Bonhams will be marking the 50th Anniversary of the first American in space this May with a stellar auction - and some of the items really are out of this world . . . or at least, they have been.
On May 5 in New York, it will have been a half-century since Alan Shepard ventured beyond the confines of the Earth's atmosphere aboard Freedom 7. The auction house will be holding a Space History Sale in New York to commemorate the landmark.
The sale consists of several personal items belonging to famous astronauts, as well as items sourced from the Forbes collection and the estate of James E. Webb - a NASA administrator in the 1960s.
A highlight is an Apollo 14 Maurer camera belonging to Edgar Mitchell, the mission's lunar module pilot and the sixth moonwalker. The 16mm data acquisition camera was used to film movies through the window of the lunar module during approach and landing.
This historic and unique artefact from the symbolic height of space exploration has an estimate of $60,000-80,000 - giving an impression of the considerable sums that space memorabilia can command.
A more quirky item in the sale is a tissue dispenser flown to the moon on the Apollo 14 mission. Its contents may have been used to wipe away emotional tears on landing - however, its estimate of only $6,000-8,000 will almost certainly make a canny investor jump for joy.
Another notable featured lot is a spacesuit - Sokol K - used by Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, commander of the Soyuz 19 spacecraft. It was worn during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975, effectively considered to be the end of the 'Space Race' which dominated the previous decade.
(Buzz Aldrin's signed training suit is available away from the sale, as we've previously noted.)
This symbolic late-era item is highly prized, reflected in its remarkable estimate of $100,000-150,000. Space memorabilia remains as popular as ever, with some staggering prices realised - for example this early Russian spacesuit, sold for €87,497 in 2009. The Bonhams sale is not likely to buck this trend.
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