Michael Collins (1930–)



2015-06-26 11:40:17

Michael Collins (1930)

Michael Collins' original Apollo 11 flight suit - A unique opportunity with impeccable provenance.

This isthe personal NASA flight suit worn by Michael Collins after his recovery from the Apollo 11 mission.

Michael Collins was the American astronaut and Command Lunar Module pilot of the Apollo 11 mission, which took the first men to the moon on July 20, 1969.

The sky blue, heavy-cotton suit wasreleased from Collins's locker when he retired from NASA in 1970.

Michael Collins' flight suit

The suit was obtained by Joe Garino Jr., the NASA physical conditioning supervisor to the Apollo astronauts.

The suit was removed and retained by Garino with the express permission of NASA astronaut L. Gordon Cooper.

Mr Garino has supplied a signed letter of authenticity, with two images of the suit, stating "Blue NASA flight suit worn by Michael Collins after his recovery from the Apollo mission..."

Collins' role in Apollo 11 was to control the main craft, Columbia, while Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon in the Eagle, and hopefully returned to re-join it.

"Keep talking to me, guys," he radioed through as Eagle and Columbia drifted away.

Whilst Armstrong and Aldrin remained on the lunar surface, Mission Control commented that "Not since Adam has any human known such solitude as Mike Collins is experiencing" as Collins orbited around the far side of the moon with only his tape recorder to talk to.

Collins however says he never felt lonely during his 48 minutes of each lunar orbit out of radio contact.

What he was unnerved by, however, was the idea that the Eagle would fail to reconnect with Columbia - all three astronauts thought this was likely.

"My secret terror for the last six months has been leaving them on the Moon and returning to Earth alone; now I am within minutes of finding out the truth of the matter," he wrote during his last solo orbit.

"If they fail to rise from the surface, or crash back into it, I am not going to commit suicide; I am coming home, forthwith, but I will be a marked man for life and I know it."

He had written a list of 18 different scenarios, including ones where the lunar module failed to return.

This list ran to 117 pages.

In the event, the reconnection went fine, and the three returned home to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

They were then put into quarantine, wearing blue flight suits, in case they had picked up anyunknown diseases during their trip.

Collins played a major part throughout the whole Apollo mission, even designingthe Apollo 11 emblem featuring an eagle landing on the moon.

Hearing the idea of an eagle being part of the logo, he liked the idea, and traced one from National Geographic, adding the lunar surface and the earth in the background. The olive branch it carries was added later.

The suit has numerous zipped pockets, snap pockets and Velcro patches (one of which, on the chest, would have originally carried Michael Collins' name tag), as well as the circular blue, white and red embroidered NASA logo patch stitched to the chest.

It also bears the Flite Wear label of the manufacturers Land Mfg. Co. Of Wichita, Kansas who were the official suppliers to NASA.

It's very hard to put a price on such a unique piece of Apollo memorabilia...

So we look to recent auctions for 'comparables'.

During the recent 40th Anniversary celebrationsa set of 'insurance' envelopes signed by Buzz Aldrin sold for $15,860.

A personal cheque signed by Neil Armstrong on the day of his lunar mission sold for a record $27,350. Astonishingly, its minimum bid price was only $500; it fetched 54 times the price.

Even a wrist-mounted checklist used by the Apollo 16 astronauts, featuring cartoons of nude women drawn by the NASA engineers, sold for $206,000.

And an Apollo 11navigation chart used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to map their position on the lunar surface sold for $218,000.

However an Apollo 11 flight suit with provenance of this calibre is the rarest of any souvenir of the Apollo 11 mission.

In our view the only more significant piece of Apollo memorabilia would be a Space Suit used during the actual moonwalks.

There are only two of those and both are in museums with an estimated price tag of $25m each.

Another comparable flight suit is that of Paul Tibbets, the pilotof the Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945.

Tibbets' flight suit sold for $250,000 at auctionon 7 November 2008.

The Michael Collinsflight suit is without doubt one of the most important items associated with the Apollo 11 moon landings.

The most important factor is that its provenance is impeccable as Joe Garino was responsible for the fitness of the Apollo astronauts, and heavily involved in the Apollo 11mission.

This is a unique item and a unique opportunity ahead of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary, when prices are sure to surge again.

Price: 75,000 ($123,750) SOLD. Sorry, this item has already been sold. To be the first to receive news alerts for new stock items please sign up for your free newsletter at the top of the page.


For further information please contact Adrian Roose @ adrianroose@paulfrasercollectibles.comortelephone +44 (0) 117 933 9503

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