For collectors, space really is the final frontier.
There have been a mere six manned missions which have reached the moon, and only 12 men have ever walked on its surface. The memorabilia connected with these missions is obviously rare and extremely sought-after, with very few pieces ever appearing on the open market.
Even the signatures of astronauts can be hard to come by. Neil Armstrong's autograph is rated as the rarest living signature, and has risen in price by 900% over the last ten years (according the industry's PFC40 index).
Items such as this signed photo are few and far between, and likely to shoot up even further in value over the next few years.
But leap into the world of collectibles that have actually been into space, and the prices can become truly astronomical.
A simple nametag from the spacesuit of Edgar Mitchell, worn on the lunar surface during the Apollo 14 mission, was sold for $59,750 earlier this year. And the altitude control joystick from the Falcon lunar module of Apollo 15 recently sold at auction for an amazing $206,000.
But the one mission that really grabs the attention of buyers is, of course, the first: Apollo 11. Just as Armstrong's 'small' step brought the whole world together in excitement and wonder, a flown item from the mission at auction can send a room full of bidders through the roof.
This brings us to 'the most expensive item of space memorabilia ever sold'.
The record is held by the navigational chart used by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, just after their landing, to determine their exact position on the lunar surface.
"This star chart was the single most critical navigational device we used while on the Moon," wrote Aldrin.
One of the few flight devices returned from the moon to be available on the market, the chart broke the auction record in 2009 when it sold for an astounding $218,000. It was signed by Buzz Aldrin, and its sale also included a typed and signed letter from the second man to set foot on the lunar surface.
With the space race now focusing its attention a few million miles across the solar system, moon landings may seem to be a thing of the past. But for many collectors and investors, items from those missions remain treasures to be prized above all else. That is, until we land on Mars....
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