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Author Topic:   Introduction to space collecting

Posts: 861
From: Virginia
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 01-24-2006 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had someone leave me feedback this last week and in it they called me a "great longtime collector". Of course I was flattered at being called great (who wouldn't be?) but suddenly I realized that I'm no longer a "newbie."

I've been collecting space memorabilia for over three years and I guess I've now graduated. I'm certainly no expert... Rob, Larry, Gerry, Bob, Ken, Leon, Kim, and many, many more certainly know a lot more than I.

But I thought I'd make an effort to give some advice to the new newbies. If I were starting all over and had a budget to spend, say a thousand dollars, what would I spend it on?

I'm sure everybody would have their own list... and I for one would be interested in knowing what others would come up with. Would you pick one great item... or 50 smaller items? All autographs? or maybe flown items?

If you'd like to see my recommendations I put together a quick little website this evening...


Hart Sastrowardoyo

Posts: 2654
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 01-24-2006 09:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a fun topic. Without price in mind, and keep in mind this is mostly tristate-centric (NY/NJ/CT), I'd:

Take a drive to Franklin Institute in Philly when they have an astronaut at the planetarium. You'll also get to see a mockup LEM.

Spend three days minimum in Washington, DC, to see NASM and the annex where Enteprise is. If you plan right, you'll be able to meet an astronaut for the price of their book. Go when Congress is in session and you may be able to have coffee with Bill Nelson, or hang out in the hallways for a chance to meet other astronauts when they're either being confirmed or testifying.

With the exception of travel expenses, those are either free or at low-cost. For items to buy, based on my experience and collection:

Seeds flown on Challenger and Columbia, for a reminder of both shuttles;

Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System and Space Shuttle: The First 20 Years - a technical and a picture book with easy text on shuttle, if limited to two books;

Who's Who In Space - would be nice if this were updated, but a good look into the men and women who've flown or trained to fly in space;

Apollo: The Epic Journey to the Moon;

...and anything else I'd have to think about.


Posts: 187
From: Loveland, CO U.S.A.
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 01-24-2006 10:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rochemontagne   Click Here to Email Rochemontagne     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Super great website Noah. You did an outstanding job. You indeed have a great collection. Also, thanks for the kind words about my Apollo 15 cards.



Posts: 40
From: Little Rock, AR, USA
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-24-2006 11:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Pad39A   Click Here to Email Pad39A     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Noah-- What great and fun items you have in your personal collection. So much cool whimsical stuff... and then all those amazing historical items! A great collection and presented in a very entertaining and informative way.

One inexpensive item that new collectors might be interested in is the flown film lucites from Grissom's Mercury mission. At around $65 they are a bargain.

Thanks for posting it. Now I know who has so many of the items I've bid on and lost over the years!



Posts: 5101
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 01-25-2006 02:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well advice to newbies always depends on what they want to focus on...

I started back in 1976 with books and photos of the unmanned space missions (Mariner, Viking, Voyager, etc.) and only started to collect both Soviet and NASA crew photos since STS-1 in 1981. Twenty years later and having almost every crew photo, the focus has returned to unmanned space missions as we live in a very interesting time with awesome missions to Mars, Saturn and Pluto!

Asking: Having to spend $1000 on? A large 16 inch diameter Mars globe!

Larry McGlynn

Posts: 862
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 01-25-2006 06:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A beginner's guide to space collecting. What a great idea.

Sure everybody has different ideas of what they want, but Noah's blogsite provides a broad range of samples of collectibles to give a novice collector an idea what is available.

Once someone gets into the hobby in a general way, then they will start to focus on what they really like.

Larry McGlynn
A Tribute to Apollo


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

posted 01-25-2006 07:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is a wonderful webpage, Noah. Lots of good items and advice.

I really like Ed's paintings. They have a stark realism that in my opinion is missing from even lunar surface photos.

New Member


posted 01-25-2006 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacesouppatches   Click Here to Email spacesouppatches     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am so jealous!

The website is a real tribute to why we collect.

My $1000 would be spent on astronuat autographed books. Although I am a space patch collector first, I love to read and share the astronauts experiences through their own words and recollections.

The National Air & Space Museum is a great suggestion. If you have a contact with a congressmen you can also get a special tour at their facility for restoration of museum artifacts. This is the place where they get items ready for display in the museum and to preserve what they have. In 1997 I had just such an opportunity arranged and by the chief of staff of my state congressman while in Washington.

Great stuff Noah!


Posts: 3688
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-25-2006 12:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll echo the other comments... great website and great idea. I see we both have the same lunar globe too!

As someone who is relatively new to collecting, one suggestion I would make to fellow newbies is to pick a "theme" (or two or three) early in the collecting process and set goals for your collection. It doesn't hurt to have goals that are a little beyond your means at this point, since it'll give you pleasure to slowly work towards fulfilling that goal. The reward isn't meeting that goal, it's the collecting that happens along the way.

