NEW YORK, NY.-
A white, Teflon-coated jacket worn by astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969 sold for $2.7 million at a Sothebys auction Tuesday, fetching the highest price among dozens of pieces of rare memorabilia tracing his career in space exploration.
Aldrin, now 92, has a storied career as an astronaut, joining NASA in 1963 after flying for the Air Force. Within three years, he had executed the worlds first successful spacewalk in the Gemini 12 mission. Then, on July 20, 1969, millions of people watched on television as he became the second man to walk on the moon, about 20 minutes after Neil Armstrong, who declared it one giant leap for mankind.
The custom-fitted jacket Aldrin wore on that mission sold after fierce bidding lasting nine minutes, with the auctioneer calling it the most valuable American space-flown artifact ever sold at auction. (The garments worn by the two other Apollo 11 astronauts from that mission are owned by the Smithsonian.)
In all, 68 of 69 lots of Aldrins belongings were sold for a combined $8 million Tuesday by Sothebys in Manhattan at an auction that lasted more than two hours.
Derek Parsons, a Sothebys spokesperson, said that the Aldrin sale was the most valuable single space exploration auction ever staged.
Only one lot did not sell: It included the tiny broken circuit switch that nearly marooned the Apollo 11 crew on the moon and a dented aluminum pen that Aldrin used as a manual workaround to achieve liftoff.
Aldrin said in a statement that the time felt right to share these items with the world, which for many are symbols of a historical moment, but for me have always remained personal mementos of a life dedicated to science and exploration.
Among the items sold at auction were also gold-colored lifetime passes to Major League Baseball games, for $7,560, and an MTV Video Music Awards statuette modeled after the iconic image of Aldrin placing the American flag on the moons surface, which fetched $88,200.
A complete summary flight plan of the Apollo mission sold for $819,000. A Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nations highest honor for civilians, bestowed to Aldrin by President Richard Nixon, sold for $277,200.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times