The Story of… How Neil Armstrong became the world's most valuable living signature
The Story of How Neil Armstrong became the world's most valuable living signature
With an average price of $9,600, Neil Armstrong's autograph remains the world's most desirable
Do you own a Neil Armstrong autograph?
If so, you can count yourself extremely fortunate indeed - here's why.
Collectors and the world in general are fascinated by the moon landings, their place in history and especially the first moon mission, Apollo 11, which landed 42 years ago today, on July 20 1969.
Mike McGee, the manager of Sportizus memorabilia specialist's Nottingham branch, explains.
"People have that fascination because space, and especially the moon, is a place so few people will ever get to visit," he told the BBC.
When it comes to most celebrated astronauts, Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, is the clear leader.
Neil Armstrong last provided a signature in 1994
His story intrigues people, partly because he refuses to discuss it - Armstrong is a humble, private individual.
Autographs offer collectors an immediate, and unique, connection with their hero, a connection that Armstrong appears to be uneasy with.
"There is always high demand, and Neil Armstrong remains the holy grail of space autographs," says McGee.
It is the fact that Armstrong stopped signing in the early 1990s that pushes his autograph to the forefront of the rarest living signators.
Armstrong is believed to have taken the decision to stop signing in 1994, after he discovered that his signature was making four figures at auction and on the private markets, and that a variety of forgeries were appearing.
Armstrong's resolve holds strong to this day.
He recently refused to sign an autograph for Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, with a polite "I'm sorry, I don't do that anymore."
Armstrong's stance can be contrasted with that of the second Apollo 11 astronaut down the ladder, Buzz Aldrin.
He remains happy to sign, albeit for a fee of more than $100.
According to the sector's PFC 40 Autograph Index, the value of Armstrong's average signature increased from 550 in 2000 to 5,950 in 2011, a rise of 981.8%.
And since the 40th anniversary of the moon landings in 2009, prices have really begun to escalate.
A personal cheque signed by Neil Armstrong on the day of his lunar mission sold at an internet auction for a record $27,350 in 2009.
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