7 Cold War collectibles



2015-06-26 13:58:49

25 years after the Cold War ended, collectibles are still hot

Emerging out of the second world war, the cold war was a time of tension, unease and distrust.

The powers in the Western and Eastern Blocs had major political and economic differences, and neither were prepared to back down.

Until 1989's Malta Summit that is…

25 years ago, on December 2-3, President George H W Bush and USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev declared an official end to the Cold War, though whether it truly ended there remains contentious.

Despite a quarter of a century passing since the end of the Cold War, collectibles from the era are still hot property. Take a look at some of the best to have sold at auction…

Dwight Eisenhower's drafts of the Chance for Peace address

Image: Christie's

In the wake of the death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, US President Dwight Eisenhower gave his most poignant speech. With a power vacuum left by Uncle Joe's death, the president was keen to decrease military spending and make amends with the Soviet state.

Known as the Chance for Peace speech, you might expect the former military men to have been hawkish in the situation, but he likened arms spending to stealing from the people, and saw. "humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

The drafts of his famous speech, heavily annotated and running to several thousand words, made $13,200 at Christie's in 2008.

KGB rollover camera

Image: Westlicht Photographic Auction

The Cold War was famed for its espionage, with the US and USSR keen to steal each other's secrets.

This camera is a great piece of spy kit. The mechanism rolls over a page, allowing the camera to capture content, allowing vital documents to be copied.

It sold for $43,980 at Westlich Photographic Auction in 2012.  

**Cuban missile crisis paperweight

Image: Sotheby's

The Cuban missile crisis is about as close to a third world war that we have come so far…

Seeing a stand-off between the Soviet Union and the US, with Soviet missiles deployed in Cuba, President John F Kennedy and his Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara sat uneasily waiting for news of what might happen next.

Thankfully, the crisis was averted. Kennedy, in thanks for his help and guidance, gifted Robert McNamara this hugely significant paperweight to commemorate the tense 13 days.

It made $95,500 at Sotheby's in 2012, soaring far past its $25,000 high estimate.

**Space Magna Carta
$100,000 **

Image: Bonhams

When Sputnik 1 launched back in 1957, it kicked of the famous Space Race, with the Soviet Union and US keen to demonstrate their prowess beyond the Earth's atmosphere.

The race effectively ended when the USA put a man on the Moon back in 1969, but it wasn't until the Apollo-Soyuz project in 1975 that the two finally kissed and made up.

The project saw an Apollo aircraft docking with a Soyuz ship, with both countries' astronauts meeting in a historic moment.

One of their first tasks was to sign this certificate, which reads "the flight crews ... share the hope that this first International Manned Space Flight will stand in the light of history as a significant advance in the ability of their nations to work together in ways that advance the interests of people everywhere."

The incredible document, one of four copies ever made, was offered at Bonhams in 2013 with an estimate of $60,000-100,000.

Section of the Berlin Wall

Image: Wikipedia

The Berlin Wall famously separated the Eastern Bloc from the Western world in the wake of the second world war.

Built in 1961, it was established under the pretence of protecting its population from fascists, who wished to see the end of the socialist state.

After the wall came crashing down in 1989, sections have remained in Berlin as a reminder of its terrible impact. However, many of the graffiti-covered sections are now being sold off, with one block decorated by Russian artist Erik Bulatov valued at $185,602.

**Miracle on Ice jersey
$657,250 **

Image: Heritage Auctions

In 1980, the USA hockey team faced up against the Soviet Union in that year's Olympic Games.

The USA team, comprised mainly of amateurs, faced a tough battle against the polished machine that was the USSR team. And at the height of Cold War tensions, the pressure was one.

However, the USA amazingly triumphed, with Captain Mike Eruzione leading the team to a narrow victory.

Mike Eruzione's jersey for the fateful game made an impressive $657,250 at Heritage Auctions in 2013.

Vostok capsule

Image: Sotheby's

This Vostok 3KA-2 is the most valuable piece of space memorabilia ever sold at auction.

It's identical to the one that first fired Yuri Gagarin beyond the Earth's atmosphere to become the first man in space. However, the capsule came first, launched a few weeks before Gagarin made the landmark flight.

A colossal piece, it sold for $2.8m at Sotheby's in 2011.

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