Neil Armstrong’s keepsakes in Nov. 1-3 Heritage auction
By Michael Baadke
Collectible items from the family of Neil Armstrong, who nearly 50 years ago became the first man to step onto the moon’s surface, are being offered Nov. 1-3 by Heritage Auctions.
The three-day sale called the Space Exploration Signature Auction Featuring The Armstrong Family Collection Part I will take place at the Heritage Auctions Design District Showroom, 1518 Slocum St., in Dallas, Texas.
Approximately 90 of the 1,269 items on offer are directly philatelic, including numerous autographed first-day covers, crew-signed flown covers, signed blocks of stamps and souvenir sheets, and even a 1943 edition of the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.
Items from the Armstrong family are clearly marked and described, as are the items in the auction that came from other sources.
A few of the covers are signed by the three astronauts from the Apollo 11 crew that flew the historic moon mission: mission commander Armstrong; pilot Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon; and command module pilot Michael Collins,
Among these is a color-cacheted cover signed by all three with a notation in Armstrong’s hand, “Carried to the Moon on Apollo 11,” and numbered “NA-28.” The cover is franked with the 1968 6¢ Flag and White House stamp with top margin selvage (Scott 1338) and struck with an Aug. 11, 1969, Webster, Texas, cancel and quarantine marking.
The cachet is the round Apollo 11 eagle landing insignia.
“Apollo 11 splashed down on Earth on July 24 at which point, the equipment, and astronauts from the spacecraft were quarantined,” Heritage Auctions explained. “As soon as this cover was released, it was taken to the nearest post office for cancellation.”
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The cover is described as the first Type Three cover Heritage has offered, noted for its rarity.
This cover and others from the Armstrong family are sealed in a numbered archival sleeve. The item is offered with a statement of provenance signed by Armstrong’s sons, Rick and Mark.
Three weeks before the live auction date, the cover was carrying a current bid of $37,000.
A 1962 cacheted FDC for the 4¢ Project Mercury stamp (Scott 1193) is also offered in this sale, signed by the man whose space flight is celebrated by the stamp: Lt. Col. John H. Glenn Jr.
The signature in full reads “Best regards to the Armstrongs / John Glenn.”
The Art Craft cover shows images of Glenn in his space suit, the Atlas rocket at liftoff, and Earth with the Mercury capsule in orbit.
“A real treasure — signed by the first American to orbit the Earth, to the first man to step on the moon,” Heritage noted.
This cover is also sealed in an archival holder, and is listed with a $1,000 opening bid.
Several items from the collection of Robert T. Sakowitz are offered, including a plate block of six of the 1969 6¢ Apollo 8 commemorative (Scott 1371) signed in the selvage by Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. Armstrong’s signature jumps the perforations and extends onto the lower left stamp.
The opening bid on this item is $2,000.
Other objects in the sale range from a flight suit and a Navy helmet to medallions, silver dollars and other coins, wing fabric from the Wright Flyer and much more.
The entire auction can be viewed at https://historical.ha.com or www.ha.com, with online bidding options available.
For additional information contact Heritage Auctions, 3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219-3941.
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