Mitchell lunar surface-worn name tag brings $59,750 to lead $720,000+ Heritage Space Exploration Auction

April 28th, 2010 by

Apollo mission hardware and reference materials continue driving popular Space category, April 21, at Heritage Auction

DALLAS, TX – Edgar Mitchell’s Apollo 14 Lunar Surface worn “Mitchell” spacesuit name tag, originally from Mitchell’s own collection, brought $59,750 to lead Heritage Auctions’ $720,000+ April 21 Space Exploration Auction. All prices include the 19.5% Buyer’s Premium. Overall the auction saw a stunning sell-through rate of more than 97% by value and more than 94% by lot total.

“Mitchell’s name tag is certainly going to be the centerpiece a of a very serious space collection,” said Michael Riley, Chief Cataloger and Senior Historian at Heritage Auctions. “In the realm of space collecting, lunar surface worn material is by far the most coveted; it doesn’t get much closer to mission, or more unique to the astronaut, than this very piece.”

Only 12 men have ever walked on the surface of the moon, and only 12 name tags have been with them. The tags from the suits of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin name tags are on permanent loan to the Smithsonian, and Alan Bean ground his up long ago for use in his paintings. That leaves only nine with the possibility of being made public, though many of those are in institutional hands.

“I wouldn’t count on one of these from another astronaut showing up anytime soon,” said Riley. “These are very coveted by those who own them. This was a great opportunity and a smart collector made good use of it.”

An Apollo 10 flown Earth Landmark Maps & Photos Book, directly from the Personal Collection of Mission Command Module Pilot John Young, was hotly contested in the auction before finishing at $43,319, more than five times its base estimate of $8,000, while an Apollo 11 Grumman Apollo Operations Handbook – Lunar Module LM5 And Subsequent Book in Binder went for $35,850, more than six times its base estimate of $5,000.

Apollo 15 Mission Commander Dave Scott’s Lunar Module Flown Flashlight, directly from his personal collection more than doubled its pre-auction estimate to bring $26,290 and become the most valued of these space flown heavy brass-milled two-cell flashlights to have come to auction, with similar examples from James Lovell, Gene Cernan and John Young bringing $10,157, $8,365 and $5,676, respectively, in prior Heritage Space Exploration auctions.

One of the most stunning and impressive lots in the entire auction came from the Gemini program in the form of 150 Glass Slides from Gemini 4, first generation duplicates from film flown on the mission, directly from the Personal Collection of Mission Pilot Ed White II, which brought double their pre-auction estimate to finish at $21,510.

“These are not only stunning and amazing slides in quality,” said Riley, “but also historic as well. These were some of the very first pictures taken of the earth, by human hands, from outer space. One look and you can see that they’re simply breathtaking.”

Further highlights include, but are certainly not limited to:

Apollo 11 Flown Silver Robbins Medallion Originally from the Personal Collection of Mission CapCom Ron Evans, Serial Number 152: Realized $20,315.

Apollo 10 Flown CSM Systems Data Checklist Directly From the Personal Collection of Mission Command Module Pilot John Young, Signed and Certified: Realized $19,120.

Apollo 16 Flown Silver Robbins Medallion Directly from the Personal Collection of Mission Commander John Young, Serial Number 10: Realized $17,925.

NASA Astronaut Group Two: Large Color Photo on Mat Signed by All, Directly from the Personal Collection of Astronaut Ed White II: Realized $16,730.

Apollo 10 Flown CSM Updates Checklist Directly from the Personal Collection of Mission Command Module Pilot John Young, Signed and Certified: Realized $14,340.

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

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