Published: July 21, 2016
NEW YORK CITY — The Space History sale at Bonhams New York July 20 made $1,315,063. The sale quickly soared with the first lot, a full-scale lab model of the Sputnik 1 satellite, achieving more than ten times its estimate. After a spate of bidding, it eventually sold for $269,000 to a buyer on the telephone. The Soviet-built Sputnik 1 marked the dawn of the “space race” between Russia and the United States, and this life-size model was one of only four made.
A rare artifact from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, signed by all three astronauts on board — Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins — made double its estimate. Just 3.5 inches in diameter, the Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem sold for $110,000, (estimated $50,000-70,000). It came from the original collection of the Apollo 11 command module pilot, Michael Collins.
An original space suit achieved $62,500, double its estimate. It was made in 1973–79 and worn by Don Pettit, a veteran of three spaceflights, in February 2003 during his dramatic return to earth aboard the Soyuz TMA-1 following the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
Other highlights include an Apollo 11 navigational chart flown to the lunar surface, going over estimate at $40,000
Originally from the personal collection of Buzz Aldrin, the chart maps the first manned lunar descent taken by Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on board the Lunar Module Eagle. It was used minutes before they got the go-ahead from mission control to land on the surface of the moon. It is accompanied by a note from Aldrin himself: “The chart was one of a series taped together which provided a continuous map of our flight path and, like Neil and myself, logged over 22 hours on the lunar surface.”
This navigator was removed from the Soyuz-3 spacecraft by Soviet cosmonaut Georgy T. Beregovoy after his day-long flight in October 1968. Beregovoy intended to dock in space with the orbiting Soyuz-2, but failed after several complications. He was nonetheless awarded the two Orders of Lenin, two Orders of the Red Banner, the 3rd Class Orders of Alexander Nevsky and Bogdan Khmelnitsky, two Orders of the Red Star, two 1st Class Orders of the Patriotic War.
“This was a truly meteoric result for the Space History sale,” said Bonhams’ Director of History of Science and Technology Cassandra Hatton. “The demand for these relics of the space race continues to be really strong. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are still very much household names — evidently, everything they touched turns to gold. The pieces from the Soviet space missions are also steeped with history and drama, so it’s exciting to see the market flourishing across the board.”
For more information, www.bonhams.com.
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