Almost 50 years ago, NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong made history by becoming the first man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.
But the astronaut didn’t make the journey to the moon alone. When the Eagle lunar module landed on the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969, with Armstrong and mission pilot Buzz Aldrin on board, some precious keepsakes from home that the astronaut brought along for the ride also made it to the Sea of Tranquility on the lunar east side.
Those cherished mementos are now part of Armstrong’s private collection of space memorabilia, which will be going up for auction in the fall, the Associated Press reported yesterday.
“The collection includes a variety of artifacts from Armstrong’s 1969 lunar landing and private mementos that include pieces of a wing and propeller from the 1903 Wright Brothers Flyer that the astronaut took with him to the moon,” noted the media outlet.
All these coveted items will soon be up for sale in a series of auctions that starts this November and will carry on next year as well when the sales are scheduled for May and November.
The auctions are being handled by Heritage Auctions, an auction house based in Dallas, which is confident the event will get an amazing turnout.
An out-of-this-world auction: Neil Armstrong's private collection is going up for sale, including flags he took to the moon. https://t.co/n0cTQ9IZdC
— AP Eastern US (@APEastRegion) July 20, 2018
According to Heritage Auctions president Greg Rohan, the public always finds any objects related to the space program completely fascinating.
“Space is one of the very, very few categories that every single person seems to be interested in,” Rohan said in a statement.
Armstrong’s private collection of artifacts and memorabilia came to be set up for auction after the items were taken over by the astronaut’s sons, Mark and Rick, upon their father’s passing in 2012.
The two brothers set out to preserve these irreplaceable items and started researching each object in order to identify, restore, and record its history.
“We felt like the number of people that could help us identify them and give us the historical context was diminishing and that the problem of understanding that context would only get worse over time,” said Mark Armstrong, who noted that his father never gave them any indication on what he wanted to be done with the large number of collectibles in his possession.
“He did save all the items, so he obviously felt they were worth saving,” he pointed out.
The brothers eventually turned to Collectibles Authentication Guaranty (CAG), a Florida-based company of the Certified Collectibles Group, which authenticated the artifacts.
According to the Business Insider, the Armstrong Family Collection was the first one to be certified by CAG, recently opened in Sarasota.
Among the collection’s most remarkable items are some sterling silver Robbins Medallions from the Apollo 11, including a rare gold one. These medals were commissioned by the Apollo crew themselves and were flown to space during all the Apollo missions, including Apollo 11.
A U.S. flag, the largest size to make the space trip on the Apollo, is also on the auction list, together with a United Nations flag and various state flags.
Armstrong’s collection also boasts a gold and diamond pin that the astronaut gifted his wife after he flew it on Gemini VIII — his first-ever spaceflight — and a Purdue University centennial flag (Armstrong’s alma mater) that traveled on Apollo 11.