Space enthusiasts will be able to retrace the footsteps of Neil Armstrong, on December 5, when a giant photographic mosaic of the Moon is set to sell at Bonhams.
The New York auction will see the monumental piece - one of just two ever created - sell with an $80,000-100,000 estimate. All of the items offered in the sale originate from a private Virginian collection.
The photographs were originally taken by NASA's Lunar Orbiter IV in 1967, with the US Information Agency commissioning Kodak to assemble the mosaic in the same year. Consisting of 218 panels, the photographs span roughly 34 feet by 24 feet and are covered with plastic to enable the public to walk across them.
Bonhams believes the mosaic to be the largest photograph of the Moon ever created, and it is certainly one of the most captivating; the Lunar Orbiter IV photographed the entire near side of the Moon at a high resolution not possible from Earth.
Bonhams' Matthew Haley commented: "This is an extraordinary photographic item and the future owner will be able to literally walk on the Moon. As a completely unique item to come to the market, we are expecting a lot of interest in this remarkable photographic mosaic."
The other of the two mosaics created was previously displayed in Prague during the 1967 August International Astronomical Union meeting. This example appears to be lost, despite many efforts to locate it. This factor will further raise interest in the piece at auction.
The highest estimate of the sale is held by a globe showing the visible surface of the Moon, which was accurately drawn from a series of telescopic observations by John Russell in 1797. Described by Bonhams as "one of the black tulips of 18th century English scientific instruments", it is expected to sell for $200,000-300,000.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has an extraordinary range of space collectibles currently available, including the space suit worn by Buzz Aldrin in preparation for his legendary moonwalk.