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  Ted Freeman's funeral flag (re: what is or isn't appropriate for auction?)

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Author Topic:   Ted Freeman's funeral flag (re: what is or isn't appropriate for auction?)
mjanovec
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posted 09-14-2007 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I initially hesitated to comment on this item, but I was a bit surprised to see Ted Freeman's funeral flag (that draped his coffin) up for auction at Superior. While I respect that his estate is free to dispense with this flag in whatever manner they choose, I have to wonder if there really is a demand for this kind of item among space collectors. Still, I suspect this item will sell and it may indeed bring a good price, but I have been struggling trying to find a reason why someone would want this item in their collection.

(As a side note, I can't help but recall how I overheard that someone possessed the watch worn by one of the Apollo 1 astronauts during the fire. I can't imagine having an item like that in my collection and feeling good about it.)

I posted this outside the Superior auction thread, because I'm looking for a discussion on what is and isn't appropriate for auctions such as these. While I hesitate to say the selling of this flag is necessarily wrong (since it's not really my place to do so), it's not something I personally feel all that good about. I would be happier to hear that this item was purchased or donated to a museum or a memorial for Freeman.

Thoughts?

nasamad
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posted 09-14-2007 06:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

While I could understand someone wanting to possess one of the Conrad or Schirra funeral programs, I think owning a flag from a casket is going a bit to far.

And as far as I am concerned, if the watch was being worn during the fire, it should be either in the same place as the suits, or if it was a personal watch rather than a Nasa issued one then it should be on the wrist of its wearer !

Just my 2p.......Adam

LadyCosmos
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posted 09-14-2007 06:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LadyCosmos   Click Here to Email LadyCosmos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with you... For me too, seems strange to buy this kind of item(s). It would be more appropriate for a museum.

I don't know if in USA, some national institution(s) could to prevent this sort of auction by buy the item. I know, in France, it's possible for museum or national institution to prevvent the sell by a special action (I don't know the english term = in french Préemption). It's often to prevent that historical object leave France or go to private collection. Our french institution buy the item (often less price as usual bid)

Maybe space items are not yet historical ...

LadyCosmos

spaceman1953
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posted 09-14-2007 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Funeral items....hmmm.

While not the FIRST thing I would like to have in my collection, there certainly IS a need to save this stuff.

I, personally, collect "funeral cards" or "prayer cards"....you know, those little cards usually prepared by the funeral home and given away for free when you go to "viewings". I always stash several in my pocket.....sometimes you know relatives who aren't there or cannot be there and may want one....so you have spares for those people....if and when you identify them.

I keep them for friends and relatives.....

I have even seen them in boxes of stuff at house auctions.....

I have some VHS films of astronauts church services.....I can make it through about 5 or 10 minutes before I have to turn those off and go back to them later.

I have made covers for astronauts funerals.....

I don't concentrate on this stuff, but certainly these things and more are in my piles, and while I know the kin are just going to have to wade through it all when I die, I don't think any of it is too far out of line.

But like has been observed, items such as an astronauts flag are best owned by a memorial or museum......

My two cents. (Maybe a nickel's worth with inflation.)

Gene Bella

jimsz
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posted 09-14-2007 08:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The problem is not that a collector would buy something like this, if you offer just about anything for sale someone will pay for it.

The problem is someone close to Mr. Freeman, possibly someone in his family would sell something like this.

spaceflori
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posted 09-14-2007 10:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflori   Click Here to Email spaceflori     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Omega watch of Ed White was consigned by his son Ed White III to that Superior sale and was bought back by the Omega company in Switzerland for their own museum.
If that is the case, I can't see anything wrong here then.
Others may jump in, but at the time of the sale the watch wasn't proven to be worn in the fire, it was advertized as worn during his historic spacewalk and possibly later in the fire.

Florian

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Flown artifacts, autographs and more !
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mjanovec
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posted 09-15-2007 12:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaceflori:
Others may jump in, but at the time of the sale the watch wasn't proven to be worn in the fire, it was advertized as worn during his historic spacewalk and possibly later in the fire.

That's not the watch I'm referring to. But since what I heard was all second-hand, I am not comfortable discussing the specifics of that watch here. The point of the discussion is whether owning something of that nature is an acceptable aspect of the hobby.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-15-2007 05:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jimsz:
The problem is someone close to Mr. Freeman, possibly someone in his family would sell something like this.
I think it depends on the circumstances. If the funds are needed by his family, and if there is such a market for such items, then each party receives what s/he needs/wants out of the sale.

While I would never condone the outright commercialization of such items as the flag or, in another past auction example, the condolences book from another astronaut's funeral, I also have a hard time believing anyone enters into these sales without a pressing need to do so. The nature of that need however, is not something I believe we, the potential buyers, should have the need or desire to be privy.

stsmithva
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posted 09-15-2007 05:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree that awards presented to astronauts are gifts and the recipients can do with them as they wish; that financial problems might make selling them painfully necessary; and that in most cases the items being sold were given decades ago. But a couple of them have been from groups that were so well-meaning, such as children's groups, and were so sweet and personal, that it's a bit disheartening to see them being sold.

Steve

poofacio
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posted 09-18-2007 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for poofacio   Click Here to Email poofacio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
IMO if you own an item such as this flag and you wish to sell it, it is your business alone and if you wish to buy it it is also your business alone.
Why do people with holier than thou attitudes (who are not forced to sell or buy such an item) fret about it? I live in the UK, a once great country, now bogged down with laws and rules instigated by busy bodies anxious to enforce their little preferences and whims on everyone else because they have nothing better to worry about. ( lucky them!).

"Get a life" springs to mind.

