'Owner's Manual' for Apollo 11's Eagle sold for $35,850

At Heritage Auctions recent sale in Dallas the top lot was, as expected, the nametag of Dr Edgar Mitchell from his moonwalk with Apollo 14, followed by a slightly more surprising second place piece: a book of Earth landmarks flown aboard Apollo 10.

However, there were also some encouraging results for anyone interested in investing in Apollo 11 items - of which only one of the top three flew with Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins.

The first of the three highest placed lots would be of interest to philatelists: an Apollo 11 'insurance cover'. Insurance covers were always designed to be valuable, and Apollo 11 was the first mission for which they were used.

The cover, which in this case comes from the collection of Buzz Aldrin, shows an Apollo 11 logo and Apollo 8 stamp, signed by Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin and postmarked Houston, Texas on July 20, 1969, the day Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.

It's slightly grim purpose was to provide a very valuable item to be sold by the astronauts' families if they failed to return. Estimated at $6,000-8,000 it sold for $10,157.50.

Apollo 11 Silver Medallion
Apollo 11 Silver Medallion

The flown silver Robbins medal from the collection of Apollo 11 CapCom (and later Apollo 17 pilot) Ron Evans - being rare or perhaps unique for sporting Michael Collins's original design with an image of the Apollo 11 eagle landing on the moon with olive branch in its beak rather than claws - squeaked past its guide price.

Expected to sell for $15,000-20,000 it was taken home by a bidder for $20,315.

The highest placed Apollo 11 item was a complete surprise. It was Grumman Apollo Operations Handbook - Lunar Module LM5 and Subsequent book. LM5, as a true space fan will know, eventually became known as Eagle, the first lunar module to land on the moon, and this was effectively the owner's manual.

The book, many hundreds of pages long, contains a vast amount of information about the craft, and this is probably what sparked a frenzy of bidding which took the collectible tome far past its $5,000-$7,000 estimate, and it was taken home by a delighted bidder for $35,850.

Collectors interested in collecting space memorabilia will be interested to know that there are several autographs and other pieces of memorabilia from the Apollo missions - including Neil Armstrong's - currently on the market.


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