Category Archives: Space Collecting

Space Exploration auction at Sotheby’s in New York

Sotheby’s in New York is holding a Space Exploration auction that is

Sotheby’s first Space Exploration-themed auction since our two groundbreaking Russian Space History sales in the 1990s. In the intervening decades, the enthusiasm for space exploration has greatly increased, and the collecting field has grown dramatically.

Signed by James LovellL above the emblem: “JAMES LOVELL, Apollo 13 CDR”. Signed and inscribed by Fred Haise below the emblem: “Flown to the moon on Apollo 13, FRED HAISE, Apollo 13 LMP.” The Apollo 13 astronauts had artist Lumen Winter create an emblem from an idea the crew had of the mythical god Apollo driving a horse drawn chariot across the sky dragging the sun behind him. Winter’s design features three horses traveling from the earth to the moon, symbolizing the Apollo crew of three astronauts. “


Timed to coincide with the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing on July 20th, there will be a wide variety of material from both the American & Soviet space programs suited for both new and seasoned collectors – from lunar & space photography, flown mission artefacts and hardware, items from the personal collections of astronauts, autographed items, maps & charts, signed books, models, spacesuits, and much more.

The star lot in the sale is the Apollo 11 Contingency Lunar Sample Return bag (lot 102), used by Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission to bring back the very first samples of the moon ever collected. Still containing remnants of lunar dust, this seemingly modest bag has undergone an incredible journey from the Earth to the moon and back, and to us here 48 years later. Due to an error very early on, the bag was misidentified and nearly thrown in the trash, and its true identity remained hidden up until just two years ago when it found its way into a seized assets auction held on behalf of the US Marshall’s Service.

The current owner purchased the bag along with a box full of other space-related odds and ends, and on a hunch, decided to send the bag to NASA for testing. It was determined that not only did the bag contain lunar dust, but it was in fact the very bag used by Neil Armstrong to bring back the contingency lunar sample. A legal battle to determine the rightful ownership of the bag ensued, with the current owner being awarded full ownership and clear title by a Federal judge — making this the only such artifact available for private ownership. We are very pleased to be able to say that it will be on view to the public for the very first time during our exhibition in July.

“Stone Architecture on Mars, Demonstrating Mars’ Two-Thirds Less Gravity than Earth’s”- Chesley Bonestell. “10½ by 11 inch oil on artist’s board, signed “Chesley Bonestell” lower right. Verso stamped “Chesley Bonestell”, titled on verso in pen in Bonestell’s hand, with additional pencil notation reading “In 1985 I realized that the columns should be 1¾ times thicker (measure closest col. at base) than they are in the ptg.”

See also Moon rock on the block: Sotheby’s stages its first space exploration auction – The National. (not actually the “first” Sotheby’s space auction. Just the first in NY for a long while.)

Find dates for other space memorabilia and collectibles events at Space History Events Calendar | collectSPACE.

Astronaut memorabilia auction supports U.S. Space Walk of Fame Museum

The U.S. Space Walk of Fame Museum in Titusville, Florida is holding its annual Charity Auction:

The Space Walk of Fame Charity Space Memorabilia Auction takes place on Oct. 29. Don’t miss out on this chance to bid on exciting pieces of aerospace history — from photos signed by the Mercury Astronauts to pieces of the Hindenberg to a flown-in-space quilt and SO much more. Over 300 items offered! You can begin bidding NOW at

Click HERE to see the auction items and find out how to bid!

Remember that the museum makes a percentage from each sale so you are supporting our STEAM Space education program and helping students and at-risk youth learn about science and technology. Our goal is to move them from away from being passive consumers and TOWARD producing goods, services or digital products. 

NO items featured in the memorabilia auction are being sold from the museum collection — these are all consignment pieces or are provided by astronauts or former space workers.

Check out the Space memorabilia auction items at Here are a couple of examples:

Mercury Astronaut signed photo

Mercury astronaut signed photo.
Framed and matted photograph from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Authentically signed by John Glenn, Wally Schirra, Scott Carpenter and Gordon Cooper. A limited edition #261/300. In new condition.

Three “Flown” Russian Space Program souvenirs

Three (3) "Flown" Russian Space Program souvenirs; a cosmonaut-endorsed flown Soyuz alloy card and two nice medallions
Three (3) “Flown” Russian Space Program souvenirs; a cosmonaut-endorsed flown Soyuz alloy card and two nice medallions

NASA space suit test robot from 1965 available at auction house

RR Auction offers a wide range of Space Collectibles in their items up for bid. The current catalog includes an interesting item that is getting a lot of press – a NASA 1965 Space Suit Test Robot valued in the $80,000+ range : You could own this dilapidated 1960s NASA robot – CNET


From the item description:

An extraordinary hydraulically powered robot dummy designed for NASA to use in testing space suits, circa 1963–1965, produced by the IIT Research Institute. The life-size dummy could simulate 35 basic human motions and was equipped with torque sensors at each joint to gather data on forces imposed on the human body by a pressurized suit. While a person could qualitatively describe the comfort and restrictions of a certain suit, the articulated dummy could provide direct quantitative information for a more scientific method of refining the design.

Weighing 230 pounds, the dummy was made height adjustable from 5´ 5″ to 6´ 2″ so that it could represent the average American male from the fifth to ninety-fifth percentile. The movements of the robot were enabled by hydraulic actuators powered by oil flowing through a nylon-tube circulatory system, and controlled by the operator from a separate console. The exterior is covered with a 1/32-inch thick aluminum skin with cutaways to allow freedom of motion, and the facial section of the fiberglass head is removable for access to the interior connections. The dummy is missing a forearm and hand, has various scuffs and dings to the body, and some of the wiring is frayed or damaged.