These items are all part of history, in the midst of life we are in death. Items associated with death are a reminder of our fragility, their presence in a collection does not imply any disrespect to the deceased, usually completely the opposite.

David

mjanovec
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posted 09-18-2007 05:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by poofacio:
IMO if you own an item such as this flag and you wish to sell it, it is your business alone and if you wish to buy it it is also your business alone.
Why do people with holier than thou attitudes (who are not forced to sell or buy such an item) fret about it? I live in the UK, a once great country, now bogged down with laws and rules instigated by busy bodies anxious to enforce their little preferences and whims on everyone else because they have nothing better to worry about. ( lucky them!).

"Get a life" springs to mind.


That's a mature response.

Note that I said his estate is free to whatever they so choose to do with the flag. And I said that selling the flag wasn't necessarily wrong. My posting was to try to understand what motivation a collector would have for wanting to own such an item. To me, it seems a bit ghoulish to want to own someone's funeral flag. But hey, I was simply trying to spark discussion on the topic and perhaps see some other viewpoints on the matter.

Who here has been "holier than thou?" I only ask because you use "god" as your e-mail address.

poofacio
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posted 09-18-2007 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for poofacio   Click Here to Email poofacio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
The point of the discussion is whether owning something of that nature is an acceptable aspect of the hobby.
Acceptable to whom? Surely it is a matter of personal choice what one includes in a collection. Why would someone else take the time out to find it acceptable or unacceptable? What is it to them?

I find a lot of things unacceptable to me so I don't do them.

Live and let live?

mjanovec
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posted 09-18-2007 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by poofacio:
Acceptable to whom? Surely it is a matter of personal choice what one includes in a collection. Why would someone else take the time out to find it acceptable or unacceptable? What is it to them?

While I can't dictate what other people collect, nor do I wish to, I am still entitled to a personal opinion. Some aspects of this hobby, I feel, run dangerously close to crossing the line into being in bad taste...if not crossing that line altogether. Collecting and selling Neil Armstrong's hair is one of those things, as far as I'm concerned.

And really, I'm open to opinion about why collecting something like a funeral flag for a private collection is a good thing. I'd like to hear discussion from a different viewpoint than my own.

robert barrett
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posted 09-18-2007 09:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robert barrett   Click Here to Email robert barrett     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have three funeral flags. My father,step-father, and my uncle who had no children. I have them in flag cases and have great respect for them. As for Ted Freeman's flag it would seem some family member would wnat it and not the amount of money it brings. As far as a space collector I think it is in bad taste for an individual collector. Should be displayed in a musuem.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-18-2007 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robert barrett:
Should be displayed in a musuem.
While I agree, museums do buy artifacts at auction and thus such sales do not preclude museum display.

David Bryant
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posted 09-28-2007 01:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Bryant   Click Here to Email David Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm inclined to agree with David (Poofacio!), possibly because I share his concern about how autocratic the UK has become.
As well as space stuff, I sell aviation memorabilia: now personally I won't handle material from fatal crashes, whether during wartime or in testing. Yet plenty of people do: virtually every major dealer of such items seems to be offering bits of Mike Adams' X-15: that's their choice! And pieces of the XB-70 seem to be freely available, too. But what's the differenence between that and, say, selling chunks of Challenger or Columbia? And similarly, it's up to the individual to decide whether they wish to add such material to their collection: lots of people seem happy to do so! It's MY personal preference not to!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-28-2007 02:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Bryant:
And pieces of the XB-70 seem to be freely available, too. But what's the difference between that and, say, selling chunks of Challenger or Columbia?
The earlier is legal (assuming the pieces were obtained legally); the latter is illegal (as all pieces of debris remain U.S. government property).

David Bryant
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posted 09-28-2007 02:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Bryant   Click Here to Email David Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well yes, Robert: but what we're discussing here, though, is the ethics of owning items that came into the public domain after the death of a pilot or astronaut. The decision to make possession of Shuttle disaster relics illegal was based on the need to discover the causes of the two accidents: vital evidence might have been missed had pieces disappeared into collections before being examined.
The X-15/XB-70 items (consisting of tiny washers and bits of canopy glass scraped off the desert floor) are now irrelevant as evidence. Tell you what: I bet there'd be a ready market out there for bits of Gagarin's Mig-15, or See and Bassett's T-38: as I said, MY choice is not to handle such items.

Max Q
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posted 09-28-2007 02:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think I would pay for a Funeral flag as I'm aware of the reverence such items should be held in. But I have also seen such items for sale and I feel that if the person who is owner of the flag doesn't hold them with the right view maybe in the hands of a collector who will isn't the worst outcome.

my 15 cents worth ( I'm in Australia our currency isn't worth as much as yours )

poofacio
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posted 09-28-2007 02:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for poofacio   Click Here to Email poofacio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Should not the Turin shroud should be sealed away in a silo?

Max Q
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posted 09-28-2007 02:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by poofacio:
Should not the Turin shroud should be sealed away in a silo?
Is not the Shroud of Turin locked away from public view the vast majority of the time?

David Bryant
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posted 09-28-2007 03:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Bryant   Click Here to Email David Bryant     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tell you what: David makes a point....
Shouldn't the shuttle debris be housed in a more fitting location than a silo and a room in the VAB? Maybe it could be encased in a concrete pyramid or something similar, with plaques commemorating the crews.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-28-2007 03:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Before we drift too far off-topic, the subject of shuttle debris storage (and display) is the topic of another thread.

collocation
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posted 09-28-2007 09:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for collocation   Click Here to Email collocation     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Realize there are always three sides to every story - yours, mine and the truth. But, buying a funeral flag is approaching grave robbery, what's next dirt/grass from the grave site. There obviously is a seller and where there is a seller they will always be a buyer

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