The detailed manual used by U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to land on the moon in 1969 is going up for auction in July 2019 and is expected to fetch up to $9 million, New York auctioneers Christie’s said.
The 44-page ring-bound Apollo 11 lunar module timeline book details each and every procedure that was needed to undock, land and rendezvous the Eagle with its Columbia command module when Armstrong and Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon.
“These are step-by-step instructions that cover the entire portion of the Eagle flight. It is a series of instructions on everything from ‘don your helmets’ to ‘check your power system,’” Christina Geiger, head of books and manuscripts at Christie’s auction house, said.
The handy manual which was carried aboard to the spacecraft contained not only technical data, but also the drawings, check marks and annotations written in real time by Armstrong and Aldrin.
Since it was an era of no audio or video recording of what happened in the cockpit of the Eagle, the manual is regarded as a unique witness to space history. It also marks the first writing by a human on another heavenly body.
It is reported to be sold by a private collector who had bought it previously from Aldrin.
It’s not new that collectors pay huge amounts for space exploration artifacts. In 2017 for example Sotheby sold a zippered bag used by Armstrong and laced with moondust for $1.8 million.
“Everybody wants something that has flown to space or to the moon. It’s so cool to be able to gaze up at the moon and think: ‘I’ve got an object in my pocket that was there,’” said Geiger.
The last manned mission having a human as a crew to the moon took place in 1972.
It is estimated that the manual would fetch somewhere between $7 million to $9 million. It is decided to first display the handbook in New York from May 3 to May 17, before going under the hammer on July 18, 2019.
The auction is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing called One Giant Leap: Celebrating Space Exploration 50 years after Apollo 11. It is said that out of 150 items that are going to be a part of the auction, this handbook is surely the star item.