A bonanza for space fans as Neil Armstrong memorabilia hits auction

Thousands of items owned by astronaut Neil Armstrong are set to go under the hammer this week, giving space ...

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 10:24 AM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 10:24 AM

Thousands of items owned by astronaut Neil Armstrong are set to go under the hammer this week, giving space fans the chance to own a piece of history.

Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 lunar mission in 1969, and he amassed a remarkable collection of memorabilia before his death in 2012.

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Armstrong's collection is being sold by his children, who donated many historic objects to the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, as well as the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, where the astronaut was born.

More than 2,000 remaining pieces will be auctioned off.

"He just kept everything. He didn't throw things away," Armstrong's son Rick told AFP.

One of the most sought-after items is likely to be a US flag that traveled on board Apollo 11 during the lunar mission, which is estimated to fetch $75,000. A spacecraft identification plate from the Eagle lunar module is expected to sell for a similar sum, while personal items such as a Boy Scout cap should be more affordable to smaller collectors.

The sale is being organized by Heritage Auctions in Dallas, with bidding starting Thursday and ending on Friday evening. An internet-only session is also planned for Saturday.

At least two more auctions will take place in 2019 to mark 50 years since the Apollo 11 mission.

"He did keep all the things that were flown on Apollo 11. He kept them all together," said Mark, the astronaut's younger son, in an interview with AFP. "It was fortunate because it made it easier for us to identify those items."

The brothers have pledged to set up a foundation following the auction, and they will also donate a percentage of the proceeds to various organizations including the Astronauts Memorial Foundation and the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

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