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  Sotheby's April 2011 Vostok 3KA-2 auction

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Author Topic:   Sotheby's April 2011 Vostok 3KA-2 auction
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
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posted 03-05-2011 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sotheby's New York release
Sotheby's to Offer Iconic Piece of Space History That Paved the Way for Yuri Gagarin's Historic Flight into Space

The Vostok 3KA-2 Space Capsule will be Auctioned on 12 April 2011, the 50th Anniversary of the First Manned Space Flight

Nearly 50 years ago, on 12 April 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin rocketed out of the Earth's atmosphere aboard the small, spherical Vostok 3KA-3 Space Capsule, becoming the first man to travel into outer space. Three weeks prior, the Soviet space program launched the final test flight of the Vostok spacecraft in preparation for this momentous event. The Vostok 3KA-2 carried a life-size cosmonaut mannequin, Ivan Ivanovich, and a dog, Zvezdochka, into low Earth orbit, and reentered on its first pass over the Russia 115 minutes later.


Vostok 3KA-2 Credit: Sotheby's

Sotheby's will offer the Vostok 3KA-2 Space Capsule, which paved the way for Gagarin's historic mission, in a dedicated auction in New York on 12 April 2011, the 50th anniversary of man's first flight into outer space (est. $2/10 million*). The space capsule will be on public exhibition in Sotheby's York Avenue galleries beginning 24 February.

"Not only are there no other examples outside of Russia of the world's first spacecraft, this capsule was pivotal in space history as providing the green light for Gagarin's spectacular achievement" commented David Redden, Vice Chairman and Head of Sotheby's Special Projects department. "To celebrate the 50th anniversary of that thrilling moment-man's first flight into space-with the sale of this capsule is a great privilege for Sotheby's."

Vostok was the Soviet Union's first program to put a man in space, and was conceived and overseen by the architect of the Soviet Space Program, Sergei Pavlovich Korolev. Five Vostok-type capsules were launched in 1960-61. While two were destroyed, the spacecraft that launched on 19 August, carrying the dogs Belka and Strelka, demonstrated that living creatures could be returned safely to earth from orbit.

In 1961, Korolev focused his attention on adapting the Vostok model to carry a human passenger. Even after a successful test of the new design on 9 March 1961, Korolev insisted on a final "dress rehearsal" before putting a cosmonaut's life in jeopardy. Vostok 3KA-2 blasted into space on 25 March, carrying a life-size cosmonaut mannequin, nicknamed Ivan Ivanovich, and the dog Zvezdochka (Russian for "Little Star"). After completing one orbit, the capsule safely reentered the earth's atmosphere and landed near the city of Izhevsk, with the mannequin ejecting prior to landing as planned and the dog returning safely. Notably, the Ivanovich mannequin has been on exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum since 1997. With Korolev's reservations now assuaged, twenty days later Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth in an exact twin of this capsule, the Vostok 3KA-3, later renamed Vostok 1.

In describing the landing of Vostok 3KA-2, V.P. Efimoz of the spacesuit manufacturer Zvezda noted "...by sleigh, the rescue team reached the landing place of the descent capsule. Half scorched, slightly bent over the ground, it seemed an enormous animal driven too hard, lying in a narrow snow-covered gully, the snow melting around the charred and still hot body of the unit. Attached to it by slings, lay sprawling the voluminous canopy of the parachute."

Sotheby's has a notable history with Russian space memorabilia, having held the first auctions dedicated to Russian Space History in 1993 and 1996 and in the process defining a new market. Sotheby's history in Russia stretches further back to 1988, when the company held an auction of Russian avant-garde and Soviet contemporary art in Moscow. In 2007, Sotheby's became the first international auction house to open an office in Moscow.

*Estimate does not include buyer's premium

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

posted 03-05-2011 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
About this Vostok 3KA-2 spacecraft's more recent history...

Owned by Kaller Historical Documents/Kaller's America Gallery, the spacecraft has been publicly displayed at the:

  • International Space Symposium in Washington, DC in 2000
  • International Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo. in 2001
  • Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly the Omniplex) in 2004
  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida in 2007
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, Texas in 2009
It was previously offered as Lot 25 in Sotheby's March 1996 Russian Space History auction held in New York. Estimated to sell for between $800,000 and $1,000,000, it did not meet its reserve and went unsold.

In 2000, the capsule was trucked into New York's Times Square and lifted by crane into the lobby of Space.com's office building.


Credit: collectSPACE

It was displayed there ahead of being put up again for auction, this time on a reality TV show that aired on Dec. 7, 2000. FOX's "Ultimate Auction" expected the spacecraft to sell for between $5 million and $7.5 million, but the bidding fell short of its reserve.

Dirk
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Posts: 575
From: Belgium
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 03-05-2011 04:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dirk   Click Here to Email Dirk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just wondering:
Even after a successful test of the new design on 9 March 1961, Korolev insisted on a final "dress rehearsal" before putting a cosmonaut's life in jeopardy.
Why continuing this test on March 25, when on March 23 Valentin Bondarenko lost his live after a 15-day endurance experiment in a pressure chamber? Gagarin spent several hours as "deathwatch officer" at the hospital.

