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  Woody Spring STS-61B flown item sales

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Author Topic:   Woody Spring STS-61B flown item sales
spaced out
Member

Posts: 2597
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 01-20-2010 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's been interesting to see the sales of items from the collection of STS-61B astronaut Woody Spring on eBay. As I understand it Spring is moving and has decided it's time to clear out some old souvenirs from his NASA days, which he's now selling on eBay via a friend.

As this kind of sale is rare and won't be part of any space auction house catalog or archives I thought it might be worth recording the details here for posterity.

Some highlights so far:

Plus un-flown pre-launch checklists from STS-7 ($547), STS-9 ($360), STS-5 ($350)

Further updates:

All this makes me realize that despite the huge number of astronauts that have flown on the Shuttle very few flown items like these have actually appeared on the market. I can think of items from STS-6 sold by Paul Weitz but otherwise really very little.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-20-2010 09:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What I find interesting about these sales is that (a) eBay was chosen as the venue and (b) that the eBay presentation is not what I would associate with a professional dealer. For items of this stature, they are very understated sales.

With regards to past auctions:

  • Bob Overmyer's widow sold many similar items (flown checklists, T-38 suits, patches) from his collection through Superior Galleries.

  • Tom Henricks auctioned a good number of his flown shirts through Superior, as well.

  • More recently, if I recall correctly, payload specialist Rodolfo Neri Vela, who coincidentally also flew with Spring on STS-61B, has offered some flown items (silverware comes to mind) through Regency-Superior.

  • Eileen Collins has donated a few training shirts to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation for their semi-annual auctions.

spaced out
Member

Posts: 2597
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 01-20-2010 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At first it wasn't clear who was selling these items or how they were connected to the astronaut which I think is reflected in the prices realized by the first batch of items to be listed (the first five items in my list). If all that had been clear from the start people would have had more confidence when bidding.

All the items appear to me to be bargains, in particular the flown star chart and the EASE/ACCESS presentation. Personally I'm happy to have won the flown mission patch which was actually worn on Woody's pale blue flight suit at launch and landing. In retrospect I wish I had bid higher on some of the other items but I was wary of geting in too deep with an unknown (to me) seller.

In terms of sales from other Shuttle astronauts the list still seems to me to be surprisingly small.

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1494
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 01-20-2010 06:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One other item of Woody's that didn't make your list: I also won the astronaut wings, which were $355, not $344 as in your list.

I was able to get in touch with Woody regarding the wings. They're a gift for my son, who like Woody is an Army chopper pilot and aspires to work for NASA someday. Woody provided a very nice COA and history of how he developed the design for the wings. I also asked him to sign a COA for the ASTP mat - not to guarantee the signatures, but just to say that it was from his personal collection when he was in the Astronaut Office. He was most gracious.

Greggy_D
Member

Posts: 629
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 01-20-2010 07:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is an amazing piece, ilbasso. A snapshot of a particular time in the Astronaut Office.

I was also fortunate in the early stages of the "Woody Spring via Proxy" Ebay auction.

Picked up this piece:

For a little less than half the price of a John Young autograph via Novaspace, the pic (also from Woody Spring's collection) features the signatures of:

Fred Haise, Gordon Fullerton, Joe Engle, Richard Truly, John Young, Bob Crippen, Deke Slayton, Vance Brand, Hank Hartsfield, Karol Bobko, Fitz Fulton, and Tom McMurtry.

The entire presentation looks like it has never been displayed. There is a sheet of brown packaging paper taped to the back and is draped over the front of the presentation. There is no light fade on the matte whatsoever. The signatures look as if they were signed today. Bright, glossy and black. The actual photo itself does look faded, but I understand that NASA photos from this era tended to do that on their own.

I also won the flight boots and they are an amazing piece of history. Ever price a pair of Dehner Boots? $325. So for an extra $56.99 mine "flew to an altitude of 225 Nautical Miles above the Earth at a speed of 17,500 Miles per hour and completed 109 orbits around the Earth (2,838,972 miles) in slightly less than one week. That is pretty good mileage for a pair of boots." (Quote by Woody Spring)

Ed was kind enough to provide me a couple pics of Woody wearing the boots. First a B/W shot of the 61-B crew during the walkout and secondly, a fabulous color pic of the 61-B crew during the egress. The egress pic just barely shows one heel of one boot (you have to look close...a certain Irishman's derriere was in the way). Thank you again, Ed.

spaced out
Member

Posts: 2597
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 01-21-2010 02:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It might be interesting to speculate how well selling via eBay compares to selling via a specialist auction house.

According to my calculations, taking into account eBay and PayPal fees and comparing against the seller and buyer fees of the major space auction houses the final price paid for an item would need to be about 44% higher for the seller to get the same amount in his pocket.

e.g. the silverware which sold for $1,026 gave the seller a net of around $950 by my calculations (after eBay and PP fees). For the seller to get the same amount net at a big auction house the buyer would need to pay around $1,475 (bidder fee included).

May be a specialist space auction would attract that kind of bidding. Does anyone remember what Neri's silverware fetched at auction?

Mercurypgm
Member

Posts: 212
From: Houston, Tx
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 02-13-2010 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mercurypgm   Click Here to Email Mercurypgm     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The seller of Woody's utencils on eBay offered a second set that somehow Woody ended up with. Those belonged to his crewmate Charlie Walker (yellow color coded). They came with several pictures of Charlie and family. At the price of $711, I am very pleased to be the new owner.

Greggy_D
Member

Posts: 629
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 05-10-2011 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think your utensils may have been used by the PLT, Bryan O'Connor (based on the yellow color code). Charlie's most likely would have been coded purple since he was PS2 on 61B.

Here are the color codes used on shuttle missions:

CDR – Red (A)
PLT – Yellow (B)
MS1 – Blue (C)
MS2 – Green (D)
MS3 – Orange (E)
MS4/PS1 – Brown (F)
MS5/PS2 – Purple (G)
MS6/PS3 – Beige (H)
MS7/PS4 – Black (I)
MS8/PS5 – Light Gray (J)

All times are CT (US)

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