Italy has never had a space programme as such, but at the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation auction, where bidding is currently in full swing, it is an Italian flag flown through space to the moon which is currently leading the way.
Hailing from the personal collection of Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden, this 4 x 6.5" national flag of Italy was flown to the Moon aboard Apollo 15 Command Module Endeavour, which launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on July 26, 1971 and returned to Earth on August 7, 1971.
Worden has inscribed and signed this museum-quality artefact with "Flown to the Moon on Apollo 15 — Al Worden, Apollo 15." Every mission flown during the Apollo Program was given a set of various countries' flags by NASA for the astronauts to take with them to space in their Personal Preference Kits.
Upon the crew's return, some of the flags were used as goodwill gestures for the Heads of State in each country; the other flags the astronauts were permitted to keep.
While Apollo 15 crewmembers Jim Irwin and Dave Scott explored the lunar surface, Command Module Pilot (CMP) Worden conducted experiments from lunar orbit and later in the mission executed a deep space extravehicular activity more than 200,000 miles from Earth, setting a record — which still stands today — for the furthest out spacewalk.
Accompanying the flag is an iron-clad provenance from Worden in the form of a hand-signed, personalized Certificate of Authenticity on his Apollo 15 letterhead, detailing the flag's lunar journey. This piece has been matted and framed using archival methods.
The piece has currently received 38 bids and has reached $5,500. The auction closes on November 5.
Items connected with Apollo 15 are naturally highly coveted by space collectors, especially those associated with the actual moonwalkers David Scott and James Irwin.
We're currently offering a nuclear test ban treaty signed by David Scott with his distinctive sweeping diagonal autograph.