Top 10: Apollo 16 memorabilia
10) Apollo 16 Lunar Module Flown United States Flag
United States flags have traditionally been flown on space missions, and the most valuable are those that accompanied men to the Moon.
This 5.5" x 4" flag was aboard the Orion Lunar Module for the entire mission, and signed by Lunar Module Pilot Charles Duke (from
whose personal collection it came). In March 2008 it was sold at a Heritage auction for $11,950.
9) Apollo 16 Flown Silver Robbins Medallion
Flown medallions are highly sought after by space collectors, and none more so than those from the personal collections of the astronauts involved.
This medallion (number 97 of the 98 flown aboard Apollo 16) features the mission insignia along with the names of the crew, and came from the personal collection of mission Commander John Young. It was sold by Heritage in November 2010 for $19,120.
8) Lunar Module Flown Star Chart and G&N Dictionary Star List
The star chart and dictionary star list used during the Apollo 16 mission allowed Duke and Young to find their way using the heavens for guidance, and was aboard the Orion capsule for the duration of the mission.
Each time the capsule hatch was opened, the cabin was exposed to the lunar surface and the chart is marked with smudges of genuine moon dust. The pair of items were sold by Heritage in October 2009 for $22,705.
7) Apollo 16 Lunar Module Flown Landing Site Map
This B&W printed lunar surface map was one of 24 used during the mission, and is the map that features Apollo 16’s landing spot in the Descartes Highlands region.
Apollo 16 was the first lunar flight to explore the highlands area, and the map spent 72 hours aboard the Orion capsule during the mission. Signed by both Charles Duke and John Young, and from Duke’s personal collection, it sold for $33,460 at a Heritage auction in October 2009.
6) Charles Duke’s needle nose pliers
The pliers were flown to the moon aboard the Orion Lunar Module, and stored aboard the lunar roving vehicle. Duke then transferred them to the Command Module Casper for the return to Earth, and kept them as part of his personal space collection.
In his letter of certification, Duke stated "It is my opinion that the grey smudges on the handles are traces of lunar dust.” A Heritage auction in March 2008 they were sold for $33,460.
5) Apollo 16 Lunar Module Flown Spacecraft Identification Plate Display
Three Lunar Module identification plates were flown on Apollo 16, and once back on Earth they were mounted and presented to the crew members. Each display was accompanied with a plaque which read: "ORION…. A MIGHTY GOOD SPACECRAFT ….A GREAT LUNAR BASE"
The quote is a reference to the comment made by Young as the Orion capsule was jettisoned before the return to Earth. The plaque came from the personal collection of Young himself, and was sold by Heritage in March 2009 for $33,460.
4) Charlie Duke's space-flown wrist mirror and strap
This wrist mirror was worn alongside Duke's watch on the outside of his space suit during the three Apollo 16 moon walks. Originally part of Duke's personal collection, it was later part of the famed Steven R. Belasco Collection before selling at Heritage in April 2013 for $44,812.50
3) Apollo 16 Lunar Module Optical Alignment Sight
The piece of precision equipment was vital in allowing the module to dock with Apollo 16 after its mission to the lunar surface, and at the time was just one of the many cutting edge tools in which the astronauts entrusted their lives.
It was sold in October 2009 at a Heritage auction for an impressive $65,725, and is one of the very few items of lunar module technology to have appeared on the market.
2) Apollo 16 Lunar Surface Excursion Map
The Apollo 16 mission took Young and Duke to unexplored region’s of the lunar surface, and this map was held by Duke as Young drove the rover. It was signed by Duke with the comment "In all probability the dark smudges are lunar dust from direct contact with the surface."
Objects marked with lunar dust are some of the rarest imaginable, and the holy grail for space collectors. Therefore it’s no surprise that this map sold for $94,000 at a Christie’s auction in 2001.
1) Charles Duke’s wrist-mounted checklist
The most valuable Apollo 16 memorabilia item is also one of the simplest: a metal-bound booklet strapped to the wrist of Duke’s space suit.
Its pages include a cartoon of a drooling astronaut in the arms of a buxom nude woman, proclaiming "Happy Birthday Whatever Your Name Is.” It was drawn as a joke by NASA engineers. The booklet sold for a stunning $206,000 in July 2009 making it one of the most expensive pieces of space memorabilia ever sold at auction.
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