Numerous times I've been tempted to buy items outside of my collecting themes. Sometimes I do, if the item it too good to pass up or I like the item too much (after all, collect what you like), but often I stick with my themes and am thankful for it.

Also, new collectors should collect what inspires them... something they'll enjoy looking at and will appreciate for years to come. It's easy to fall into a trap of wanting an item just to fill a void, but it can then be an empty reward once you've filled that void if the item itself doesn't inspire you.

When writing to astronauts, pick ones that personally have inspired you and whom you admire. Don't write just for an autograph to fill a void.

Here are a couple other possible items new collectors should consider:

1. Books. Reading about the history of space travel is the next best thing to experiencing it. One need not necessarily collect autographed books either, although that can be fun too. I'd recommend Chaikin's book for starters.

2. DVDs. There are many great DVDs out there to choose from. A great starter DVD is the Nova "To the Moon" documentary. I return to this many times just because I think it was extremely well done. At some point, collectors will want to start accumulating Spacecraft Films DVD sets. For about $200 (and a little shopping around), one could acquire: Project Mercury, Project Gemini, Apollo 11, and the Saturn V set. If you buy some of these sets on the secondary market (i.e. Amazon Marketplace), there might even be enough budget leftover for the Apollo 8 set.

Rick Mulheirn

Posts: 2975
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 01-25-2006 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great job on your new site for beginners. Funny how all the best ideas are so obvious... with hindsight.


Posts: 1086
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 01-26-2006 07:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I enjoyed your site Noah.

Another inexpensive idea that falls into place with visiting museums and talks by astronauts is to have your picture taken with the astronauts. I then get the photo blown up to 8 x 10 and the astronauts usually don't mind signing them if you see them again.

Isn't it neat that we are all shaing a fun hobby?



Posts: 72
From: Yacolt WA USA
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 01-27-2006 02:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacebug   Click Here to Email Spacebug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice site! It truly shows the love you have for you collection.

Hmm -- 1000.00?

I think media upgrades would be in order for this Girl Geek. I don't mind shopping for gently used -- more for the money!

Toss old VHS tapes for these DVDs: "From the Earth to the Moon," "Cosmos," and "Earth verses The Flying Saucers". Factual to corny, I love this stuff! It's great for the LONG wet winters here in Washington.

Happily for my budget, my roomie has a 56" Theaterwide Toshibia with Dolby Surround to play these goodies on. So 100.00 on DVDs.

Butt -- I haven't seen a launch personally!

Yes, I spelled it right. I would like to have a Munchkin sized recliner with the new "Buttkicker" LFE (low frequency effect) transducer kit installed in it. Google the name and see what I mean -- How could you watch another launch on NASA TV without it? They even use it on the "Mission Space" ride at Epcot! I figure this chair and effects kit will run me about 700.00.

Beer and pizza for the viewing party -- 50.00. No charge to touch the chair.

Okay -- 150.00 to go --

Well, what can I say -- I'd go on ebay! I'm sure there is something their my varied collection can't live without within my price range! I think a nice meteorite would be in my future but you never know!

Thanks Noah -- it's been fun!

New Member


posted 01-01-2008 02:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bsbounds   Click Here to Email bsbounds     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

I'm a bit new here to the collectSPACE community and have a question or two. I've been a long time space fan, but only recently started collecting, so I'm not sure if I have a specialty area as of yet. I just came into a little disposable cash and was wondering what would be a good buy for about the $400 I have to spend.

Right now I'm looking at purchasing either a Judy Resnik 8x10 or purchasing a membership into the Astronaut Autograph Club. I'd like to add some female astronauts to the collection and thought she'd be good place to start. The AAC would be a good way of building up my collection too though. I was also thinking of getting a John Young.

Right now, I have in the collection a Skylab 3 first day envelope, a Harrison Schmidt 8x10, a Pete Conrad Gemini XI 16x20, and a Lovell and Haise 8x10. I'd like to start and getting some shuttle 'graphs and collectibles now. Any suggestions? I try to avoid Ebay, but is there anything else I should look out for? What else should a newbie be looking for?

Well, thanks for the help and any opinions at all would be really helpful.

Lou Chinal

Posts: 1142
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 01-01-2008 03:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now go visit some museums... the National Air and Space Museum or the Cosmosphere in Kansas. Go see the next Shuttle launch.
Something you might want to think about: The National Air & Space Museum has a Third floor. You have to arrange for a pass to get there, but it's FREE. The models are great!



Posts: 1725
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 01-01-2008 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I lived in America, was starting out in collecting, and had a thousand dollars, I would wait for the next Sims-Hankow event. I'd go along, personally meet a large number of my heroes, get them to sign items of my choice before my eyes and take a photograph of that happening. Easy!


