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  Grissom dime auctioned to benefit memorial (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Grissom dime auctioned to benefit memorial
Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-15-2006 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Virgil I. Grissom Memorial, Inc. release
The Virgil I Grissom Memorial Inc will be offering a rare dime for auction on ebay. This dime is one of a few that flew with Astronaut Virgil I (Gus) Grissom into space, July 21, 1961, on the Liberty Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft. The Liberty Bell was lost at sea. When the Kansas Cosmosphere recovered the capsule, in 1999, at least 52 souvenir "Mercury head" dimes were discovered. The Kansas Cosmosphere donated two of these dimes to the Grissom Memorial, with the intent that one of the dimes be retained for display, and that the other dime be auctioned off for a fund-raiser.

The dime will be listed on ebay beginning on March 15th, for a period of 10 days. A minimum bid of $10,000 has been set for the dimes auction. The dime has been unofficially appraised at $25,000.

Proceeds from the auction will be used to finish Gus Grissom's Childhood Home. The home, located in Mitchell, IN, is being converted into a museum. The museum will show how a local boy was able to grow up to be a true American Hero.

thump
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posted 03-15-2006 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for thump   Click Here to Email thump     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wish I had the money to bid, very worthy cause.

lunarrv15
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posted 03-15-2006 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Those dimes were spread out on a table next to the window when I visited the museum.

Rick
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posted 03-15-2006 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick   Click Here to Email Rick     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any thoughts on the opening bid? I'm thinking it's just a wee bit overpriced, considering you could purchase a piece of the actual spacecraft for less than $500.

Omega13
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posted 03-15-2006 07:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Omega13   Click Here to Email Omega13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a shame that such a wonderful artifact is destined to be hidden in someone's private collection. Hopefully a benefactor will purchase the artifact and donate it to a museum that knows how to take care of it properly.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-15-2006 08:11 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 Omega13:
Hopefully a benefactor will purchase the artifact and donate it to a museum that knows how to take care of it properly.
Welcome to collectSPACE. I think you will find as you explore this site and meet some of the collectors, that "hiding" and "private collection" are not always synonymous, and that there are many within our community that do as fine or even better job preserving artifacts as do the many fine museums around the world. Most collectors desire to exhibit the artifacts they care for and often serve the very valuable role of researching and documenting the history of their pieces for future generations to reference.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 03-15-2006 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Kansas Cosmosphere has 40 of these dimes either on exhibit or in the traveling Liberty Bell 7 show that moves about the country.

The Virgil I. Grissom Memorial has one in it's display also.

Collectors here tend to display their material for other collectors or the general public. Many use their material in the classroom teaching or spreading the word to future generations about the history and the thrill of space travel.

In some cases, they actually restore and display material that might wind up in the basement of a museum.

Omega13
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posted 03-15-2006 11:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Omega13   Click Here to Email Omega13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Mr. Pearlman, for the welcome. I appreciate being allowed to air my concern about the Liberty Bell 7 dime. I do have a small collection of astronaut autographs, (mostly in books they have written) and use your "sightings" section often to learn when an astronaut will be near me.

I do have a concern about history education and care of artifacts. While it is noble that collectors may be displaying their artifacts in schools or discussing them with groups, proper care and educational instruction by professionals is always
preferable.

For example, I recently visited a collector's website that displayed a moonwalker's beta cloth name badge that had been worn on the moon. The collector took great delight in mentioning that he had the astronaut sign the back of the badge with an ink pen. This is poor curatorial practice and poor stewardship at best. This fairly rare artifact is now irrepairably and permantly damaged. If this were in the care of a museum, it would hopefully be propery stored or displayed with the suit from which it was removed.

Mr. McGlynn, you mention that the Kansas Cosmosphere has 40 of these dimes on exhibit. Are you inferring that because there are a large number of dimes, it is acceptable for some of them to be hidden from public view or possibly improperly cared for by private individuals?

