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  [Aurora] Michael Collins' Cartier lunar module

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Author Topic:   [Aurora] Michael Collins' Cartier lunar module
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 37616
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-03-2003 08:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As noted on the front page:
As if by itself, the solid 18 karat gold Lunar Module crafted by Cartier and gifted to Apollo 11 CMP Michael Collins was not enough to attract bidders to Aurora Galleries' Lot 588 in their auction this weekend, the model was discovered today to hold its own hidden treasure.

After being tipped to an embedded microfilm by Buzz Aldrin, Aurora's staff carefully inspected the LM to uncover the untouched roll, stowed within the skirt of the model's descent engine. The contents of the film, which lists those associated with the model's presentation, will be left for the winner to fully reveal, though Aurora's staff admits to having taken a quick peak.

This is Michael Orenstein's personal accounting of the discovery:
During a visit to Buzz Aldrin this morning, the subject of Michael Collin's 18kt gold LM model, presented to each of the Apollo 11 astronauts by French newspaper Le Figaro during their 1969 post-flight trip to Europe and included in our auction, came up. Dr. Aldrin asked if the model included the microfilm roll. I asked "What microfilm roll?" He proceeded to tell me that each model contained a hidden roll of microfilm secreted within the model. This film contains pages of names of persons associated with the Apollo 11 presentation of this model. I told Buzz I never knew the film existed and therefore hadn't looked for it.

After I got back to the office, Victoria and I went on a treasure hunt using the model as the subject. Amazing how many places on a LM are possible hiding places. After much searching, we discovered that the skirt of the LM rocket engine on the base was removable and, contained within (sure enough), THERE was the roll of film. This film has been secreted here for the past 34 years, untouched and unseen, and, even better yet, it is in excellent condition.

Curiosity got the better of Victoria and me. We removed the film and partially unrolled it to see what it said. Near as we can tell, it is written in French (Surprise!) and begins: "Homage des Lecteurs du Figaro aux Astronautes American. Liste des Souscripteurs por les "LEM" D'Or..."

1202 Alarm
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Posts: 303
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-04-2003 06:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 1202 Alarm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Homage des Lecteurs du Figaro aux Astronautes American. Liste des Souscripteurs por les "LEM" D'Or..."
"Tribute from the readers of..."

The microfilm contains the list of all the readers of the "Figaro" (then the biggest French newspaper with "Le Monde") who gave money for these three items. Therefore it was a gift entirely paid by the readers, and a tribute from the French people to the US space effort and the Apollo 11 crew.

Frederic Janik
Member

Posts: 319
From: Helsinki, Finland
Registered: Jul 2000

posted 11-04-2003 10:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Frederic Janik   Click Here to Email Frederic Janik     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 1202 Alarm:
Therefore it was a gift entirely paid by the readers, and a tribute from the French people to the US Space effort and the A11 crew.
I wonder what I would think if I would have paid for this gift to the astronauts to see it sold at an auction to a rich individual probably not related to the Apollo effort..

Granted it has been many years, but still...

1202 Alarm
Member

Posts: 303
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 11-04-2003 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 1202 Alarm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You have a point there.

I thought about it for a minute and had the same reaction but then if it's a gift, it's a gift, right?

I prefer to think that Michael Collins will enjoy the use of money out of it, at this point he will get more fun with the money than to watch this strange thing for another 35 years...

Gordon Reade
Member

Posts: 334
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 11-08-2003 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as selling the Gold LM is concerned look at it this way. If you had flown Apollo 11 and you knew your name would be in the history books for as long as records from this era exist what need would you have of it? The goodies given you after the flight are not the important thing. The flight is what mattered not jewelry.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 37616
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-18-2007 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would appear that Collins' Cartier of Paris/Le Figaro gold lunar module model was (re-)acquired by Cartier of Paris. From the American Museum of Natural History's soon to be closing exhibit Gold:
The Thrill of Victory

Whether racing to the finish line or hurtling through space, extraordinary achievements are recognized with extraordinary trophies.

Three individual 18-karat gold models of the American lunar module were made in 1969 by the jeweler Cartier of Paris on behalf of the French newspaper Le Figaro and presented to the three Apollo 11 astronauts during their postflight tour in Paris. This model was presented to astronaut Michael Collins.

The model is credited to the Cartier Collection.

For those in the New York area, you can see the model on display at the museum until August 19, 2007.

All times are CT (US)

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