Only two of these robot dummies were produced, and the other is owned by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum; this one was purchased as surplus from the University of Maryland. The ‘Power Driven Articulated Dummy’ project was under Contract No. NAS 9-1370 and ran from May 22, 1963 through July 31, 1965, and is described at length in an official report dated December 14, 1965. The report covers, in great detail, the specifications of the dummy, its various systems, and technical hurdles encountered while creating it.

Although the development team succeeded in creating this impressive android—it could swivel its hips, raise and lower its arms and legs, shrug its shoulders, clench its fists, and even shake hands—the robot was never deployed as intended. The hydraulic system could not handle the pressure needed to move the robot’s extremities without leaking, and despite some creative test solutions—including outfitting it with a scuba wetsuit—the problem was never solved. NASA ultimately dropped the project in order to direct its funding elsewhere. Nevertheless, this remarkable robot stands as a testament to the innovative creativity NASA inspired in its quest skyward. Oversized.

“COSMOS: Timeless, Magnetic, Wooden Toys” from Huzi Design

The young company Huzi Design has combined Beech wood, powerful magnets, and some imagination to create an elegant collection of space toys: Spaceship Building Blocks For Budding Rocket Scientists –


Unfortunately, they are not available yet but you can make them happen and also obtain your own collection by supporting their crowd-funding campaign: COSMOS: Timeless, Magnetic, Wooden Toys by huzi — Kickstarter

No blinking lights. No complicated electronics. No forgettable plastic toys that end up in garbage dumps.

Instead, we set out with the ambition to create toys loaded with meaning like imagination and simplicity. Toys that are long-lasting in both meaning and quality, so beautiful that kids and grownups will want to keep forever. Classic toys, reinvented. Simple values, restored.

Dave Scott’s watch worn on the Moon sells for $1,625,000

I posted here earlier that the watch worn by astronaut Dave Scott on the lunar surface was up for auction. The auction resulted in a record setting price for an astronaut memorabilia item: RR Auction: Past Auction Item – Item 9001 – Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Chronograph –

Minimum Bid: $50,000.00
Sold Price: $1,625,000.00


Robert Pearlman says the buyer’s identity was not revealed: Astronaut’s watch worn on the moon sells for record $1.6 million – collectSPACE

The Bulova timepiece, which Apollo 15 commander David Scott wore during NASA’s fourth successful lunar landing mission in 1971, was sold by RR Auction of Boston for an astronomical $1,625,000 to businessman from Florida who wished to remain anonymous. The sale, which opened at $50,000 online on Oct. 15, ended Thursday evening during a live auction where the winner and his competing bidders participated by phone.

Scott, who also called in, listened as his very-well-traveled watch soared in a span of just five minutes from $475,000 to the hammer of $1.3 million (the $1.625 million includes the buyer’s premium charged by the auction house).

This substantially beats the previous record for an astronaut item sale:

The previous record was for a cuff checklist used by Charles Conrad, the third man to walk on the moon, which reportedly sold for $1.3 million to a private buyer in 2001.

Only Russian spacecraft have gotten higher prices in auctions of Moon Race era items.

Pearlman points to another Apollo timepiece that will be going up for auction later this year: Omega Speedmaster 50 – Christie’s.

However, this watch, owned by Ron Evans of the Apollo 17 mission, stayed in orbit in the command module and did not go down to the lunar surface.


Here is a statement from RR Auctions about this auction:

Dave Scott’s Apollo 15 watch sold for $1.6M at auction
Only privately owned watch worn on the Moon

BOSTON, MA – (October, 23 15) Dave Scott’s Apollo 15 lunar surface-worn chronograph watch sold for $1,625,000 according to Boston-based RR Auction.

Of the dozen men that have stepped foot on the moon, all wore the standard Omega Speedmasters. Officially issued by NASA, those Omegas are acknowledged as government property; many, including Dave Scott’s used during his first two moonwalks, are housed in institutions.

This leaves Commander Scott’s Bulova Chronograph as the singular lunar surface-worn watch in private hands.

After the second moonwalk, Scott noticed that the crystal of his Omega had popped off when he returned to the cabin, therefore he needed to call upon his own personal backup watch, the Bulova watch.

The Bulova Wrist Chronograph was worn during his third and final moonwalk of the mission.  As Commander Scott stepped onto the moon for his final lunar excursion, he wore this watch. When he saluted the American flag against the background of the majestic expanse of Hadley Delta, this watch adorned his left wrist.

“Among the decisions I made, the monitoring of time was perhaps most important,” Commander Dave Scott stated in a detailed five-page letter that accompanied the sale.

Apollo 15’s third lunar excursion—lasting 4 hours, 49 minutes, 50 seconds—was perhaps the most reliant on time expenditures, as Dave Scott and Jim Irwin conscientiously balanced their resources before departure, and eventual journey home. The watch, exhibits significant wear from exposure while on the Moon, and from splashdown and recovery.

“We are extremely pleased with the results and honored to have been able to offer such an historically important timepiece—the only American-made watch that was worn on the surface of the Moon,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

Highlights from the sale include, but are not limited by:

  • Gordon Cooper’s Mercury 9 Flight Plan Roller, sold for $89,775.
  • Apollo 16 Flown Cover, sold for $76,772.
  • Dave Scott’s Apollo 15 Lunar Surface-Used Rover map, sold for $37,485.
  • Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 ‘Type 2’ Flown Cover, sold for $36,111.

Online bidding for The Space and Aviation Autograph from RR Auction began on October 15 and concluded on October 22. At 7:00 pm ET, a single lot live auction of Dave Scott’s watch took place at RR Auction’s Boston Gallery. More details, including results can be found online at