Memorabilia from history’s tensest moments
Here are 5 pieces of memorabilia from some of the most nail-bitingly tense moments in world history.
5. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand
The assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in the city of Sarajevo, Bosnia in 1914 was extremely bad news.
The gun that fired 'the shot heard around the world' - Image: Wikimedia Commons
It tripped a lethal network of alliances that resulted an unprecedented world war. This was the worst conflict that mankind had ever seen.
It must have been an extraordinarily frightening time as the old nations of Europe geared up for a fight. Amazingly, the actual gun used in the assassination was discovered in a house in Austria in 2004.
It’s now on display at the Museum of Military History in Vienna.
4. The 2010 San Jose mine disaster
The 2010 disaster at the San Jose copper mine in Chile was among the most gripping stories of the decade.
In all 33 miners were trapped inside after a collapse.
The San Jose mine was the focus of world attention for several months in 2010 - Image: eBay
An unprecedented global effort was launched to free the miners, with organisations including NASA offering support.
Finally, 69 days on from the collapse, all 33 of the miners were freed.
This carbide lamp from the San Jose mine is listed on eBay for $49.99.
3. The 1982 World cup semi-final
The penalty shoot-out is an almost universally detested means of determining the winner of a football match.
The 1982 World Cup semifinal must have been extra nervewracking - Image: Kassel
It’s actually a relatively recent introduction to the game, originating in the 1970s.
The first time it was used in the finals of the World Cup tournament was in the 1982 semi-finals between West Germany and France.
2. The Cuban missile crisis
Since the invention of nuclear weapons, the world has come perilously close to annihilation on a few occasions.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was one of these times.
_Just imagine the conversations that took place around these chairs - Image: Sotheby's _
For just over a week in 1962, following a Russian attempt to secretly move nuclear missiles onto Cuba, it looked like nuclear war with America was imminent.
Both sides desperately tried to find a way to deescalate without losing face.
After extremely tough negotiations, both sides backed down – with the Russians taking their missiles out of Cuba and the Americans removing theirs from Turkey and Italy.
These are the very chairs that Kennedy and aide Robert McNamara sat in during those long, tense days. They made $146,500 at Sotheby’s in 2012.
1. Apollo 13
It’s difficult to think of a situation quite as frightening as getting into technical trouble in space.
Lovell's handwriting remains pretty neat, despite his desperate situation - Image: Heritage Auctions
There’s a dizzying range of ways that the situation could result in the death of you and all your crew. That’s what makes the calm and methodical way the astronauts of Apollo 13 approached their problem so deeply impressive.
Faced with a busted oxygen tank, they calculated by hand their position and the amount of fuel needed to return them to earth.
Meanwhile, the world watched with baited breath.
It would be four days before they splashed down safely in the Pacific, to the relief of practically everyone on the planet. The notebook commander James Lovell used to make those calculation sold for $388,375 at Heritage Auctions in 2011.