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  [Bonhams] The Space History Sale (April 2014) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   [Bonhams] The Space History Sale (April 2014)
Lou Chinal
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posted 12-04-2013 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bonhams of New York will be having a space auction Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-11-2014 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ArtDaily reports that a BF Goodrich Mercury pressure suit will be included in Bonhams' upcoming auction:
Cassandra Hatton, Bonhams Senior Specialist in Space History, reflected on the suit's appeal: "The Mercury spacesuit epitomizes the earliest days of space exploration, a time when our world was a smaller place. A direct parallel can be drawn to the time when Columbus first set sail in 1492. No one knew if he would ever make it back, and one could only imagine what he would encounter on the voyage. It was a time of fear and wonder, and the Mercury era was exactly the same. Astronauts were regarded as heroes, doing what we all wished we had the courage to do, and risking their lives for the greater good of mankind. This suit is a symbol of that courage, and an important historic relic."

In addition to the iconic project Mercury suit, Bonhams will offer a Russian Strizh spacesuit, designed to protect cosmonauts from ejection at altitudes up to 30 kilometers and speeds up to Mach 3 (est. $15,000-20,000). The rare example is one of only 27 created for test and training purposes between 1981-1991, many of which were damaged or destroyed.

Spacehardware
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From: Bolney, West Sussex, England
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posted 02-13-2014 05:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacehardware   Click Here to Email Spacehardware     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Exciting, but if it's genuine, I think Bonham's has left off a zero or two on the estimate for the Mercury suit.

Dave Owen
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From: Te Awamutu, Waikato, New Zealand
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posted 02-22-2014 07:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Owen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gizmodo is reporting a few more items.

Spacehardware
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From: Bolney, West Sussex, England
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posted 03-07-2014 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacehardware   Click Here to Email Spacehardware     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Catalog(ue) is up on their website. Anyone have any thoughts about the Mercury suit (...including what make of truck ran over it)?

spaced out
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posted 03-07-2014 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting to see one of the one-piece Gemini 9 Crew Souvenir Patches accompanied by a Stafford LOA stating it as flown on the mission - lot 136. That's the first time I've seen one of these identified as flown.

LOR
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From: Jersey City, NJ, USA
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posted 03-08-2014 06:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LOR   Click Here to Email LOR     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lot #47. Official Contractor Spacecraft Model Issued By Grumman.

It is valued at $4,000-$5,000

I do not see anything special about this model, it is not even complete and yet has a large valuation. Does anyone know any reasons for such an estimated price?

I have not been following the market for topping LEM models, but I find Bonham's valuation quite a bit on the expensive side.

Lev M
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posted 03-08-2014 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lev M   Click Here to Email Lev M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
#228 - is not Armstrong on the photo. Misleading.

mjanovec
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posted 03-08-2014 10:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In quickly glancing over the lots, I have serious doubts about Lot 221. While the Collins and Aldrin signatures appear good, I personally believe the Armstrong signature is not authentic.

chet
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posted 03-08-2014 10:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LOR:
I have not been following the market for topping LEM models, but I find Bonham's valuation quite a bit on the expensive side.
Auction house estimates are often meaningless insofar as any correlation to final hammer prices.

chet
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posted 03-08-2014 10:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
I personally believe the Armstrong signature is not authentic.
I'm actually not thrilled with any of the three signatures, but I do agree the Armstrong is the least inspiring of the three.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-04-2014 09:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bonhams Sr. Specialist in Space History Cassandra Hatton discussed their annual space history sale with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock."

(Hatton is in error when asked who minted the Robbins medals; they were not minted by the government as she says, but rather by the Robbins Company, which is where they derive their unofficial name.)

rgarner
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posted 04-04-2014 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rgarner   Click Here to Email rgarner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone else noted that they start their bids at ridiculously high prices? I've never once purchased anything from this auction, and I doubt I ever would.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-04-2014 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're not part of Bonhams' target market. Bonhams, like Christie's and Sotheby's, targets the affluent, luxury market. They aren't aiming for the collector's market.

chet
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From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
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posted 04-04-2014 12:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In Ms. Hatton's (badly cut short) interview, she also mistakenly leaves viewers with the impression it is illegal to own moon fragments or dust — leaving out that that prohibition only applies to dust or fragments returned by the Apollo missions (and only then in instances where the bearer lacks clear title to it).

