The more exclusive the club, the greater the demand.
Among those who love to draw and paint, few can claim to be accomplished artists. Even more selective is the number of those who dream about flying into space who eventually become actual astronauts. More exclusive than either is the number of people who have walked on the moon: 12.
Alan Bean can make all three claims. The former pilot and astronaut is one of the dozen who set foot on the moon, and after retiring from NASA, he was able to devote all of my time and energy to painting, celebrating the great exploration that was Apollo.
Now a selection of artifacts from his space exploration career, identified as materials From the Estate of Moonwalker and Artist Alan Bean, will be offered Nov. 12-13 in Heritage Auctions
Space Exploration Signature® Auction.
Beans daughter, Amy, said that the decision to consign some of her fathers collection was understandably difficult.
Mixed emotions, she said when asked how she expects to feel when some of the items her father saved find new homes. Im glad collectors will care for them.
My father felt incredibly lucky to have served his country and live the life he did. He often said, when you are training for the moon, every day feels like your birthday and Christmas rolled into one.
Amy Bean said the auction will allow her father to effectively contribute to the lives of his grandchildren.
These artifacts are Dads keepsakes, physical memories of a dream come true, she said. But when Dad was alive he told me many times to offer them to collectors when died. He knew they would treasure them as he did. Dad said he wanted his children and grandchildren to use the proceeds to make their own dreams, whatever they may be, come true.
Alan Bean is a titan in the history of space travel, Heritage Auctions Space Exploration Director Michael Riley said. His name belongs up there way up there with the likes of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. What is being offered in this collection is pieces of space history that simply can not be found anywhere else.
The Write Stuff
Two elements of critical importance to the space program are communication and the recording of history, much of which required the astronauts to write, whether full reports or even simple notes. Two items he kept and used are available in this auction:
An Apollo 12 Lunar Module Flown and Lunar Surface Used Garland Mechanical Pencil, from Alan Bean's Personal Collection, with Copy of His Handwritten Letter of Authenticity (estimate: $24,000+) is a chrome-colored Garland model 35-P mechanical pencil, 5-1/8 inches long and wrapped around the top in Velcro for ease of stowage and attachment while onboard the flight. Included with the lot is a copy of a handwritten and signed letter of Authenticity on his own letterhead, which reads: I hereby certify that the accompanying silver mechanical pencil traveled with me to the Lunar Surface on the Ocean of Storms in November 1969. I used this pen in our Command Module, 'Yankee Clipper' on the way to and from the moon. I used it during descent and landing on the Moon inside our Lunar Module, 'Intrepid' and on liftoff to rendezvous with the orbiting Command Module. I carried it in my left arm pocket during both moonwalks. [signed] Alan Bean Apollo 12 LMP"
An Apollo 12 Lunar Module Flown Red Keystone Wax Marker Pen, from Alan Bean's Personal Collection, with Copy of His Handwritten Letter of Authenticity (estimate: $15,000+) is a 5-inch pen with a pocket clip marked KEYSTONE, U.S. GOVERNMENT stamped clearly on the barrel. According to Chris Spains Space Flown Artifacts website, this is the only known such Keystone marking pen carried on an Apollo flight. Included in this lot is a copy of Bean's handwritten and signed Letter of Authenticity on his personal letterhead (the original has been lost). It reads, in full: "I hereby certify that the accompanying black plastic red marker US Government pen travelled with me inside the command module, Yankee Clipper, to and from the moon. I wore it in my right arm pocket when I transferred to our lunar module, Intrepid. I used it there, inside the lunar module, for the 33 hours we spent on the Moon, and on liftoff and rendezvous with our orbiting command module. [signed] Alan Bean Apollo 12 LMP "
Before Bean was an artist, or an astronaut or a Naval pilot, he was a proud graduate of the University of Texas, from which he and many members of his family graduated.
Dad was a very proud Texan and a very proud Longhorn, Amy Bean said. He earned a Navy scholarship to attend the University of Texas, which is where he really came into his own academically. It gave him great opportunities to learn the things he needed to learn to be a pilot, which is what he always wanted to do. So he had great appreciation and affection for the University of Texas. He was a Distinguished Alum, and he did some commercials for the school. He was so proud to be a graduate of the engineering department at Texas.
