This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and for any wealthy space fans, there are auctions making it possible to own a piece of the historic mission.
Christie’s New York City and Heritage Auctions in Dallas are selling unique memorabilia from the flight that took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon in 1969. The Christie’s auction, which is taking place on Thursday, features the flight manual from the lunar module that took the astronauts down to the moon’s surface. The manual includes flight plans, procedures and handwritten notes from the astronauts as they navigated the flight.
The three-day sale, titled Space Exploration Signature Auction, began on Tuesday in Dallas and has so far brought in $2.4 million, mainly through the $2.05 million sale of Armstrong’s 14-karat gold medal that he took with him to the moon.
Other items auctioned off included an American flag that flew aboard the spaceship, which sold for $137,500 and Armstrong’s NASA flight suit which sold for $81,250. Smaller items fetched smaller amounts like Armstrong’s 2004 National Award for Space Achievement trophy which sold for $5,500 and his personal copy of Life magazine from July 25, 1969 featuring him exiting the aircraft after returning to earth, sold for $21,250.
Other pieces were less personal to Armstrong but more symbolic in their contribution to the mission, like a propellor form the Wright Brothers’ first powered flying machine from 1903, netting $150,000 and a piece of cloth from its left wing, going for $143,700.
Sotheby’s will be auctioning off 11 items from the personal collection of Buzz Aldrin, along with other Space Exploration related memorabilia. The top lots are the Mission Rules Summary, estimated to go for $30,000 to $50,000, and the three tapes from NASA containing hours of footage offering the earliest and most accurate images of mankind’s first steps on the moon, carrying an estimate of $1 and $2 million.
In light of these auctions, and the anniversary of the mission, several exhibitions were announced to commemorate the occasion and showcase different space-themed works. The American Museum of Natural History in New York is opening a VR collaborative exhibition between Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chieng Huang that combines sci-film footage with Greek mythology to create a version of the moon landing. Also in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting “Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography,” which shows drawings, photographs, prints and paintings of the moon.
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, will be hosting a large-scale exhibition featuring 200 works of art exploring the power of the moon ranging from early Galilean moon maps to Hiroshi Sugimoto’s poignant photography.