There are twelve space suits that have been on the moon. Since they are all roughly the same, should we sell a few off to private collectors as well? Shouldn't Neil Armstrong's lunar suit be treated with the same respect and care as the 52nd dime tucked away somewhere inside LB7?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-16-2006 02:56 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 Omega13:
This fairly rare artifact is now irrepairably and permantly damaged.
The nametag, by itself, is indisgtinguishable from the many non-flown examples that were produced in excess as back-ups and run-offs. There are no serial numbers or other markings that indicate that it went to the Moon. When NASA presented the nametag to the astronaut as a souvenir, it was framed with his other patches. If that astronaut chose to break apart that set (a decision that was his to make, and which he apparently did in this case) then the writing on its reverse may be all that remains to identify that that specific nametag is the flown original, regardless if it rests within a museum or a private collection. Further, it should not be assumed that only a collector would ask for the writing to be added on its reverse, as I have seen museum curators request the same form of provenance on other artifacts.

But even if we were to give the benefit of the doubt to the museum over the collector, there are many museums that have poor inventory systems and simply cannot (or do not choose) to care for their artifacts with the responsibly you are assigning them as an entity. In recent years we have learned that museums have shredded Apollo flown parachutes and mislabeled flown artifacts to the point that they were used as educational "hands-on" demo units to be tossed around by children with sticky fingers.

My point is not that all museums are bad or even that all collectors are good, but at the end of the day, it should not be an "us" vs. "them" situation. If the concern is encouraging responsible care for artifacts, then that concern should address both museums and collectors. Never will museums be able (or again, care to) inherit all space flown artifacts. Collectors save many an item from ending up in the junk yard. Likewise, never will collectors own any of the flown U.S. spacecraft or Mercury, Gemini and Apollo flown spacesuits, nor should they.

There is a harmony that can exist between the two groups that would stand to benefit both. At least, that has been my experience since starting collectSPACE.

As for the flown dimes, let us not lose sight of the fact that had Liberty Bell 7 been recovered as planned, they would have been retrieved from behind whatever panel they were originally stowed and returned to the individual engineers who flew them as a personal souvenir. In the 40+ years that would pass, a good number of those dimes would likely be lost and most, I would be fair in assuming, would never see a museum. As the current situation stands, a majority are in public (museum) hands and only a few will ever be "locked away" in private collections.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 03-16-2006 06:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well said, Robert.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 03-16-2006 07:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, that is very well said. At the end of day it is collectors and museums working together that will save most of this material.

It is the blanket generalization that bothers me as a collector given what has happened in the space and aviation museum world in the last ten years.

Besides, at the end of the day, many of these items will wind up in institutions. We, as collectors, are just custodians.

Just an aside, while I know I maybe an exception, my wife and I studied artifact preservation at a maritime museum where we volunteer and are on the board. I have learned how to handle and display artifacts.

And trust me Omega13, the spacesuit name tag was not ruined. It was enhanced, has excellent provenance and is on display for anybody who wants to visit and I don't charge admission either. You are welcome to visit at any time. I would like to hear about your curatorial training. I may not be perfect, but at least I didn't have Neil Armstrong's EVA suit drycleaned for display.

There are 52 dimes that were recovered off of the Liberty Bell 7. Ten are in private hands and 42 are in museum hands. There are quite a few dimes in public display. It is very acceptable to sell off a few for fund raising purposes. You should read the deacquistion clauses in museum donation contracts. It directly states that the museum reserves the right to sell off any artifacts they feel is necessary to raise funds for the museum.

As I have said before in this forum. The collector treasures the items they have found and many times takes more steps to preserve them, then museums do. You just have to go to the vaults of many museums to understand that. I have had that experience too.

Again, in the end, some museums and collectors are good and some bad. It is by museums and collectors working together that many artifacts that would be lost to the world are cataloged, saved and restored for the future.

divemaster
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posted 03-16-2006 09:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And there's nothing like raising money for a good cause such as the Grissom Memorial! $10,000+ will go a long way to present all of Gus' artifacts.

DSeuss5490
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posted 03-16-2006 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DSeuss5490   Click Here to Email DSeuss5490     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Aren't there two types of flown Grissom dimes? Other than the obvious difference in dime design and that the Roosevelts are embedded in a charm/locket type of thingy, what are the differences historically and is one more scarce/valuable than the other? You dont see either of them too often. Just wondering. Dean

CJ
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posted 03-16-2006 09:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CJ   Click Here to Email CJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gus took two rolls of uncirculated Roosevelt dimes so unlike most all of the other 52 they are in shinny mint issued condition. The highest price I have seen one of these sold at auction was for $9,000 (Christie's I believe).

