American Space Museum plans out-of-this-world auction, June 25

Apollo 11 crew-signed Type 2 insurance cover from the personal collection of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, est. $6,500-$9,500

Apollo 11 crew-signed Type 2 insurance cover from the personal collection of Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, est. $6,500-$9,500

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – American Space Museum (ASM) will present its Summer 2022 Space Memorabilia Auction, containing more than 400 lots, on Saturday, June 25. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

“This is the strongest auction we’ve had yet,” said ASM’s chief operating officer Chuck Jeffrey, who added, “There are three Apollo 11 crew-signed items, two Neil Armstrong autographs, a rocket motor and a real Mercury escape capsule and hundreds of items from space history.”

Rocketdyne S-3 rocket engine, est. $100,000-$150,000

Rocketdyne S-3 rocket engine, est. $100,000-$150,000

Expected top lots in this richly-stocked auction lineup include a Rocketdyne S-3 rocket engine, estimated at $100,000-$150,000. Used for testing by NASA in the late 1950s, it has been restored and was displayed for many years at the Lakeland Museum of Flight in Lakeland, Florida.

Mercury spacecraft launch escape rocket motor, est. $50,000-$70,000

Mercury spacecraft launch escape rocket motor, est. $50,000-$70,000

A second standout available in the June 25 sale is a Mercury spacecraft launch escape rocket motor, painted a jaunty shade of red and estimated at $50,000-$70,000. It was used in testing during the Little Joe Test Program. Its case shows damage from the impact from the ejection test and it still retains its original rocket nozzles.

Piece of an ablative heat shield from Gemini B, est. $700-$1,000

Piece of an ablative heat shield from Gemini B, est. $700-$1,000

Also of note is a piece of an ablative heat shield from the Gemini B spacecraft, estimated at $700-$1,000. Made from Lucite, it was part of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory Project that aimed to place an American armed space station in orbit.

Of course, the offerings include memorabilia such as NASA photographs and astronaut autographs from the Mercury program to the Space Shuttle era, with many Apollo astronaut-signed items mixed in. Eminently worthy of mention is a surprisingly handsome Apollo 11 crew-signed Type 2 insurance cover, which carries an estimate of $6,500-$9,500 and comes from the personal collection of Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins. Each signature, rendered in blue, marker-like ink, is described in the lot notes as being “crisp and clear.”

Set of dice reportedly flown to space by astronaut Gene Cernan on Apollo 17, est. $300-$500

Set of dice reportedly flown to space by astronaut Gene Cernan on Apollo 17, est. $300-$500

Launch access badges, manuals, patches, buttons and other space-related ephemera is also featured, most notably a pair of dice that Gene Cernan reportedly carried into space on the Apollo 17 mission and subsequently gave to his friend Al Bishop. The dice, which are red with white spots, are both emblazoned with the words “Las Vegas Nevada.” In addition, one is engraved with the words “Al Bishop” and the other with the phrase “Apollo 17.” The dice are estimated at $300-$500.

ASM conducts four or five charity auctions a year, which serve as an important source of the nonprofit’s operating funds. Museum items are not sold; all lots come from consignors or donations to support ASM, and which are not needed in the space history collection.

 

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