So much so that the university followed him literally into the space program. The auction includes Beans Apollo 12 Lunar Module-Flown University of Texas 1955 Bachelor of Science 10K Gold Class Ring, from His Personal Collection, with Certificate of Authenticity (estimate: $30,000+), which Heritage Auctions experts speculate is the only class ring from any university that ever reached the lunar surface, an Apollo 12 Lunar Module Flown University of Texas Flag and Embroidered Mission Insignia Patch in Framed Display that Hung in Alan Bean's Office, from His Personal Collection, with Certificate of Authenticity (estimate: $8,000+) and his 1955 University of Texas Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering Degree Certificate in Framed Display, from His Personal Collection, with Certificate of Authenticity (estimate: $2,400+). He wore his University of Texas ring a lot, his daughter said, and he wore it with a lot of pride.
Also from Beans collection is an Apollo 12 Lunar Module Flown and Spacewalk Worn Biomedical Harness, from Alan Bean's Personal Collection, with Copy of His Handwritten Letter of Authenticity (estimate: $20,000+), worn underneath the inflight coverall garment to monitor his heart and respiratory system, routing data through the PLSS while on an EVA to the Apollo 12 spacecraft communication system then back to Mission Control. It consists of two separate parts:
Sternal Harness: SHB 42100120-203 a blue multi-pin plug with two orange wires, one to a single sensor, the other split to two sensors.
Auxiliary Harness: SHB 42100121-202 a yellowed white multi-pin plug with two orange wires, each running a separate sensor, one of which has this NASA number on it an incredibly rare item that monitored Bean's vital signs during this landmark second manned lunar landing.
Other top lots from the Estate of Moonwalker and Artist Alan Bean include, but are not limited to:
An Apollo 12 Flown Silver Robbins Medallion, No Serial Number, from Alan Bean's Personal Collection with His Handwritten Certification (estimate: $16,000+)
An Apollo 12 Flown Flight Data File Clip, from Alan Bean's Personal Collection, with Certificate of Authenticity (estimate: $8,000+)
Alan Bean's Rare "Mercury Spacecraft" McDonnell Lithograph Signed by the Six Astronauts who Flew in the Program, from His Personal Collection, with Certificate of Authenticity (estimate: $8,000+)
An Alan Bean Original 1983 Painting "Red Ribbons" Acrylic on Masonite (estimate: $55,000+) depicts Harrison Jack Schmitt on the lunar surface as he deploys the solar-powered transmitter of the Surface Electrical Properties Experiment, which found no evidence of liquid water could be found up to a mile below the lunar surface. The title refers to the red 75-foot-long antennas that transmitted the radiation.
Signs of the Times
Alan Bean and the rest of the Apollo astronauts were global celebrities, often asked to sign items for fans and collectors, and Beans trove in this auction includes dozens of items signed by him or his fellow astronauts
or both. Items bearing out-of-this-world autographs include, but are not limited to:
A Moon Globe Signed by Twenty-Seven NASA Astronauts, Three Soviet Cosmonauts, Two Pilots of SpaceShipOne, and Two Actors (estimate: $8,000+)
An Apollo 12 Flown Framed Larger-Size American Flag on Crew-Signed Mat, Originally from the Alan Bean Family Collection, Signed and Certified by Mission Lunar Module Pilot Alan Bean, in Framed Display (estimate: $6,000+)
Alan Bean Book: Apollo. Signed by Twenty-One Astronauts Including Nine Moonwalkers (estimate: $6,000+)
Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton Moon Shot Book Signed by Thirty Eight Legends of Space. Featuring Astronauts, Cosmonauts, and Astronomers. Includes Ten Moonwalkers, and Full Crews from Apollo 8, 9, 10 and 12 (estimate: $6,000+)
A Large International Space Station Photo Signed by Twenty-Two Astronauts Including Six Moonwalkers (estimate: $6,000+)