Historically, Gus carried his in a leg pocket on his spacesuit while the others were stowed (hidden) in the spacecraft. As an owner, both "types" have a different story to tell. I don't think one is more valuable than the other.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 03-16-2006 09:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CJ, do you own both types of dimes?

kyra
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posted 03-16-2006 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While were on the topic of Grissom's MR-4, did Gus actually fly a small fleet of little 3/4 inch Mercury capsule toys in capsule as depicted in the "Right Stuff"? (I'm only looking to see if this was fact not to debate the movie, which the producers wouldn't have been above creating this prop just so they could drop one into the beer.)

Anyway, if this was true did these capsules go down with the LB7? Did any fly in his suit pocket? And where would one find a little die-cast capsule like this? They are really cute!

Larry McGlynn
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posted 03-17-2006 05:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
CJ is correct that Grissom carried two rolls of Roosevelt dimes on the mission. Gus also carried small Mercury capsule tietacks on the mission too. I don't know the quantity of those, but they are out there at auction some time. I know Mrs. Grissom has some of the tietacks also as well as dimes.

According to Mrs. Grissom, Gus carried the dimes in a small belt that was made of spacesuit material that hung around his ankle. She still has the belt. So the Roosevelt dimes and the Mercury capsule tietack stayed with Gus after his capsule sank.

As for both types of dimes, I can tell that this is a space group. The Mercury Head dime went into space and then to the bottom of the ocean all in the space of a couple of hours. I like both dimes, but as a fan of maritime artifacts, I really like the Mercury Head dime.

ejectr
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posted 03-17-2006 05:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Plus the fact that they were "Mercury" dimes for the "Mercury" program.

Who ever heard of a space program called "Roosevelt"?

zee_aladdin
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posted 03-17-2006 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for zee_aladdin   Click Here to Email zee_aladdin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a coin collector, if the Mercury dime on auction is a 1916D then it has a street market value in the coin world of at least an extra $800.

I would like to know the date of the Mercury dime being sold.

Omega13
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posted 03-17-2006 05:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Omega13   Click Here to Email Omega13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the purpose of museums has been lost on some folks in the collectSPACE community. Museums allow our treasures to be accessed by the general public. Information on items not on exhibit can be queried by anyone. The science of preservation is paramount to ensuring our treasures will be available for as long as possible.

Private ownership of artifacts takes them out of the public domain. While I may be welcomed by you to visit your artifacts at any time, there is no way your living room's attendance figures match those of the National Air and Space Museum. Taking artifacts out of the public domain is selfish and promotes ignorance.

The title of "Curator" is easily given, but the knowledge is definitely earned, mostly at the level of Master's degree. The attendance at a few seminars does not adequately prepare one for the daunting task of preserving history.

A true museum does not place monetary value on it's artifacts. Each item is considered irreplaceable. Signatures do not enhance an artifact. The Declaration of Independence would not be improved if Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple and Matthew Thornton signed it again 40 years later. If anything, the signature applies compounds to the item that may react negatively in the long term. (Ink and beta cloth do not play well together.) Obtaining signatures is merely a form of hero worship.

Once again, if someone in the collectSPACE community is considering purchasing the Liberty Bell 7 dime, please do the honorable thing and donate it to an organization that maintains a proper philosophy for preserving America's treasures. Obviously, the Grissom Memorial is not one of those organizations.

4allmankind
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posted 03-17-2006 06:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can honestly say that I have never disagreed more with anything that I have read in my entire life.

You must remember that you are posting your (nameless) opinion on a website that caters to individuals that collect space items.

Regarding your comment about private ownership taking the material out of the public hands, I would like to remind you that many of us have websites that display and describe the pieces that we own- like these dimes. I myself, have learned more from my friends websites than any other media- museums included. I can visit these sites every night, while I visit the NASM once or twice a year.

By the way, what about all of the items that museums choose not to display? There are tons of material out there sitting in the vaults of museums that the public cant see. We have no idea what is in the basement of the NASM - but I promise you that it is quite a lot.

The fact that we build websites to display our material is the ultimate form of education. I believe these websites are the best resource for us to learn more about this hobby, and space history. Please remember that most of us don't keep our items locked up from light, like you suggest.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-17-2006 06:31 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 Omega13:
Private ownership of artifacts takes them out of the public domain.
I think you would be surprised to learn how many privately-owned items comprise the exhibits you see at museums today. Or how many museum curators advise those looking to donate their artifacts to sign long-term loans instead.

