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Bonhams Space History Sale rockets to success in New York
Flown Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Checklist, page SUR-58/SUR-59, A single sheet printed recto and verso. NASA/MSC, June 16, 1969, updated June 25, 1969. 5½ by 8 inches. Extensive annotations in ink by BUZZ ALDRIN. Sold for US$ 68,750 inc. premium. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams’ Space History sale thrilled collectors and captured the imagination of the public on April 8, igniting new interest in space exploration. The sale featured hundreds of fascinating artifacts related to decades of international space exploration, including genuine spacesuits, critical flight items from the famed Apollo 11 mission, lunar-flown American flags, rare photographs and astronauts’ personal effects.

Worldwide pre-sale attention led nearly 300 bidders from 17 countries on four continents to participate in the auction. Bidding wars repeatedly erupted between the determined attendees at the Madison Avenue gallery, and the international interest coming through live online and via the telephones. The sale totaled a cool $1 million.

“When I was a little girl, my dream was to become an astronaut, so this auction was a special thrill for me,” said Cassandra Hatton, Senior Space Specialist at Bonhams. “Space exploration interests people globally, of all ages and all walks of life. It’s very rewarding to organize a sale in such an inclusive collecting field.”

Items related to Apollo 11 proved to be the most popular. The sale’s top lot was an Apollo 11 checklist sheet with extensive notations made by Buzz Aldrin while on the moon. The sheet, which contained critical data, flew past its estimate to reach $68,750. Also from Apollo 11, a 6-inch cloth emblem depicting an eagle landing on the moon sold for $62,500. The emblem was exactly like the one worn on all the astronauts’ space suits during the mission. Although this particular emblem was not worn, it did travel with the crew during the mission and was signed by all the astronauts aboard – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. A United States flag carried by Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 doubled its pre-sale estimate to reach $47,500.

Additional stellar highlights included a Mercury era spacesuit that sold for five times its presale estimate, eventually selling for $43,750 after a lengthy bidding war. The iconic silver suit dates from the U.S.’ very first foray into space exploration, dubbed the Mercury Project, and the creation of NASA.

Bonhams next Space History sale will take place in the spring of 2015 in New York.

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