SpaceAholic
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posted 04-04-2014 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has clear title ever been truly established for private ownership of any Apollo returned lunar dust?

rgarner
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posted 04-04-2014 02:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rgarner   Click Here to Email rgarner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
They aren't aiming for the collector's market.
A very good point, Robert. The amount of money a little bit of research can save you is amazing.

rgarner
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From: Liverpool, United Kingdom
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posted 04-04-2014 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rgarner   Click Here to Email rgarner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chet:
...leaving out that that prohibition only applies to dust or fragments returned by the Apollo missions
I own quite a lot of moon dust/meteorites, and also sell a lot of them. I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to explain to customers that owning moon dust isn't illegal unless it was the moon dust brought back by the Apollo astronauts.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-04-2014 02:52 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 SpaceAholic:
Has clear title ever been truly established for private ownership of any Apollo returned lunar dust?
The astronauts were formally presented with the patches off their spacesuits and in the case of those who walked on the moon, the NASA transfer letter confirmed the presence of moon dust.

4allmankind
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posted 04-04-2014 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In addition to the patches, checklists and other equipment on the flights have been stained with dust too.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-04-2014 03:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, the checklists were stained, but to my knowledge the presence of that moon dust was not formally established (at least not by NASA).

And, as we know, the checklists and other Apollo equipment only became legal (in the eyes of the government) in 2012 as the result of a bill that specifically precludes "lunar rocks and other lunar material."

SpaceAholic
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posted 04-04-2014 05:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They have been stained - but those artifacts were probably never affirmatively validated to host lunar material prior to relinquishment to private custody. While clear title to the artifacts may not be in question, I wonder if the dust has settled on ownership of remnant lunar soil itself.

chet
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posted 04-04-2014 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Because the government, unlike most citizens, has unlimited funds to pursue a case, I'd have to say nothing is ever settled - just ask Ed Mitchell.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-08-2014 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The "Mercury Era Spacesuit" (Lot 56) that Bonhams promoted pre-sale and which was featured in the New York gallery's front window sold for $35,000 ($43,750 with buyer's premium).
Cover layer from a Phase 2 Mercury era space suit, with early model "widow's peak" helmet, gloves, and mock-up boots.

Greggy_D
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posted 04-08-2014 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is a bit lower than what I thought the Mercury suit was going to sell for.

Greggy_D
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From: Michigan
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posted 04-08-2014 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
In quickly glancing over the lots, I have serious doubts about Lot 221. While the Collins and Aldrin signatures appear good, I personally believe the Armstrong signature is not authentic.
Lot 221 sold for $7000 ($8750 with buyer's premium).
quote:
Originally posted by Lev M:
#228 - is not Armstrong on the photo. Misleading.
Lot 228 sold for $6000 ($7500 with buyer's premium).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-08-2014 04:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not surprisingly, the highest prices paid were for Apollo 11 memorabilia:
  • Lot 210: Collins' Flown Crew-Signed Apollo 11 Emblem. A Rare Flown Armstrong-Signed Mission Artifact: Sold for US $62,500 inc. premium

  • Lot 212: Flown Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Checklist Sheet Having One Of The Most Extensive Sets Of Notations Made While On The Moon: Sold for US $68,750 inc. premium

chet
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posted 04-08-2014 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Prices have been pretty robust in nearly all areas, with the usual (often amazing) surprises. Congratulations to all.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-08-2014 06:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to offer some perspective: while Bonhams' Space History Sale was proceeding, another auction was ongoing in Hong Kong, where a 500-year-old Ming Dynasty "chicken cup" sold for a record $36 million.

chet
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posted 04-08-2014 07:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For all I know about Ming dynasty "chicken cups", perhaps someone in Hong Kong got a bargain at $36 mil. But for a not too uncommon Conrad signed photo to bring over $5K... is pretty stunning. As they say, to each his own.

Crsh4Csh
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posted 04-08-2014 09:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Crsh4Csh   Click Here to Email Crsh4Csh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm thrilled that I was able to acquire lot 212, the Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Checklist page.

While I'm still in "sticker shock" at what it cost me, I just keep reminding myself that there are more Picassos in the world than these and I try and imagine what a simple page of Columbus' log would be worth today.

Even if I'm eating TV dinners for a while, I'm sure someday my great, great grandchildren might raise a toast to me.

One Big Monkey
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From: West Yorkshire, UK
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posted 04-08-2014 11:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for One Big Monkey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First time I've ever watched one of these and it was fascinating.

Odd to see so man pieces get passed for not reaching the reserve — is that unusual? Were the seller's hopes unrealistic?

Oh for an unlimited bank balance!

David Carey
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posted 04-08-2014 11:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Crsh4Csh:
I'm thrilled that I was able to acquire lot 212, the Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Checklist page.
Congratulations! Great piece of history.

As to the TV dinner, I'd recommend the Turkey and Dressing.

Liembo
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From: Bothell, WA, USA
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posted 04-09-2014 12:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've sold two largely complete Lion Brothers Apollo patch lots on eBay in the past month and they went for 1/10th the price of lot 184, I might have to borrow their wording for future sets!

The Mercury patches in lot 121 also went for quite a handsome amount as well.

