A gold medal that flew aboard the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon with Neil Armstrong has sold for $2,055,000 by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and for space fans with deep pockets, it’s possible to own a piece of the historic mission.
Two prominent auction houses, Christie’s in New York City and Heritage Auctions in Dallas, are selling unique pieces of memorabilia from the flight that took astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon in 1969.
The Christie’s auction, set to take place Thursday, features a flight manual that sat between Armstrong and Aldrin in the lunar module that took them down to the moon’s surface. The manual, held together by three metal rings, contains flight plans, detailed procedures for the moon landing and handwritten annotations from the astronauts.
The Armstrong family has partnered directly with Heritage Auctions to sell items from the Apollo 11 mission and Armstrong’s life before NASA. The sale began Tuesday and continues through Thursday.
Among the items already sold are a gold medal that flew with Armstrong to the moon that nabbed more than $2 million, a piece of cloth from the Wright Brothers’ 1903 Flyer that Armstrong brought on the Apollo 11 flight that sold for $143,750, and the moon walker’s childhood teddy bear that sold for $3,500.
Heritage Auctions Thursday sale includes two of Armstrong’s medals and original photos and magazines from the family’s personal collection.
Unusually, the medal features an early design for the Apollo 11 mission insignia that was created by crewmember Michael Collins.
“The obverse depicts Collins’ early and original concept for the mission insignia with the eagle carrying an olive branch in its mouth,” explains Heritage Auctions, on its website. “NASA thought the sharp, open talons of the eagle looked too “warlike” and the olive branch, representing peace, was moved to the claws. This is one of, if not the only, major official items that renders the insignia as it was meant to be by the astronaut designer.”
Armstrong’s son, Mark Armstrong, said part of the proceeds from the auction will be used to support museums around the world that emphasize science, technology, engineering, math and the arts — including the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, that was named for his famous father.
“I think the 50th anniversary is an opportunity for us to not only remember where we’ve been, but to inspire the next generation of young people,” Mark Armstrong said.