How to find rare Buzz Aldrin collectibles
His memorabilia gets less attention than Neil Armstrong's, but savvy collectors can find some real gems
Legendary Apollo 11 astronaut Dr Buzz Aldrin this week signed autographs for school children while participating in the 10th Science Technology Education Partnership Conference (STEP), promoting education opportunities for future astronauts.
Mr Aldrin's appearance was the latest in what has been a busy year for the second man on the Moon, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of his landmark Apollo 11 mission.
According to reports, Aldrin's increasing public profile (including welcoming Disney's character, Buzz Lightyear, back from space) marks the next phase in his career: as a businessman.
Since walking on the Moon in 1969, Aldrin's has written children's books, collaborated with the rapper Snoop Dogg on a single, founded a rocket design company, Starcraft Boosters Inc, and is currently promoting his new autobiography, Magnificent Desolation.
In contrast to Neil Armstrong's famed reclusivity and reluctance to sign autographs, Aldrin is rarely away from the cameras and is a prolific signer.
Armstrong's reticence makes him one of the rarest and most valuable on the autographs market. This was recently demonstrated by sale of a cheque signed by Armstrong just before he jetted-off in Apollo 11.
It sold for an incredible $27,350, placing Armstrong among the autograph market's big-hitters like President George Washington (recent sale: $32,818) and King Henry VIII (recent sales: $29,500-40,000).
The cheque is a unique example, but even regular Armstrong autographs easily command thousands of dollars.
So the question is, if Buzz Aldrin's signature doesn't sell for as much as Armstrong's, then where can you find rare, valuable and sought-after Aldrin memorabilia?
"You can't participate in such a momentous program and not have the reminders of it have an effect on your life. What a wonderful gift for a person to receive" - Buzz Aldrin
Collectors looking for a piece of Aldrin's history would be wise to hunt for memorabilia with two criteria: one, it has a story attached and, two, it has been up in space.
For instance, the navigational chart used by Armstrong and Aldrin on the lunar surface was one of the major lots at Bonhams' successful July Space Sale.
It sold for a remarkable $218,000 because it had been in space and was, according to Aldrin, "'The single most critical navigational device we used while on the Moon."
Technology from the Apollo mission can also attract enthusiastic bids. An Apollo Command Module rocket engine (signed by Aldrin, Apollo 7's Walter Schirra and Apollo 10's Tom Stafford) exceeded its top estimate, selling for $7,320 at Bonhams.
Aldrin autographs often perform well when accompanied by other legends of the space program, such as Apollo 7's Walter Schirra, and also when they are related to Aldrin's prestigious NASA career prior to Apollo 11.
A document outlining the experimental results of the manned Gemini missions - signed by Buzz Aldrin (Gemini 12), Gordon Cooper (GT5), Richard Gordon (GT-11), Tom Stafford (Gemini 6 and 9) and "Wally Schirra" - sold above its high $800 estimate, bringing an impressive $1,098 at Bonhams.
A few lots signed by Aldrin and the other Gemini astronauts remained unsold - but it is worth noting that the ones that did sell contained revelatory details and post-analysis about the missions, so these are factors worth looking for.
For instance, items which virtually met their high estimates at Bonhams included a handbook on Gemini 12's controls and displays, signed "Buzz Aldrin Gemini XII PLT / James Lovell Gemini XX CDR". It brought $732.
Elsewhere, a mission summary document entitled the End of Gemini, signed by Aldrin, Conrad, Cooper, Gordon, Schirra, and Stafford on the title page, also sold for $732.
Forty years on from Apollo 11, Buzz Aldrin collectibles may not have the exclusivity and value of Neil Armstrong memorabilia.
But, for dedicated collectors, there are plenty of rare and investment-worthy memorabilia items from Aldrin's long and legendary career in the pioneering NASA space program.
At Paul Fraser Collectibles, we currently has three pieces of Apollo 11 memorabilia available.
A joint photo of Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, seperate individual signed photos by each of them can be yours to own and, incredibly, Michael Collins's Apollo 11 flight suit, can each be yours to own.
For further information please contact Adrian Roose at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44 (0) 117 933 9503