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  WTB: Apollo 11 kapton 'slanted' lucite

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Author Topic:   WTB: Apollo 11 kapton 'slanted' lucite
bklyn55
Member

Posts: 222
From: Milford, CT
Registered: Dec 2014

posted 12-24-2017 07:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bklyn55   Click Here to Email bklyn55     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking for an Apollo 11 lucite with the angle-cut top. I know there's one on eBay now. I may be wrong, but I think his price is a little far fetched. Anyone have a more reasonably priced one?

Would consider my Gemini contractors model plus cash if any interest. It's the "NOS Precise" one discussed here a year or two ago.

neo1022
Member

Posts: 250
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 12-24-2017 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These are pricey. One sold last year through RR for $2426 (before fees). The one before it was $925 or so...

bklyn55
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Posts: 222
From: Milford, CT
Registered: Dec 2014

posted 12-26-2017 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bklyn55   Click Here to Email bklyn55     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Know auction prices are sometimes unrealistic, but the "realistic" price must be lower than that! (I would think!!)

neo1022
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Posts: 250
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 12-26-2017 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, they sold with multiple bids. Although the prices may seem unrealistic, if that's the only place to get it, that's the comp.

By the way, the one that sold for $2500+ was originally listed here by a guy who inherited a collection. After a bunch of lowball offers on items, he took the advice of several folks and listed with RR. Seems to have paid off...

DMScott
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Posts: 346
From: Lexington, MA, USA
Registered: Dec 2005

posted 12-27-2017 03:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DMScott   Click Here to Email DMScott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Auction prices are perfectly "realistic." When there is more than one person interested in something and they offer to pay for it with the person offering the most winning the item, it is a very "realistic" way to find value.

neo1022
Member

Posts: 250
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 12-27-2017 01:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found one of these on eBay a while back for $400 and snatched it up...

There were only 50 made, and unlike other Apollo 11 kapton samples, this material was sourced from Ken Havekotte (who I believe produced these lucites), so their provenance is rock-solid.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 4074
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-27-2017 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Generically speaking, seller affiliation (or the word of a seller) as an exclusive data point does not constitute "rock solid" provenance.

Chuckster01
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Posts: 502
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 12-27-2017 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a rule I would agree, sellers are not great sources for provenance. But having known Ken Havekotte for many years, he is one of the few dealers I trust implicitly. I have never known Ken to not be accurate when selling artifacts.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38545
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-27-2017 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think this has to do with Ken's reputation (which is beyond reproach). Rather, no matter the source, there is no such thing as "rock solid" provenance when it comes to kapton.

Even if you could buy kapton directly from the person who said he removed it from the spacecraft, you could only ever be so sure as to its provenance as his word and memory can be trusted. There is no way to independently tie the kapton fragment back to its spacecraft.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 4074
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-27-2017 09:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kapton or any other component of a larger artifact that has been disassociated from its whole (and as a consequence bares no distinct attributes supporting self authentication).

From the standpoint of resale, relying upon only the presumption that an individual's good name is sufficient validation of a articles authenticity is risky.

Even well intended sellers make mistakes and if resale is an ultimate objective, you are relying on other collectors currently and in the future sustaining the same positive bias towards the originating source as the present owner.

quote:
Originally posted by Chuckster01:
I have never known Ken to not be accurate when selling artifacts.
I have... and thats not to say I have not misidentified/misattributed items in the past too. It happens, not out of nefarious intent but because this is a highly technical hobby that often requires lots of critical thinking to connect the dots coupled with specialized knowledge derived from many hours of research/experience.

neo1022
Member

Posts: 250
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 12-28-2017 12:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Of course all this is true, and it applies to *almost everything* in the space market. The only things we can know for sure were flown are the spacecraft, the astronauts, and any item with a manifested serial number.

That said, as collectors we regularly accept astronauts' certifications (and thus their 40 year+ old memories) of what was flown, and items acquired with such provenance are the gold standard in our collecting area. Given that none of us were around to remove these items from the spacecraft, the astronauts, engineers, and techs are the best and only sources of authentication for flown items.

But by the logic of this thread, since they are human and thus fallible, we can never know for sure. Fair enough, but not something I worry about. I'm relatively confident accepting an astronaut's provenance for an item. After all, it's all we've got (and yes, they might be mistaken — what if that flown patch was actually the *unflown* one that was sitting in the same box? We'll never know...).

I'm also relatively comfortable with "1 degree of separation" provenance (e.g., a reliable secondary source acquires material from a reliable primary source, and certifies its origin). This is the Havekotte situation — collected from known primary sources, and vouched for as authentic (as per the primary source). Again, good enough for me, but not "proof" of anything.

Most collectors have a short list of people whose word they're willing to accept as trustworthy, and this list is both small and quite well know in the space collecting biz.

If you're not comfortable with the small possibility that the trusted source (or the primary source) was mistaken, you'll have very little material to collect...

