Rare Sputnik-1 model auctions for $847,000

A rare original test model of Sputnik-1, the first artificial satellite launched into space, has sold superbly at Bonhams’ Air and Space Sale in New York.

Sputnik model

The model still beeps

The 23-inch wide beeping replica was used to test electromagnetic compatibility and interference prior to the launch of the pioneering satellite in 1957.

It's one of only three replicas in private hands. The previous record for one of the rarities was $269,000. This example sold for $847,500.

That makes it the second-most valuable piece of Soviet space memorabilia ever sold; the Vostok 3KA-2 test capsule - sent into orbit just weeks before Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space - sold for $2.9m in 2011.

The second-top lot of the September 27 sale was Neil Armstrong's training glove, which made $50,000.

The first man on the Moon used the glove, which bears his surname, during training for the Apollo 11 mission.

Neil Armstrong glove

Made of beta cloth, following the Apollo 1 tragedy

The right-hand intravehicular glove is made of beta, a flame resistant material introduced after the Apollo 1 tragedy of 1967 in which all three crew members lost their lives during a test.  

"Neil Armstrong would have worn this glove while participating in Apollo mission training simulations, which replicated the IV glove he would have worn during flight," explains Bonhams.

With the spacesuit Armstrong wore on the Moon residing at the Smithsonian, this represented a rare opportunity to own the next best thing – explaining its strong showing.  

Also selling well was pioneering aviation memorabilia from almost 70 years earlier. Several Wright Brothers artefacts sold, including a piece of fabric from 1903's Wright Flyer – the first plane to fly successfully.   

It sold for $6,875.

See all our space and aviation memorabilia for sale, including this Neil Armstrong rarity.  

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