Neil Armstrong Apollo 11 Memorabilia: The Top 10 Most Valuable Items

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2015-06-26 10:24:13

The biggest ever auction sales of Neil Armstrong memorabilia from the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon

10) EKG strip from NASA mission control

When Neil Armstrong made his famous ‘small step’ onto the lunar surface, he was being closely monitored by NASA back on Earth. All three crew members were hooked up to heart monitors beneath their space suits, which provided EKG readings throughout the mission. This portion of the EKG read-out was printed during the exact moments Armstrong stepped foot on the Moon, capturing his heart rate as he made history. Formerly owned by NASA employee Paul M. Sturtevant, who worked on both the Gemini and Apollo missions, the print-out sold at Heritage in 2013 for $35,000. (Image: heritage Auctions)

9) Autographed sheet of "First Man on the Moon" Stamps

In January 1970, an associate editor of the Peoria Star Journal contacted Neil Armstrong with a request to sign a sheet of the newly-issued ‘First Man on the Moon’ stamps. The paper ran an article on the stamps, and wanted a signed sheet for the cover. "If you could write at the bottom in the box we have drawn your famed message from the moons we would have an excellent cover (and, I might add, a precious keepsake for me)” wrote Tom Pugh, in his letter to Armstrong. The astronaut duly obliged, and included his famous quote in its intended form: “That’s one small step for a man, & one giant leap for mankind.” Years later the signed sheet came up for auction at Heritage, where it sold for $38,837. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

8) Signed lunar flag photograph

One of the most famous moments of the Apollo 11 mission came as Buzz Aldrin planted a United States flag, captured on camera by Armstrong. President Nixon later stated it was “a symbolic gesture of national pride in achievement”, and not a “claim of sovereignty” – a statement backed up by the Outer Space Treaty which declares no nation can claim another planet as their own. A copy of the famous photograph was later signed by both astronauts, and presented by Armstrong to the Head of the Soviet Space Program Colonel General Nicolai Kamanin – an ironic gesture to remind the USSR which country was ahead in the space race. The inscribed photograph later sold at Christie’s in May 2001 for $49,350. (Image: Christie's)

7) Space-Flown first day cover

The crew of Apollo 11 took 214 autographed first-day postal covers with them on their mission, and returned them to earth as valuable space-flown memorabilia. They had also left around 1,000 signed covers behind as ‘insurance’, to be sold to support their families in case the mission went tragically wrong. These flown covers are now highly prized by collectors, and can sell for five-figure sums at auction. In recent years several have sold at Heritage Auctions for prices between $40,000 and $50,000 – the most expensive being the cover sold in April 2013 for $50,787. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

6) Signed NASA flight plan book

During the Apollo 11 mission, flight plans were issued to various television, radio and print media agencies as a source of reference. The plans included a detailed timeline of what the astronauts would be doing from one moment to the next, including their preperations for stepping onto the lunar surface: "Prep for cabin depress ... Don gloves ... Depress cabin ... Initial EVA. Egress to platform ... Descend ladder. Rest/check EMU [the spacesuit and backpack combination.] Environmental familiarization ..." Following their return to Earth, the three astronauts gave a news conference attended by the world’s media. NBC News correspondent Dean Mell managed to get his own copy, complete with his annotations, signed by Armstrong following the conference. It was sold at auction by PBA Galleries in March 2011, for $51,000. (Image: PBA Galleries)

5) Lunar Module Flown Activation Checklist pages

These two pages, printed on punch cards, were part of the official Apollo 11 LM Activation Checklist taken to the Moon aboard the Eagle lunar module. The checklist provided vital instructions for every step of the mission, including these on pages 62 and 62 concerning undocking with the command module Columbia and mounting a 16mm motion picture camera in the lunar module window. Bearing annotations by Neil Armstrong, written during the descent to the lunar surface, these two space-flown pages were part of the personal collection of Buzz Aldrin. They were sold at Heritage Auctions in April 2013 for $55,268. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

4) Space flown and signed U.S. flag

This small United States flag was amongst many taken aboard the Apollo 11 Eagle lunar landing module, and returned to Earth as space-flown mementos. Many were given to members of the NASA Mission Control crew, or others associated with the mission. This example, framed for presentation, also bears the signatures of Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins above Armstrong’s famous quote. Also originating from the personal collection of former NASA employee Paul M. Sturtevant, the flag sold at Heritage Auctions in November 2013 for $71,875. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

3) Inscribed Apollo 11 flight plan

Following their historic mission, the crew of Apollo 11 splashed back down into the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969. They were immediately transferred to a mobile quarantine facility on the USS Hornet, where they spent three weeks being tested for possible unknown pathogens. During this time they were joined in quarantine by two doctors, a handful of technicians and John McLeaish, Chief of NASA's Public Information Office. Armstrong presented McLeaish with a copy of the mission’s flight plan, autographed and inscribed with his famous ‘one small step’ speech, and more than 40 years later the plan sold at Bonhams in April 2010 for $152,000. (Image: Bonhams)

2) Neil Armstrong’s A5L Apollo training suit

Following Armstrong’s first trip to space as part of the Gemini 8 mission, he was selected as the back-up commander for the Apollo 8 mission. Regular NASA rotation meant that he would then serves as Commander on the Apollo 11 mission, which would see him set foot on the Moon. During his Apollo training, Armstrong was fitted for an A5L space suit – one of just 14 training suits made by the International Latex Corporation (ILC) which had won the contract to produce them. These were used to test suit mobility, before the final flight-worn suits (designated A7L) were produced. In 1999, Armstrong’s A5L suit was offered for auction at Christie’s. As probably the only Armstrong-worn space suit ever likely to be offered for sale, it was snapped up for a record price of $178,500. (Image: Christie's)

1) Lunar surface chart

Moments after the crew of Apollo 11 had reached the lunar surface, they were faced with the task of finding their way around having landed some distance from their intended target. In an age before GPS, the Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin used a chart printed onto two rotating plastic discs to calculate where they were in relation to the sun, stars and planets above them. Once the measurements were made, Armstrong was able to open the hatch and step into the history books. The actual star chart as used on the mission, complete with grey lunar dust stuck to the back, sold at Bonhams in New York in July 2009 for $218,000 – setting a record for space memorabilia relating to the Apollo 11 mission. (Image: Bonhams)

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