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 www.rrauction.com.