Russ Still

Posts: 535
From: Atlanta, GA USA
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-01-2008 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Russ Still   Click Here to Email Russ Still     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by bsbounds:
Hello, I'm a bit new here to the collectSPACE community and have a question or two. I've been a long time space fan, but only recently started collecting...
Hello yourself! I'll tell you what. You send me a priority mail SASE and I'll return it with a bunch of free stuff that I think you'll really enjoy. I have lots of duplicates and triplicates and need to scale back.

If you want 'em, send me an email and I'll reply with my snail-mail.

Happy 2008. - Russ

New Member


posted 01-05-2008 09:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for zee_aladdin   Click Here to Email zee_aladdin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey Noah,

Nice collection indeed. I was wondering, how were you able to obtain the entire Fliteline medallions set?

Let us know.

Thank you,


Posts: 861
From: Virginia
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 01-06-2008 07:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the kind words Zee.

I have only seen three of these sets come onto the market since I began collecting six years ago. All popped onto the market within a six month period (two at auction houses and one on eBay) and then they were gone. I understand that Jim Lovell's piece is now on display at the Adler Museum in Chicago.

It is my understanding that the Gemini astronauts each contributed 25 of their best flown medallions towards putting these pieces together. Each of the astronauts was then given one presentation leaving just a few for presentation to a select few. I've heard that President Johnson received one.

They are striking... to be able to view the entire Gemini program in one hand is very powerful... one of the best eBay purchases I ever made.



Posts: 947
From: Shady Side, Md
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 01-06-2008 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo-Soyuz   Click Here to Email Apollo-Soyuz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by bsbounds:
I'm a bit new here to the collectSPACE community and have a question or two.
Welcome to collectSPACE. You came to the right place to learn about all facets of space collecting. Post any question you have and you will find many collectors willing to share information. Since you are a new collector, if you email me offlist with your mailing address I will send you some stuff free of charge. Space collecting takes on many aspects- stamps, covers, autographs etc. I specialize in Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. I have a collection which I exhibit at stamps shows 4-6 times a year. I look forward to hearing from you.

John Macco
Vice President
Space Unit
Shady Side, Md.


Posts: 861
From: Virginia
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 02-10-2008 07:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's been while since, on a lark, I sat down to make this little website and came up with a list of items that I'd recommend for people to experience, and to collect, if they had a thousand dollars to spend. It was a fun exercise and I was surprised at the amount of positive comments that were made.

I'm not certain exactly how long ago this site was posted, but upon visiting it this morning I realized how much had changed in such a short time. So, I have added an Editor's note at the end saying...

A lot has changed in the world of space collecting since I first created this site.

Opportunities to encounter the heroes of the space race have increased thanks in great part to a second "gathering"... SpaceFest.

Sadly an opportunity to meet one of the "true greats" is now gone with the passing of Wally Schirra. If you have yet to attend any of the gatherings and meet these legends, don't delay.

There has also been some price increases. If you put together a collection like this one at the time of this posting, congratulations! not only have a great set... but you made a wise investment. If you procrastinated, keep in mind that there are still plenty of great items out there that offer tremendous value, so get started today!

Some price increases that I've seen in this set are... One of the Apollo 15 pencil lead displays sold at auction for $750, up from $20 (wow), the Liberty Bell lucites now routinely sell for around $500 (up from $200), the Neil Armstrong signed Sieger stamp now brings $700 (up from $400)... So, our collection has, in just a short time, doubled in value. Not bad.

Noah Bradley

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
New Member


posted 02-10-2008 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by mensax:
...the Liberty Bell lucites now routinely sell for around $500 (up from $200)
Noah... which lucites are you referring to? The LB-7 Film Segments (which would be shocking to me if sold @500) or the spacecraft restoration lucites (the large version I think went initially for +500 upon initial release)?

Scott Schneeweis

Larry McGlynn

Posts: 862
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 02-10-2008 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

The large LB7 lucites were sold at $450 during their initial offering from the Cosmosphere. I sold mine over a year ago at $750.

There were two other sizes sold. The smallest one being $150 and the midsized one for $250. Those are selling at $400 or $500 on eBay when you can find them.

The question is how will this hobby change in the coming year?



Posts: 998
From: Chicago, IL
Registered: Jan 2002

posted 02-10-2008 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rjurek349   Click Here to Email rjurek349     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent post, Noah! I've always appreciated your site, and the advice given. Regardless of which LB7 lucite, it is very clear that the trend on prices -- across the board, from autographs to flown material -- are headed higher, IMHO. Quality material will always be desired, given both their historic nature and their relative rarity. I can remember "back in the day" when an Armstrong could be had for between $50 and $100... and now look at it.

All times are CT (US)

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