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  WestLicht auction: Large NASA Photo Archive

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Author Topic:   WestLicht auction: Large NASA Photo Archive
Besixdouze
Member

Posts: 188
From: Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 11-03-2012 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Besixdouze   Click Here to Email Besixdouze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
WestLicht Photographica Auction, Lot 1210, 2456 prints, 2144 transparencies. Opening Price €200,000 ($258,000). Any takers?
The 2,456 prints and 2,144 transparencies presented here comprise what we believe to be the largest archive of NASA-related photographs ever offered at auction. The inclusion of such an extensive and comprehensive series of colour transparencies is surely unprecedented. With only a few noted exceptions, all are vintage and the collection covers every NASA mission from Mercury in 1961 to Skylab in 1974.

The great majority of both prints and transparencies are original NASA issues but the work of independent photographers, notably Cornell Capa, Erich Hartmann and Ralph Morse, is also included. Many classic and justly celebrated images feature amongst the transparencies but perhaps the strength of the print collection lies in its coverage of lesser-known and rarely documented subject areas. There are groups, for example, recording Wernher von Braun's Saturn V rocket, contractors' concept designs for spacecraft, rocket launches and capsule recoveries, astronauts' pre-flight preparations, Launch Control at Cape Kennedy, Mission Control at Houston and an impressive series of lunar views, both from the surface and from orbit.

Particularly rare is a large group of some 500 large-format (35 x 28 cm, 14 x 11 in) gelatin silver prints, their versos with the credit "World Book Encyclopedia Science Service, Inc", which justify some explanation. In September 1963 the literary rights to the personal stories of the astronauts and their families were acquired jointly by Field Enterprises Educational Corp. of Chicago, publishers of the World Book Encyclopedia, and Time, Inc. (Life magazine). With the approval of NASA, the contract provided that Field Enterprises pay $10,000 and Life $6,250 to each of the (then) sixteen astronauts annually, initially for a four-year period.

The photographs in this group are indeed more personal, informal studies of the astronauts before and after missions. What is not apparent is that many, if not most, of these subjects are by Ralph Morse (b.1917), the Life staff photographer who spent decades recording the lives and achievements of the astronauts. His was the famous 1960 portrait of the "Mercury Seven" in their pressure suits, and he spent so much time photographing the seven that John Glenn nicknamed him the eighth astronaut. The present collection thus includes a large and important body of his work.

Besixdouze
Member

Posts: 188
From: Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 12-19-2012 07:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Besixdouze   Click Here to Email Besixdouze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just in case you were wondering:

The highest bid at the photography auction was recorded for the, presumably largest private collection of NASA photographs, documenting the entire US space program from 1961 to 1974 and also the Apollo 11 lunar mission with Neil Armstrong in 300 photographs and slides – this lot fetched 240,000 Euro ($318,528).

A set of more than 300 photographs from the Soviet space program (Lot 1211) achieved 72,000 Euro ($95,558), clearly exceeding its opening bid of 25,000 Euro.

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