.
This has to be one of the best display items in a space collection: a contemporary model of America's first manned spacecraft.