Manned orbital flight program director Nikolai Kamanin blamed Bondarenko's death on the institute's poor organisation and control of the experiment.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-05-2011 04:48 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 Dirk:
Why continuing this test on March 25, when on March 23 Valentin Bondarenko lost his live after a 15-day endurance experiment in a pressure chamber?
Given that Bondarenko's tragic death — indeed, even his very existence — wasn't reported publicly until 1986, the Vostok 3KA-2 (Korabl-Sputnik 5) launch may have gone forward, at least in part, to keep up appearances. Asif Siddiqi, in his book "Challenge to Apollo," writes:
News of the accident was completely suppressed in the interest of morale, especially considering that the first piloted Vostok mission was then scheduled in less than three weeks. It is not clear whether any of the other cosmonaut-trainees were told about the tragedy at the time, or several weeks later.

benguttery
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From: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 03-05-2011 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for benguttery   Click Here to Email benguttery     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This appears to be a single-object auction with just the capsule being offered.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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

posted 03-05-2011 04:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed it is; Sotheby's is holding a dedicated auction for the spacecraft alone.

Rocket Chris
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posted 03-06-2011 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rocket Chris   Click Here to Email Rocket Chris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
...just the capsule without any instrumentation inside? For $2-10 million?!?!

Okay maybe seen from history status it might be a nice object. But you get a brand new Soyuz with personal engraved name for 10 million grands! Okay... officially I'm not in in the auction anymore.

gliderpilotuk
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From: London, UK
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posted 03-06-2011 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Indeed it is; Sotheby's is holding a dedicated auction for the spacecraft alone.

Presumably hoping that somehow the 50th anniversary will pump up this shell of a capsule to its sky-high reserve. Guess they've done some pre-marketing to prevent the embarassment of a second missed-reserve auction.

Lou Chinal
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From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 03-19-2011 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Today I went to Sotheby's auction house on York Ave. in NYC to see Vostok 3KA-2.

There was the flown prototype for Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 was on display.

Much to my surprise there it was sitting prominently on the left side of the lobby. The display was good but there was no lighting inside the sphere itself.

In the Sotheby's catolog it stated that in 1967 "all instrumentation and equipment were dismantled and destroyed".

The one thing that I learned was that the hatch was bolted on with 30 bolts. Each bolt hole had a number next to it, they were all out of order. Apparently the bolts were cross tightened, like the lug nuts of a car wheel.

Whoever gets it is going to end up with a gray empty shell.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

music_space
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Posts: 1050
From: Canada
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posted 04-11-2011 06:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
LAST CHANCE to bid on the Ivan Ivanovitch's Vostok 3KA-2 spacecraft!

Sotheby's catalog for this one-item auction is PDFed here.

SRB
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posted 04-12-2011 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, it did pretty well selling for $2,882,500 including the buyer's premium. Has any other space item ever sold for more?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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

posted 04-13-2011 07:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sotheby's New York release (April 12, 2011)
Vostok 3KA-2 Space Capsule To Return To Russia

Icon of Space History That Paved the Way for Yuri Gagarin's Historic Flight into Space Sells for $2.9 Million to Russian Businessman Evgeny Yurchenko

Today at Sotheby's, 50 years after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into outer space, the Vostok 3KA-2 Space Capsule that paved the way for his historic mission sold for $2,882,500 to Evgeny Yurchenko, chairman of the investment fund AS Popov. Mr. Yurchenko purchased the icon of space history with the intention of returning it to his homeland, Russia.

"The Vostok 3KA-2 space capsule is a historic artifact of the Soviet space program," said Mr. Yurchenko in a statement. "Its successful return to Earth from space gave the green light for Gagarin's spectacular achievement. Until now, the Vostok 3KA-2 space capsule was the only one of its kind outside of Russia, and with the support and participation of Sotheby's I will be able to bring it home. It was especially meaningful to do so on April 12, 2011, the 50th anniversary of the first manned flight into space. I hope that Vostok will take its rightful place in one of the national museums devoted to the history of the formation of the Russian space program."

Three weeks prior to Gagarin's historic flight, the Soviet space program launched the final test flight of the Vostok spacecraft in preparation for this momentous event. The Vostok 3KA-2 carried a life-size cosmonaut mannequin, Ivan Ivanovich, and a dog, Zvezdochka, into low Earth orbit, and reentered on its first pass over Russia 115 minutes later.

Vostok was the Soviet Union's first program to put a man in space, and was conceived and overseen by the architect of the Soviet Space Program, Sergei Pavlovich Korolev. Five Vostok-type capsules were launched in 1960-61. While two were destroyed, the spacecraft that launched on 19 August, carrying the dogs Belka and Strelka, demonstrated that living creatures could be returned safely to earth from orbit.

In 1961, Korolev focused his attention on adapting the Vostok model to carry a human passenger. Even after a successful test of the new design on 9 March 1961, Korolev insisted on a final "dress rehearsal" before putting a cosmonaut's life in jeopardy. Vostok 3KA-2 blasted into space on 25 March, carrying the mannequin Ivan Ivanovich and the dog Zvezdochka (Russian for "Little Star"). After completing one orbit, the capsule safely reentered the earth's atmosphere and landed near the city of Izhevsk, with the mannequin ejecting prior to landing as planned and the dog returning safely. With Korolev's reservations now assuaged, twenty days later Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth in an exact twin of this capsule, the Vostok 3KA-3, later renamed Vostok 1. Notably, the Ivanovich mannequin has been on exhibition at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum since 1997, after being purchased at Sotheby's New York in the 1993 auction of Russian Space History.

garymilgrom
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From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 04-13-2011 08:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like the idea of returning this artifact to its homeland. I hope it goes into a museum where many people can see it. There's a pleasing symmetry to the entire sale - date, return to origin etc. Kudos to Mr. Yurchenko!

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