Apollo 13 checklist brings $388,375 World Record price at HA.com space sale

In the run-up to Heritage's space sale, we discussed the expected top lot - a checklist marking the calculations that the Apollo 13 crew made whilst on board their damaged craft with the aim of returning to Earth - and suggested that the estimate seemed low.

Although it never reached the moon, the mission is the best remembered alongside Apollo 11 of all of those intended to reach the lunar surface, for the unbearable tension as the crew and the team in Houston attempted to figure out how to avoid tragedy.

The Flown LM Systems Activation Checklist Book comes from the collection of Mission Commander James Lovell.

The checklist is perhaps the best piece of memorabilia in existence marking those nightmarish minutes, which made the $25,000 - $35,000 listing look slightly cautious - but the result exceeded even our expectations.

Perhaps powered by the Tom Hanks film, (which carefully represents the discussion with Houston whilst the calculations were made) the checklist rocketed up to an extraordinary $388,375.

Apollo 13 flown checklist
'Houston, we had a problem': the Apollo 13 flown checklist

In the past, it's been very rare that space memorabilia has reached six-figure sums. An Apollo 11 flight plan inscribed with the words "One small step for a man - one giant leap for mankind" by Neil Armstrong brought $152,000 in 2010.

In fact this is by some margin the most expensive piece of Apollo memorabilia ever sold.

This is not inexplicable - one would only really expect a really exceptional piece of Apollo 11 memorabilia (say, the suit Armstrong was wearing as he set foot on the moon) to top it. But this is in the Smithsonian, as are most of the very choicest examples.

The strength of the price, however, is a general reminder that the lure of great space collectibles remains strong. Just last week, Artcurial's comic book department was astonished that a Tintin book signed by a selection of moonwalkers sold for nine times their highest hopes at €100,000 (approx $132,400).

Of course dedicated space collectors will know that, in general, the value of moonwalkers' signatures has grown by 564% since 2000 according the PFC40 Autograph Index.

That's one reason why we're so happy to hold a wide range of Apollo memorabilia, including this photograph of Buzz Aldrin's lunar footprint, signed by all three members of Apollo 11.


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