Tereshkova and out... Collectors remember the first-ever woman in space



It was on this day (June 16) in 1963 that the Soviet Union launched the first female space traveller, Valentina Tereshkova (pictured top right), into orbit aboard Vostok 6.

Two years after Yuri Gagarin made history as the first man to be launched into space, Vostok 6 marked the next stage in Russia's upper-hand over the USA in the ongoing Space Race.

Determined to again beat the US, this time by putting the first woman in space, the Soviets recruited Tereshkova - a former textile worker and prominent Communist party member - from more than 500 applicants.

Of course, various failed attempts by the USSR to build space stations and the later success of Apollo 11's first Moonwalk soon put paid to the Soviet's dominance...

Valentina Tereshkova's Vostok 6 test helmet, sold for $13,000 back in 2005, could be worth significantly more today 

Fortunately, years later devoted and wealthy collectors are helping to ensure that the brave space endeavours of Russia's male and female cosmonauts aren't forgotten.

Indeed, Valentina Tereshkova herself is no stranger to the auction markets.

Her SK-2 training helmet for Vostok-6, autographed in black pen by Tereshkova herself, sold for $13,000 at an auction in Bell Canyon, California in 2005.

A 1960's original, "the first space helmet", gray with a hand-painted "CCCP" in red lining, the helmet's interior was incomplete - but its rarity and provenance sealed its value.

Elsewhere, group autographs of Russia's first cosmonauts have sold for three figures.

Tereshkova and Yuri Gagarin both appear in the group signed photograph of Russia's first cosmonauts

Like this example (pictured), featuring the first 11 Soviet cosmonauts with nine of their autographs, including Yuri Gagarin and Vladimir Komarov, the first Soviet cosmonaut to die on a space mission (in 1967).

While this isn't yet up there with the values upwards of $11,000 commanded by group autographs of the Mercury 7 astronauts, the United States' first men in space, quality memorabilia linked to Russia's brave early cosmonauts is sure to grow in value in future years.

Particularly as the economy of Russia - along with the other 'BRIC' nations, Brazil, India and China - continues to grow, and its wealthy latch on to the appeal and investment benefits of space memorabilia.


Join our readers in more than 200 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£65,000
In stock