“The Eagle has landed,” said Neil Armstrong as the Apollo 11’s avian-named lunar module was safely planted on the Moon’s surface on July 20th, 1969. Only six hours later, he would be the first man to step on the Moon; uttering the words we remember to this day. With him was the Eagle’s pilot Buzz Aldrin, Command module pilot Michael Collins back in orbit, and hundreds of items that helped them make the journey to the Earth’s only natural satellite.
Now, nearly 200 of these articles can be purchased at Christie’s auction ‘One Giant Leap: Celebrating Space Exploration’s 50 years on Apollo 11’ on July 18th, 2019.
Christie’s Head of Books & Manuscripts puts the excitement surrounding the sale into words: “It’s an absolute thrill to offer the chance for bidders to take home a piece of space exploration history, whether it is an object that has been to the Moon and back or the charts used to navigate there. These objects stand as witnesses to the early years of space exploration and to one of the most glorious adventures in human history.”
The pièce de résistance of the entire collection is the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Timeline Book. Essentially the flight journal of the ‘Eagle’, the book holds almost 150 notes and annotations by the astronauts that were hand-written while navigating the lunar module onto the Moon’s surface. The notes include the exact coordinates of the Eagle’s iconic landing site, called Tranquility Base, that make it the first-ever written material by a human being on a celestial body. The value of handwritten annotations such as these is even higher when you consider the digitised nature of all manned space missions that take place now. The book also holds priceless traces of moon dust, while the book itself is estimated to be sold for seven to nine million dollars.
Other items that will be exhibited and put on auction are a Large United States Flag Flown Aboard Apollo 10 estimated between $25,000 and $35,000, a Camera Lens and Dust Brush Used on the Lunar Surface During the Apollo 14 Mission, which will be for anywhere between $125,000 and $175,000, a detailed Large Lunar Landscape Planning Chart Dating from May 1971 estimated to be between $40,000 and $60,000, and a Signed photograph of Buzz Aldrin taken by Neil Armstrong for $7,000 to $9,000.
Remarkable rocks from the lunar surface, as part of ‘The Moon and Beyond: Meteorites From The Stifler Collection’, will also be open for bidding online from July 11th to July 26th.