Or for that matter, how many museum curators have turned away items that are more historically signficant than the dimes that have inspired this discussion.

To suggest that museums do not place monetary value on their artifacts is to not only ignore insurance policies but more importantly, overlook the fact that most museums are either board, state or federally-mandated to sell or otherwise barter lesser parts of their collection to in turn upgrade their holdings.

At the same time, its equally misleading to imply that collectors are only concerned with monetary value as there are quite a few that would resist selling their artifacts for any price.

If the Mercury dime is purchased and the winning bidder chooses to loan or donate it to a museum, then I would not expect anyone here to criticize his/her decision. If anything, most collectors owe a great debt to museums for sparking and/or encouraging their own interests and in my experience, most are the first to promote their merits.

However, if that person should choose to keep the dime for him/herself, then it is no less honorable than the alternative, assuming it is treated with the respect and care it deserves. There is no loss of honor by wanting to share a piece of space history with a smaller community than the National Air and Space Museum reaches. Sometimes, it can have an even greater impact.

Lastly, I think a notion introduced by your post (though certainly not unique to it) needs to be dispelled. My personal collection pales in comparison to other collectors, let alone that of museums, however I can say with some degree of certainty that the more notable pieces in it have been seen by or otherwise exposed to an audience of several hundred thousand people (if not a million or more). Between television appearances, magazine articles, this website, public exhibitions and, though few in comparson, private tours of my own home, I would be confident in saying that more people have seen specific items from my own collection than they have some of the more minor held items in several national and international museums.

Nor am I the exception: there are many collectors who have taken their artifacts to the internet, enabling an international community to share in them. Likewise, they have loaned them to museums and libraries, brought them into schools (of all ages, including colleges where they were part of master-level studies), wrote about them, had them written about, shown them on television, loaned them to movie sets and otherwise did anything but hide them from view.

"Privately-held" simply does not equate to privately seen.

mensax
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posted 03-17-2006 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Omega13:
Once again, if someone in the collectSPACE community is considering purchasing the Liberty Bell 7 dime, please do the honorable thing and donate it to an organization that maintains a proper philosophy for preserving America's treasures.
Perhaps you should consider purchasing this dime and, in your own words, "donate it to an organization that maintains a proper philosophy for preserving America's treasures." That IMHO would be more "honorable" than telling others what they should do with their own money.

mjanovec
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posted 03-17-2006 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It should also be remembered that the sale of this dime is to help fund the establishment of a museum at Grissom's childhood home. What some have labeled as an irresponsible sale of the dime will actually go a long way towards establishing a museum that thousands will eventually visit.

Besides that, the owners of the dime thought it was in their best interest to sell one. 51 other dimes exist (in addition to the ones Grissom himself carried). Having one in private hands does not represent the loss of a unique artifact. For all we know, in 100 years, those 51 other dimes may be in a museum storage closet while the one in private hands will still be proudly displayed on the internet or in a museum.

CJ
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posted 03-17-2006 08:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CJ   Click Here to Email CJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
Do you own both types of dimes?
No, just 1 of 100.

Rick Boos
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posted 03-17-2006 09:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kyra:
Anyway, if this was true did these capsules go down with the LB7?
This scan is one of the gold lapel pins he carried on his Liberty Bell 7 flight. Also if you recall Betty had one displayed at the Hall Of Fame with the spacesuit.

CJ
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posted 03-17-2006 09:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CJ   Click Here to Email CJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Omega13:
Museums allow our treasures to be accessed by the general public.
What you say sounds good in theory, but it doesn't represent reality. Consider all the flown film from Mercury to Apollo 7. This film is in a NARA cold vault in Maryland. That film (thousands of images) is not available to the public to see or obtain prints from. Consider NASA auctions of surplus material. Many items sold on eBay were sold/obtained at these auctions and if it weren't for collectors some of us would probably be driving cars made with flown metal. Another thing that troubles me with museums is much of there collections will never be seen by the public. Consider the Cosmosphere, where over 10,000 artifacts are in storage in a warehouse and out of public view. Some of those items may rotate through new exhibits or be loaned to other museums, but most will collect dust on a shelf out of view.

