Items signed by all three of the members of the Apollo 11 mission are rare. Items that have been to the Moon are even rarer. Combine the two and you have one of the star lots of the recent heritage Space auction in Texas.
The Apollo 11 Crew-Signed Commemorative Cover from the personal collection of Michael Collins was, as expected, a massive hit with collectors. It was described as "the pinnacle, the ultimate, for any collection of space-related covers" and its rarity was matched by its price. It eventually sold after furious bidding for a massive $26,290.
Flown to the Moon and back, it had been signed by Collins, Buzz Aldrin and (rarest of all) Neil Armstrong. Affixed to its cover is an 8¢ "Apollo 8" stamp with an August 11, 1969, cancellation at Webster, Texas. Stamped beneath the cancellation is the text: "Delayed In Quarantine At/ Lunar Receiving Laboratory/ M.S.C. - Houston, Texas".
After Apollo 11 came back down to Earth on July 24 and all three astronauts had been immediately quarantined along with the equipment from the spacecraft (in accordance with the federal Extra-Terrestrial Exposure Law, passed in 1969). As soon as they were released, this cover was taken to the nearest post office for cancellation.
Recent years have seen some amazing sales of space memorabilia, from space suits and meteorites to lunar maps and moon dust, and the popularity of these items has shown the strength of the current market.
As 2010 draws to a close collectors will already be looking towards 2011, eager to discover which interplanetary items may turn up next. And you can be sure the team here at Paul Fraser Collectibles will be too.
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