Will collectibles from the Apollo 13 mission be valuable in the long run? Braxton, Las Vegas
Thanks for the question, Braxton. Values for the rarest, most in-demand pieces from the mission will demonstrate considerable price growth over the coming years.
I'm talking about items such as space flown flags, and unique one-off pieces used by the astronauts on the mission.
Why am I so confident of value increases?
After the first Moon landings of Apollo 11, the Apollo 13 is no doubt the most well-known. The heroic efforts of the crewmembers and those at mission control to bring Apollo 13 back down to Earth captivated the world in 1970. And the blockbuster film from 1995 will have helped bring the tale to a new audience.
We have already seen this impacting the collectibles market.
Lovell and Haise's mission notes sold for $27,450 in 2009, while the notebook Lovell used to calculate Apollo 13's safe return to Earth sold for $388,375 in December 2011, far above its $35,000 estimate.
And in the same way I envisage the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landings will boost demand for the mission's memorabilia, the 50th anniversary of the aborted Apollo 13 effort will likewise receive significant media attention - generating considerable interest in this superb story.
Values for the signatures of the three astronauts are currently undervalued, with Lovell signatures having changed hands for as little as $100 recently. When the three astronauts are no longer around I anticipate values will rise significantly, as demand for these finite mementoes soars. I expect space flown flags bearing the crew's signatures to be a particular boom area. One such specimen, signed by Lovell, accompanied by the crew's signatures on a certificate, sold for $7,000 last year.
One area to stay clear of is Robbins medals from the flight. That's because the original 400 space flown medals featured the word "landed" on them. Upon the spacecraft's return to Earth, these 400 were melted down and recast with a more accurate description of events. So while the sterling silver that forms the medals was flown into space, the medals themselves were not. Consequently, auction values have shown comparatively less value appreciation over recent years when compared with more successful Apollo missions.