Neil Armstrong collectibles
Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 - August 25, 2012) was an American aviator and a former astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, and United States naval aviator. His is best known as the first man to set foot on the Moon. On the collectibles markets, Armstrong is also one of the the world's rarest signatures. His autograph’s average value was calculated to have appreciated by more than 900% in a 10 year period, according to the PFC40 Autograph Index.
Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong was in the United States Navy and participated in the Korean War. After the war, he served as a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) High-Speed Flight Station, now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center.
Armstrong’s first spaceflight was aboard Gemini 8 in 1966, for which he was the command pilot and became one of the first US civilians to fly in space (Joseph Albert Walker became the first US civilian in space aboard X-15 Flight 90 several years earlier).
On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft together with pilot David Scott. Armstrong's second and last spaceflight was as mission commander of the Apollo 11 Moon landing mission on July 20, 1969.
Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2½ hours exploring while Command Module Pilot Michael Collins remained in orbit. Armstrong is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Armstrong became involved in an unusual legal battle with his barber of 20 years, Marx Sizemore, in 2005. After cutting Armstrong's hair, Sizemore sold some of it to a collector for $3,000 without Armstrong's knowledge or permission. Armstrong threatened legal action unless the barber returned the hair or donated the proceeds to a charity of Armstrong's choosing. Sizemore, unable to get the hair back, decided to donate the proceeds to the charity of Armstrong's choice.
An Apollo 11 navigation chart sold for $218,000 at a Bonhams auction at the time of the 40th Anniversary of mankind’s first Moon mission, in July 2009.
Armstrong refused all requests for autographs since 1994 after he found that his signed items were being sold for large amounts of money, with many forgeries in circulation. His signatures were reaching prices of US$1,000 on auction sites like eBay.
According to US newspaper the Boston Globe, a Customs and Border Protection Technician at Logan International Airport attempted to steal Armstrong’s autograph while he was returning from visiting troops overseas. The technician listed the signature with a private auction house. Bids opened at $200 before rising to $1,026 as the signature accrued value.
At an RR Auctions sale in July 2009, Neil Armstrong’s signature on a bank cheque sold for $27,350, over 50 times the original sale estimate.
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