"Ten, nine, ignition sequence start, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero. All engines running. Lift off; we have a lift off, 32 minutes past the hour. Lift off on Apollo 11."
That’s how it all started on July 16, 1969 as Apollo 11 took off from Kennedy Space Center headed for the moon. Four days later, it was an uneasy atmosphere in Mission Control as the spacecraft neared its destination. NASA scientists were confident they could get Apollo 11 to the moon, but landing it was a whole different story. If the spacecraft tipped over during landing, the crew would be stranded, unable to return home.
Their fears were silenced on July 20 as the spacecraft safely touched down. Commander Neil Armstrong climbed out and down the ladder. He was standing on the moon. “I thought that when I step off it's just going to be a little step, you'll step from there, down to there,” Armstrong said. “But then I thought about all those 400,000 people that had given me the opportunity to make that step and thought it's gonna be a big something for all those folks, and indeed for a lot of others that weren't even involved in the project.”
All over the world, a sense of triumph filled people. If landing on the moon was possible, anyone could reach the stars. Everything was possible. Collecting space memorabilia is as close as most people will ever get to the moon. It’s also their chance to own a piece of American space history. Baby-boomers who grew up with the moon landing are big collectors. The field includes everything from astronaut autographs to stamps, photos and pieces of real space hardware. Tens of thousands of NASA-licensed objects sell at space center and museum gift shops, like limited edition coins or photographs, many for under a hundred dollars.
On March 18, Swann Galleries, New York, held their fourth Space Exploration auction. They featured artifacts, emblems, medallions, books, charts and maps, postal covers, photographs, equipment, posters and more. Among the most desirable lots in the auction were flown items that were the property of astronauts. This included Apollo 11 artifacts from the Buzz Aldrin collection. An official 8 inch by 10 inch color photograph of the crew in space suits signed and inscribed by Armstrong sold for $5,750.
NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archive – April 20, 2006 . . . .
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