One of only 80 Robbins medals that flew to the moon on Apollo 17 (Lot 40201
, estimate: $30,000+) from the collection of mission commander Gene Cernan and an American flag actually flown to the surface of the moon on Apollo 14 (Lot 40149
, estimate: $25,000+), from the collection of mission lunar module pilot Edgar Mitchell, are two of the top offerings in Heritage Auctions' May 12 Space Exploration Event
"These are both very evocative pieces and represent what collectors love most about Space memorabilia," said Michael Riley, Chief Historian and Senior Cataloger at Heritage Auctions. "They've got legendary names, important missions and they not only witnessed those things but actually made it to the moon, or very close. In fact, there are more than 50 lots in this auction that flew to the moon."
An Apollo 14 lunar module flown gold medallion, presented to and from the Collection of Comedian Bill Dana (Lot 51001, estimate: $15,000+) — famously known as Jose Jimenez, "the Chief Astronaut for the United States Interplanetary Expeditionary Force" — is already creating serious buzz within collector circles. The medallion was originally created by and gifted to Dana by Alan Shepard and his fellow astronauts in 1969 as a "10th anniversary" present of his "adoption" as the honorary eighth astronaut.
Gemini 5 Mission Commander Gordon Cooper's worn and flown space suit insignia patch, originally from his personal collection, is expected to bring $15,000+ (Lot 48001). Gemini 5 was the first mission to have an insignia patch, examples of which are highly coveted and rarely come on the market. Also sure to pique the interest of collectors of early Space memorabilia is a large color photo signed by America's first 16 astronauts (Lot 26001, estimate: $10,000+), originally obtained by an early NASA employee, bearing the autographs of not only the original Mercury Seven astronauts, but also the nine members of the second group chosen by NASA. Signatures include those of Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Neil Armstrong, Ed White, Jim Lovell and 10 other space heroes.
One of the most interesting lots in the auction is Russell Colley's original Mercury Spacesuit Display (Lot 50001, estimate: $7,000+), a 37" tall x 12" wide perfect replica of the spacesuit worn by the Mercury astronauts of the period.
"This diminutive suit, worn by a ventriloquist puppet named 'Horace,' is incredibly detailed and was sewn by the same five women who tailored the suits for Alan Shepard, John Glenn, and the rest," said Riley. "It was used by Mercury space suit inventor Russell Colley as a prop as he travelled around the country speaking to school and community groups about the development of the suit for the American space program. It has been wired for sound and video and includes the necessary monitor, wiring, amplifier, etc. needed to allow Horace to interact with interested viewers."
Further highlights include, but are not limited to:
Apollo-Era Movie Prop: A7L-Style Spacesuit Worn by David Janssen in the 1969 Film Marooned. Lot 20001, Estimate: $6,000+.
A large color photo signed on the mat by the Apollo 11 crew and presented to Bill and Eleanor Bergen: Apollo 11 was, of course, man's first landing on the moon. Everyone knows the names of crewmembers Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, but not as many know the name of William B. Bergen, the executive of North American/ Rockwell, most responsible for the Apollo spacecraft during its most critical development phase. Lot 34001, Estimate: $6,000+.
A color photo signed by the crew of the ill-fated Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-107: On Feb. 1, 2003, the world reacted in shock and horror as the Columbia spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the earth's atmosphere at the end of its mission. This official NASA photo is signed by all seven of the brave astronauts who lost their lives that day. Lot 18005, Estimate: $5,000+.