DALLAS – Selections from the personal collection of Apollo-era astronaut Alan Bean, the Apollo 12 Mission lunar module pilot, form the centerpiece of Heritage Auctions’ May 14 Space Signature® Auction. The Collection features Bean’s own lunar surface-used personal life support system (PLSS) strap, which he wore for nearly eight hours on the moon in 1969, and still bears traces of moon dust.
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Also offered from Bean’s collection are two more key artifacts that were with him on the moon’s surface for several hours during his moon walk: his Apollo 12 lunar module flown and surface-used scissors with lanyard and snap and his Apollo 12 lunar module flown and surface-used Fisher AG-7 space pen.
“All three of these lots are simply stellar exemples of the rarest, most desirable and most evocative types of space memorabilia available,” said Howard Weinberger, consultant on space exploration memorabilia at Heritage Auctions. “When it comes to collecting this material, pieces that have been on the lunar surface, with an astronaut, are by far the most highly sought after and significant. Most importantly, it absolutely has to come straight from an astronaut, with a full letter of provenance, and this has all of that and more.”
The property in Bean’s collection to be sold on May 14 has never before appeared at public auction, all of it having resided with him and his family since 1969.
“Beyond the trio of lunar-surface material that tops this auction,” said Weinberger, “there are several other very key artifacts being offered that were either in the lunar module on the moon’s surface or that flew in the command module from the earth to the moon. At every level of this material there is something spectacular and notable in terms of America’s lunar program.”
Among the most sought-after pieces will be Bean’s Apollo 12 flown command module to lunar module electrical power “umbilical” cable, which was connected while on the way to the moon to supply power to the lunar module Intrepid from the command module and was disconnected from and stowed aboard the command module Yankee Clipper when it was time to undock the lunar module and begin descent toward the Ocean of Storms.
Another prized lot: an Apollo 12 flown stainless steel interval timer, a rare and important piece of equipment used in the command module to and from the moon. Bean used this timer “when (he) stirred the cryogenic tanks, performed urine dumps, and other on-board procedures where accurate time intervals were needed.”
“This is a six-minute mechanical timer with a switch that, when in the “X 10” mode, makes it a one-hour timer,” said Weinberger. “This is the first such piece that Heritage has offered and an extraordinary piece of space memorabilia.”
An Apollo 12 lunar module flown Beta Cloth temporary stowage bag, a uniquely designed storage bag that was used in the lunar module, is also going to be hotly contested in the auction. According to Bean’s writing on the bag itself, “This stowage bag, serial number 0015, was mounted in front of me at waist height and I used it to stow, temporarily, my check lists, food items and other articles I used in our Lunar Module Intrepid during landing, our stay on the lunar surface, and our ascent from the moon.”
Bean’s personal Apollo 12 flown custom-fitted and molded orange communications earpiece, which was attached to the internal communications system on the command module is a special lot that figured in many of the most important moments of the mission, and was specially made for extra comfort on the long journey, while an Apollo 12 flown mirror, with rounded corners, with a swivel mounting post on the back with printed Part Numbers should prove equally as interesting to collectors. The Apollo 12 stowage list shows a mirror with this part number as being stowed in the right-hand side storage compartment of the lunar module, both at Earth launch and lunar launch (pages 49 and 75), and possibly flown in the lunar module.
Further highlights of Bean’s collection include:
– Spacecraft ID plate from Apollo 12’s command module Yankee Clipper engraved as follows: APOLLO XII/SPACECRAFT -108/PART NO. V36-000002-21/CDR. CHARLES CONRAD USN/CDR. RICHARD F. GORDON Jr. USN/CDR. ALAN L BEAN USN/LAUNCH DATE 11-14-69. This is the flown Rockwell ID plate removed from the Apollo 12 Command Module Yankee Clipper (Spacecraft #8) and presented to Bean.
– Apollo 12 lunar module flown spacecraft identification plate, signed by Bean in black felt tip, as follows: “This ID plate was flown aboard our Lunar Module (LM-6) Intrepid to the lunar surface on the Ocean of Storms November 19, 1969. It remained on the moon until Pete Conrad and I lifted off on November 20th to rendezvous with Dick Gordon 60 miles above. Alan Bean Apollo 12 LMP.”
– Apollo 12 lunar module flown right angle 16mm camera bracket, which was flown to the Ocean of Storms on the mission and held the camera that took many of the most distinct and memorable lunar surface photos of the entire mission.
– Apollo 12 lunar module flown LM “charm” on unflown tie clasp, a diminutive but highly detailed metal representation of the lunar module, which actually flew in the second LM to land on the moon, mounted to a silver-colored tie clasp with an engraved “APOLLO XII” across its length.
– Apollo 12 lunar module flown pair of sterling cross cufflinks.
– Apollo 12 flown largest-size American flag flown in the command module.
– Apollo 12 flown large-size American flag flown in the command module.
– Apollo 12 Flown embroidered American flag with a gold border around it, flown in the Command Module.
– Apollo 12 flown silver Robbins medallion, serial number 113, one of 262 flown to the moon aboard the mission.
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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE