$75,000 'astronaut's wardrobe' stars at Heritage's Space Exploration sale

It was one of our predicted highlights in the run-up to Heritage's November 17 Signature Space Exploration auction. And, in the end, Apollo 15 pilot Jim Irwin's A7L Integrated Thermal Micrometeroid suit didn't disappoint...

Consigned from Irwin's own personal collection, the historic suit is understood to have either been used by the astronaut in his early training, or possibly in his position as the backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 10.

Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) suits of this kind were worn by the astronauts during the various Apollo missions to the Moon. And this distinction would have been especially important to Irwin (pictured top right) during his training for Apollo 15...

Apollo 15 was the first of the "J missions", long duration stays on the Moon which allowed a greater focus on science than had been previously possible. (The Apollo 15 mission is today also remembered for a certain stamp-related scandal, but that's another story.)

Jim Irwin's A7L Integrated Thermal Micrometeroid suit

Aside from its impeccable provenance, the suit also bears Irwin's name tag, an International Latex Corporation label (listing the Model Number "2001A", Size "Irwin", and Serial "003"). According to the suit's lot notes it sold in "generally very good condition with only light wear and use."

Although Heritage only offered part of the EMU suit - just the torso with no connectors, helmet, gloves, or boots - it nevertheless emerged as the second-highest grossing lot in the auction, bringing $53,770.

And Irvin's suit wasn't the only exceptional garment to appear in the Dallas, Texas, auction. The sixth-highest selling lot of the day was a training-used A7L Lunar Boot manufactured by ILC, and bearing the nametag of Apollo 10 Lunar Module Pilot and Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan.

A complete boot for the right foot, measuring 14" x 6" x 8" with Beta cloth-covered uppers and liners and a blue silicone rubber sole, it has the same tread which made mankind's iconic footprints on the Moon's surface.

A training-used A7L Lunar Boot, sold for $21,510

According to Heritage's lot notes, this boot was designed for "abrasion protection as well as better traction" and is an early training version of the final Moon-worn boots. The 'read deal' worn by Neil Armstrong et al apparently had a metal-woven fabric (Chromel-R) on the top and back.

Making a exceptionally rare appearance on the market, the fascinating Apollo training boot stomped to a final price of $21,510 - almost double its $8,000-12,000 estimated value.


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