Now that the Bonhams' controversial space memorabilia auction finished a few days ago, we can focus on the next big gig: the 2013 April 18 Space Exploration Signature Auction by Heritage Auctions. This is an amazingly huge pile of 549 lots, full of highly desirable must-have items for the space enthusiast.
Following are our 13 favourite up-for-grabs artifacts, including Buzz Aldrin's Moon toothbrush and Neil Armstrong's very first image of the planet Earth.
Shenzhou 5 Flown Cover Signed by Yang Liwei. This flight, October 15, 2003, was the first manned space mission from any country other than the United States or Russia (Soviet Union). Only approximately 100 of these philatelic covers were flown and signed by the mission commander, China's first astronaut (taikonaut) Yang Liwei. Very few have made it into the US market.
Neil Armstrong Early Orange Flight Suit. A pair of flight coveralls tagged on the front "ARMSTRONG" and "VA-145" (a Naval attack squadron) from his days as a test pilot and Experimental Aircraft enthusiast. In the early 1960s, these were given by Armstrong to his close friend John Dyke, the developer of the famous Dyke Delta utility aircraft.
Gemini 12 Flown EVA-Used Flashlight Originally from the Personal Collection of Mission Pilot Buzz Aldrin. A 165cm long brass torch wrapped mostly in Velcro with a distorted lens, quite different than the ones used later on the Apollo missions. Aldrin attributes the distortion of the lens to the vacuum of space.
Apollo 11 Lunar Module Flown Toothbrush and Sleeve Originally from the Personal Collection of Mission Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin. A light blue Lactona S-19 model "Tooth Tip" toothbrush, 196cm long. Included also is the original 20cm x 4cm plastic pouch in which it flew, with a piece of Velcro on the back for ease of storage. Used throughout the mission, including in the Lunar Module Eagle while on the moon. Signs of use, otherwise very fine condition.
Apollo 12 Flown aluminium Hair Comb Originally from the Personal Collection of Mission Command Module Pilot Richard Gordon. A 13cm x 2.5cm comb manufactured by Goody USA that flew to the moon on the second lunar landing mission with crewmembers Pete Conrad, Alan Bean and Richard Gordon. This is only one of three Apollo-flown combs in private hands, and one of only two that made it to the moon.
Apollo 17 Flown "Peaches" Space Food Originally from the Personal Collection of Mission Commander Gene Cernan. A sealed flexible pouch, 17cm x 17cm x 2cm overall, with a label on one side: "PEACHES/ 3 oz. cold water/ 15-20 minutes/ 1341" as well as a piece of Velcro for attachment to the spacecraft. First used on Apollo 10, the spoon bowl allowed water to be introduced through a valve, hydrating the enclosed food. These are quite rare, as most are held in institutions or private collections.
Apollo 17 Flown "Brownies" Space Food Originally from the Personal Collection of Mission Commander Gene Cernan. A sealed flexible pouch, 13cm x 8cm x 2cm overall, with a label on one side: "BROWNIES/ 333" and a "Serial No. FAY967" sticker on the other as well as two pieces of blue (Ron Evans) Velcro for attachment to the spacecraft. These were made to be eaten as is.
Wally Schirra Signed Large colour Sigma 7 Control Panel Photo. A detailed photo of the control panel in the Mercury space capsule. Schirra has boldly signed: "Wally Schirra Σ7".
Gemini 4 Training-Used GT-4 Mission Rules Revision 2 Manual signed by Mission Command Pilot Jim McDivitt. Gemini 4 was the second American two-man mission during which Ed White II performed a landmark EVA. This five-hole-punched soft cover book, dated May 18, 1965, contains 100+ pages (printed one side only) and is bound with a single staple. It was used by McDivitt in preparation for the flight and contains his handwritten notes.
Apollo Command Module Reaction Control System Rocketdyne SE-8 Rocket Engine. SE-8s were integrated on the CM in two systems of six engines and provided it with rotation control, rate damping, and attitude control after its separation from the Service Module and during reentry. Appears to have been test fired but is not flown.
Soyuz 4 & 5 Original Space-Transmitted Docking Photos Signed by Soviet Officials. These photos show a "time-lapse" view of the docking of the two spacecraft on January 15, 1969. This was not only the first docking of two manned spacecraft but also the first transfer of crewmembers from one to the other. Soyuz 4 launched with one occupant, Soyuz 5 with three. Two of the Soyuz 5 cosmonauts transferred to Soyuz 4 for return to earth while the Soyuz 5 commander landed alone.
Neil Armstrong's Childhood Toy Airplane and Signed Photo of his Family Home at 601 W. Benton Street in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Neil Armstrong's family moved to a house at the above address in 1944 and stayed there until 1964 when they sold the home to the Miller family. This family found some interesting items in the attic that the Armstrongs had left behind including this very cool red metal toy aeroplane. By testimony of Neil's mother Viola (see letter text below), it was one that Neil and his little brother Dean played with as a child.
Neil Armstrong's Childhood Homework. A hand-colored map of the earth showing the temperature zones, with handwritten captions -- one of the earliest pieces of written and drawn material from the first man to walk on the moon. (On the right: an iconic Earthrise sequence from the Apollo 11 photographic archives.)
Any favourites we missed? Crawl through the auction catalog and post them below!