GACspaceguy
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posted 04-09-2014 05:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was cool to me that this auction was the closing segment on the 4/8/14 CBS Evening News. I saw a few things they panned by that we have similar items here at the house.

Jurvetson
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From: Menlo Park, CA, United States
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posted 04-19-2014 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurvetson   Click Here to Email Jurvetson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, they did a lot of TV coverage on the Mercury suit (CBS, Reuters, even the Weather Channel!). So I assumed the price for the featured items might get loopy. But not so much. I picked up the Mercury suit and the 8-ft. tall LM Primary Strut and Secondary Strut, and the flown Soyuz 23 shock absorber (I was a bit surprised when the prior item, an unflown Russian contractor's model went for 15x as much).

As always, I would love any details or ancillary information anyone might have on these items (especially if the seller is willing to contact me). Does anyone know what the institution was (for the listing that said "Provenance: Property of an institution.")?

Here are various screen captures on the press around the Mercury suit (in the comment stream): Flickr and Facebook.

DG27
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posted 05-08-2014 03:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DG27     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations on winning the Mercury suit.

Based on the photos, the suit appears to be a display suit made by the B.F. Goodrich Company. This is evident by the lack of an internal pressure bladder layer, along with the absence of a pressure gauge on the arm and lack of the electrical biomedical monitor connector on the right thigh. Based on the photographs, the pressure gauge and electrical connector were never installed. Goodrich made an (unknown) quantity of display suits during the time they were making the Mercury flight suits.

Amanda Young, former NASM Curator of Spacesuits, in her richly illustrated book “Spacesuits” refers to these suits as Anthropometric suits, meaning they are the shape of a suit but do not have the pressure bladder to function as a pressure suit. I prefer to call these suits as “Goodrich Display Suits” since all suits are anthropometric (ie having the shape of the human body). The exterior of the suits are the same as the flight suits with some exceptions for things like pressure gauges which on some suits are just mockup versions. The great thing about these Goodrich Display Suits are that they use, for the most part, real hardware and the fabric parts are made from the same materials as the flight pressure suits and from the same patterns. So essentially they are made off of the "production" line but were made without the pressure bladders since they were for display use only.

The suit you acquired is the flight configuration (segmented shoulders) with the early style glove attachment method (zippered). This is representative of the configuration Alan Shepard used on his MR3 flight. (Later suits used ball lock glove disconnects). The gloves are of the earlier training configuration as is the helmet (based on the style of pressure valve on the side of the helmet. The helmet is also a “Display” version as it does not have a complete head liner and appears to never have had the internal wiring installed. The #2 written on the inside of the rear of the helmet shell refers to the number of the display suit and not head size. While missing a few parts the helmet is easily restorable to make it complete (visor pivot parts, microphone, as well as replacement of the cracked visor if desired). Other than the previously mentioned lack of pressure gauge and thigh electrical connector, the suit appears to only be missing the neckring latch.

As Mercury suits age, and if not stored properly, the bonded metallic aluminum coating can disintegrate, leaving the brownish plasticized coating on the underlying olive drab base nylon material of the suit. This results in brown areas on the suit, or if the fabric is just heavily worn, the olive drab nylon shows thru the worn off aluminum coating as a dark greenish area. This suit has been sprayed with silver (aluminum) spray paint as evident by the overspray of most of the white webbing and white fabric areas on the suit. This results in the webbing appearing gray. Based on the photos it appears that most of the suit exterior has been painted. The only area that appears to not have been painted is the upper center of the suit adjacent to the NASA vector patch. I have seen several suits in museum storage areas that have had this done to them. Unfortunately it is impossible to remove the overspray from the webbing. Since aluminum paint does not have the same reflective characteristics as metalized aluminum, the fabric will appear as gray, not reflective silver. Fortunately, other than a couple small holes in the rear of the suit, as noted in the auction catalog, the suit fabric is intact and appears to be structurally sound which makes for a good display.

The boots are a slightly different style than the Mercury flight boots, and they appear to be made of a highly reflective foil coated fabric usually seen on the early Goodrich Gemini prototypes. The boots are interesting, but the catalog photos are not clear enough to determine exactly what type the boots are.

I hope this information is of some use to you. A Mercury suit is a great addition to any collection. Congratulations again on your acquisition.

Jurvetson
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From: Menlo Park, CA, United States
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 05-09-2014 08:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurvetson   Click Here to Email Jurvetson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you so much for such a thoughtful reply.

I will keep this with the compendium of information on the artifact. (And this is a fine example of what makes collectSPACE so great. I can't say thank you enough).

gliderpilotuk
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posted 05-29-2014 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone still not got their stuff, like me? It's amazing how you're just a commodity to these big auction houses.

Greggy_D
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From: Michigan
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posted 05-29-2014 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I haven't received my items either (nor a tracking number).


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