Hawkman
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posted 03-17-2006 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkman   Click Here to Email Hawkman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rick Boos:
This scan is one of the gold lapel pins he carried on his Liberty Bell 7 flight.
Very close in comparison to my favorite tie tack! A silver Mercury Spacecraft that my dad brought back from Houston in the mid-60's. I still have it and wear it whenever possible. Folks love it!

Omega13
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posted 03-17-2006 11:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Omega13   Click Here to Email Omega13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I made a previous comment about the Grissom Memorial not being an organization to properly preserve America's treasures. I would like to apologize to the Memorial organization for that comment. It was extraordinarly harsh. Relating that to another comment made to me above. If I had the funds, I would donate $25,000.00 to the Grissom Memorial and insist they keep both dimes. I'm sure the Memorial would prefer that scenairo as well. Unfortunately, the only Omega13 Foundation is the one holding up my house.

I think my posts have reached "agree to disagree" status as we're starting to repeat ourselves. I am sure that many of you think my posts were intended to "flame" the message board. I merely want to plant the seed that there are other ways, which I think are better, to manage the preservation of our history. Admittedly, sometimes a little fire gets people to think.

Thank you, Mr. Pearlman, for your polite discussion. You could have quite easily shut off my dissenting opinion but didn't. Fervent discussion is a tremendous way to learn and understand differing opinions and options. Thank you for allowing it here.

I know many of you disagree, but please keep the dime and all our artifacts in the public domain. My biggest fear is allowing the dime in private hands could mean it is destined to be a good luck charm in someone's change pocket.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 03-17-2006 11:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Omega13:
I think the purpose of museums has been lost on some folks in the collectSPACE community. Museums allow our treasures to be accessed by the general public. Information on items not on exhibit can be queried by anyone.
That's assuming, of course, that they have perfect records on what they have. I got into a discussion with a (now-former) museum director on Snoopy and NASA, and a couple of weeks later, what did he find to his surprise that the museum had, at least according to museum records? The flightsuits that were used by the SMEAT crew. They were never put on display, instead had been "given" - his word, not "donated" - by NASA to the museum and languished in some forgotten corner instead. Now that the museum is no longer, I wonder where those flightsuits went to....

Larry McGlynn
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posted 03-25-2006 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see that the Mercury Head dime did not sell.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-09-2006 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Mercury 4 flown dime has been relisted with a lower opening bid and reserve.

capoetc
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posted 05-10-2006 01:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's an interesting story (to me, anyway), that has nothing to do with space artifacts but might illustrate how some museums manage their collections:

My wife and I went to a bed and breakfast for one of their "set dinners" ... we had to make reservations, but we had heard great things about the food at this place. The owners were antique collectors, and before the meal they took all of us on a tour of their place where we saw many American colonial-era pieces.

After dinner, the owner announced that he would like to share a piece of history he and his wife had obtained recently -- he told the story of a letter written by a secretary who had been with his boss for 16 years at the time of the writing. The secretary was very loyal, and he was at the bedside of his boss on the day he died in December 1799. The letter he wrote was to the President, John Adams, announcing the death of George Washington -- the letter writer was Tobias Lear.

I asked afterward how he had obtained the letter, and he told me that he had won it at an auction. He was a telephone bidder, and he had an agent at the auction house who he was on the phone with during the live bidding. As the auction went up in price, he and one other bidder were the only ones still bidding, and he finally placed the highest bid.

About a year after obtaining the letter, he and his wife were at Mount Vernon visiting, and he asked to see the curator, saying that he was the owner of the Tobias Lear letter announcing Washington's death. The curator came out of his office immediately.

As it turned out, Mount Vernon had originally held the letter in its own collection for many years, but decided decades ago to sell the letter in order to obtain other pieces for the collection -- and they had lost track of where the letter was. On the day of the auction, Mount Vernon was the other bidder who was beaten out (although that was not known at the time).

The curator said that, if he ever wanted to sell the document, Mount Vernon would like the opportunity to buy it back.

So, in this case, the museum made a decision to sell the letter in order to improve its collection in other ways -- so why should we prevent museums from making decisions such as these?