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 4074
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-28-2017 05:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by neo1022:
That said, as collectors we regularly accept astronauts' certifications...
While previous statements pertain not only to claims of flown status (they also are germane to any item claimed to have been associated with a NASA Program), it has been noted in prior threads that crew members are not immune from fallibility and they have been called out regarding claims of items being "flown."

As an authenticator for a major auction house it is my responsibility to challenge such claims when suspect or unable to stand up on their individual merits; and have periodically rejected astronaut assertions that an article was flown or associated with a particular mission and/or application. We are able to do this on the basis of forensic analysis leveraging organic artifact attributes and historical documentation that can either support or supersede the memories of individuals involved with those programs.

Tomy1
Member

Posts: 156
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 12-28-2017 06:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tomy1   Click Here to Email Tomy1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Please see prior discussion of another Lucite offering - Flown Apollo 10 and Apollo 11 artifacts in one display.

neo1022
Member

Posts: 250
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 12-28-2017 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott (Spaceaholic), that's precisely my point. Auction houses vet provenance as well as the artifact itself. And yet somehow, kapton and other items with no intrinsic clues linking them to a particular mission (or even flown status) are regularly offered for sale and purchased. So there is obviously a threshold for what we consider "reasonable proof" even in the absence of absolute proof.

Just out of curiosity, roughly what percentage of items consigned as "flown" (from any consignor, not just astronauts) is rejected due to insufficient provenance? I've always wondered about that. It's also clear that some houses do a better job than others (no names will be named)...!

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 4074
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-28-2017 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As you noted, there is no uniform standard across different auction houses for vetting. This in itself creates challenges as individuals who purchase from one auctioneer with a lower threshold for establishing provenance subsequently attempt to lot for resale through a second auction house and may have their item rejected.

As a general rule for the auction house I support, in the case of items that are claimed to be flown but lack substantiating provenance (beyond an assertion by the consignor that an item is flown) and is not otherwise rejected or re-characterized as unflown, a caveat is installed in the lot description (for example "presumed flown by _____ (consignor)" or "accompanied by COA by ____ (consignor"). At that point it is up to a potential bidder to determine his/her respective level of confidence in provenance.

On average at least half of items submitted for review as "flown" either lack substantiating provenance or are incorrectly characterized by the consignor as having been utilized on mission.

Mike_The_First
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Posts: 395
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2014

posted 12-30-2017 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DMScott:
Auction prices are perfectly "realistic." When there is more than one person interested in something and they offer to pay for it with the person offering the most winning the item, it is a very "realistic" way to find value.
In general, I have to partially agree and partially disagree with this statement.

At the heart of it, I agree — value of a piece, by definition, comes down to what people are willing to pay for it. Auctions are a good way to determine that.

But, at the same time, I think that equating a top bid with a piece's value requires that the bidder be educated and well informed when deciding on what their top bid should be. And, in all honesty, that's not always a given, on eBay or a traditional auction house.

Autographs are the easiest example. It wasn't (and isn't) hard to find auctions where signed photos sold for a lot more than the same signed photo would cost to acquire directly from the signer. Back when he was still with us and signing, it wasn't unusual for personalized through the mail Glenn autographs to hit the auction block and sell for over $50.

Heck, just search RR or eBay past auctions for "Kranz" or "Charlie Duke" and look at the items and prices, compared to Farthest Reaches' or Duke's website.

So, yes, they sold at auction for those prices. But is a signed picture of Charlie Duke really worth over $200 when I can get the exact same item from his website for $150? I'd argue it's not.

Auctions like RR do so well by their consignors because they attract people who say "Hey, that's cool" and bid to their max with no or little regard for what the piece they're looking at realistically sells for. Since auction sales are how value is determined, their over-the-top price then becomes what a piece like that sells for.

You'll notice a massive disconnect if you compare what pieces sell for in this forum, where the buyer and the seller presumably know what they're doing, and what pieces go for at RR, eBay, etc. I'd argue that the former is a lot more indicative of value than the latter.

bklyn55
Member

Posts: 222
From: Milford, CT
Registered: Dec 2014

posted 12-30-2017 01:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bklyn55   Click Here to Email bklyn55     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Right on, Mike. An auction room filled with "deep pockets" bidding on an item they like, or think is worth a fortune, does not determine an items value. Is an Apollo coldplate lucite really worth $7000, as an auction sold two years ago? Or is about $1000 more realistic, as can be purchased here on cS?

I know that "something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it," but which of the above two is really the value of the item?

By the way, if anyone is willing to pay $7000, I'd gladly sell you mine.

Mike_The_First
Member

Posts: 395
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2014

posted 12-30-2017 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm reminded of this thread about Sotheby's July 2017 auction, which I couldn't find at the time I made my post.

Then, to a lesser extent, this one about a May 2014 RR Auction, which, while the overall prices are less crazy than the first, is slightly more relevant to the topic, as it included a piece of Apollo 11 kapton that sold for over $4,000.

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