For space collectors, 2012 was marked by a sad event - the death of Neil Armstrong. However, the passing of the world's greatest astronaut prompted a resurgence in the sector and sent values for the top Apollo memorabilia rocketing.
The year saw aviation collectors looking toward the world famous Wright Brothers once more, yet it also brought legendary aviators such as Howard Hughes to the fore. Auction houses presented some remarkable lots, with WWII Spitfires and Hurricanes offered in landmark sales.
- The largest piece of Moon rock ever to appear at auction reached international headlines when it sold for $330,000 at Heritage Auctions in October. The four pound chunk is rivalled in size only by those recovered by the Apollo missions, although none of these will ever be offered for sale.
- A cuff checklist worn by Apollo 15's Dave Scott sold for $304,000 in November. It was described as "the rarest and most desirable of all flown memorabilia" by the auction house.
- According to the PFC40 Autograph Index, the value of Neil Armstrong's autograph has risen by 26.05% since 2011, making his one of the world's most valuable signatures.
- Apollo 17 memorabilia has been selling with impressive results. In May, a Robbins medal flown aboard Apollo 17 sold for $38,837, while another brought $53,775 at Heritage Auctions in November - both achieved huge increases on estimate.
- A tool kit from the Apollo 17 mission saw bids of $79,959 in an online auction in May. It was believed to be the last compete tool kit from the Apollo flights in existence.
- Aviation saw an archive of material from Howard Hughes' around the world flight sell for $15,000, including a spark-plug from his aeroplane.
- A historical collection of ballooning memorabilia brought $714,350 to a German auction. It was considered to be the largest collection in private hands.
It was a breakout year for…
- Meteorites. With the headline-grabbing sale of the fourth largest Moon meteorite in October and fragments from the widely-publicised Tissint Martian meteorite also being offered, space rocks have drawn global attention toward space memorabilia in 2012.
A year to forget for…
- Bill Clinton's Laptop computer. The computer which Bill Clinton used to send the first presidential email - a message to astronaut John Glenn in space - was put up for sale on eBay for $125,000 in November. Unfortunately, the final bid of the auction has yet to be announced, suggesting a less than desirable result.
One you may have missed…
- A giant photo mosaic of the Moon's surface, which was created using images captured by NASA's Lunar Orbiter IV, sold for $98,500 at Bonhams in December. The mosaic is one of just two known to exist, with the other thought to have been lost.