A good lesson learned is: If you are the owner of a valuable piece of memorabilia, and you want to ensure it never enters private hands, you should form an estate and lend the item to your museum of choice with the agreement that they keep it on display and return it if they choose to no longer display it.

Otherwise, museums can sell items from its collection if it chooses to do so, and collectors help meet the museum's goals by purchasing those items for cash. Hopefully, the new owners will protect these historical items carefully...

mjanovec
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posted 05-10-2006 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John - Interesting story! Thanks for taking the time to share it.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 05-14-2006 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John, that is an excellent example of how museums and collectors do work together.

As stated in an earlier post on this thread, museums place in their donation contracts the right to sell a donated artifact. The term is called deacquistion. Most museums will sell a piece to raise money for an artifact that the museum curator feels will enhance the museum's collection. Most curators tend to look at extras or duplicate artifacts as potential sale or trade material. The Grissom dime that started this post is a perfect example. There are 52 Mercury dimes (dated in various years including 1942). Ten dimes were given to expedition members and two dimes were given to the Grissom Memorial (one for display and one for fundraising purposes). That leaves 40 dimes left in the Kansas Cosmosphere's collection. A collector can obtain this dime and either keep it in his or her collection or loan it to a museum.

I also agree with your assessment that the collector should loan any material to a museum that he or she does not want sold in the future. Remember curators change and what was one curator's treasure might be another curator's trash. While I find it hard to understand why a curator at Mount Vernon would sell such a one of a kind letter, at least the museum now knows where the piece is and has the chance to reacquire it in the future. The bed and breakfast owner can loan that piece if he wishes, but it looks to me as if he enjoys showing it to his many guests.

So museums and collectors can and do work together help perserve history and your's was an excellent example of how this works.

zee_aladdin
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posted 05-16-2006 01:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for zee_aladdin   Click Here to Email zee_aladdin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The dime sold for $3549.

spacecowboy
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posted 05-16-2006 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecowboy   Click Here to Email spacecowboy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah, and I was the underbidder.

Dwight
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posted 05-17-2006 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwight   Click Here to Email Dwight     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's my story as well, which is similar in principle. As a child my father was an avid space buff following all the Apollo missions religiously.

When Apollo 11 landed on the moon, he had his reel to reel recorder running to document the events as they were playing out on the radio and TV.

I was aware the recordings existed, and so I decided to transfer them over to a digital format. In the process of doing so I realised that the recordings contained information that had been forgotten or neglected over the years. I called up Colin Mackellar and told him what I was listening to. I sent him a copy which lead to the following developments and preservation of history:

The ABC (the national broadcaster in Australia) had wiped its original TX tapes, maintaining only concise sections of the telecast in its archives. My father's recordings are now the most complete archival copy they have. The late Bob Leslie who was a co-announcer on the TX did not have a copy. His widow is now in possion of the only known record of his discussions during the Apollo 11 EVA.The HSK website's historical accuracy was further enhanced by the tapes, including confirmation that a QANTAS pilot was the first to see the CM re-enter, rather than NASA ARIA planes.

In all, the official sources had lost their archives, and it was the efforts of a private collector/enthusiast who restored the integrity of the original telecast.

I am all for private collections. If I paid a lot of money for an artifact, I'll make darn sure I take care of it. Of course being the losing bidder sometimes is a hard pill to swallow!

poofacio
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posted 03-22-2009 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for poofacio   Click Here to Email poofacio     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have acquired the much discussed Dime. It is displayed on my website. Also, anyone is always welcome to visit my home (several have) and view and enjoy anything I have. I hate to upset anyone, but it will wind up in a museum over my dead body, and if I can possibly help it not even then.

To date, NASA lost it in the ocean, a private guy recovered it, gave it to a museum who sold it. Entrust anything to a museum or the state?

mjanovec
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posted 03-23-2009 02:06 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:
I have acquired the much discussed Dime. It is displayed on my website.

You might want to correct the entry for the Roosevelt dime you have displayed on your website next to the Mercury dime. It's doubtful that the Roosevelt dime flew on the Liberty Bell 7 mission, because it's a 1964 dime and was minted a few years too late to make it onto the 1961 flight of MR-4.

Also, since "GT-3" stands for Gemini Titan 3, I'm guessing it flew on that mission (which took place in 1965, the year after the dime was minted). Still a nice item...just not a flown Liberty Bell 7 dime.


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