DAVENPORT, Wash. – Grant Zahajko’s Oct. 1 online auction of NASA, space and aviation collectibles will be held October 1, starting at 9 a.m. PT/12 noon ET on LiveAuctioneers‘ bidding platform. The auction lineup is led by the outstanding lifetime collection of the late Bill Endicott plus a golf ball signed by America’s very first astronaut, Alan Shepard.
The Bill Endicott collection is a trove of NASA photographs and films that date as far back as 1961 when, as a reporter, Endicott was assigned to cover America’s fledgling space program in Cape Canaveral, Florida. He met the first seven astronauts and interviewed many others, along with other distinguished men and women who served in the space program. Endicott died in 2018 at age 91.
Remarkably, the Endicott collection only came to light upon his passing, when his family discovered it amongst his possessions. The collection – a historical archive, chronicling the birth of America’s space program and quest to be the first to put a man on the moon – reflects the gravity of his love for “The Final Frontier.” It will be remembered as Endicott’s legacy to NASA.
“What’s exciting about this auction is that we have three separate estate collections of rare and unusual, fresh-to-the-market NASA, space and aviation collectibles in all price ranges,” said auctioneer Grant Zahajko. “Specifically, Mr. Endicott’s archive of NASA photos, films and slides give us a glimpse into the 1960s space programs and the astronauts.”
Zahajko added, “The auction includes many images that I’ve not seen previously and some rare autographed pieces, including a Neil Armstrong State of Texas Medal of Honor Ceremony program. And, of course, the first golf ball that Alan Shepard ever signed must be considered the prize lot of the catalog. This auction is a must-attend event for collectors of space memorabilia.”
With a pre-sale estimate of $4,000-$6,000, the Alan Shepard-signed golf ball is a prime candidate for top lot of the auction. It comes with impeccable provenance. Shepard signed it for the consignor – a former friend of the astronaut – when both were at the Vince Lombardi Open golf tournament in Wisconsin, Shepard as a celebrity golfer and she as a nightclub entertainer.
“I asked him if he would sign a golf ball, since he was, after all, the first person to hit a golf ball on the moon,” the woman recalled. “He’d never signed a golf ball before and said, ‘How am I supposed to write my name across all these dimples?’ I got a nail file and filed down an area on the ball. That’s where he signed it.” The ball comes with double provenance: a letter of authentication from Beckett Authentication Services and a testimonial provided by the seller.
Other items to watch include lot #11, a full sheet of Apollo 11 10-cent U.S. stamps (“First Man on the Moon”) signed by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins (est. $1,000-$2,000); and lot #8, a State of Texas Medal of Honor Presentation program from October 17, 1970, for the Apollo 11 astronauts, signed by Neil Armstrong (est. $2,000-$3,000). Both have Beckett LOAs.
The Bill Endicott trove features a NASA Gemini GTA-8 Master 16mm film, 14 inches in diameter, distributed for institutional, educational and/or news reporting organizations (est. $400-$600); and a group of six vintage 16mm film reels, all pertaining to NASA’s Apollo space program, some in color and some black-and-white, being offered as one lot (est. $100-$150).
The photographs in Mr. Endicott’s collection are plentiful and include the following:
- An original semi-glossy vintage original color photo on double-weight paper of Gemini 8 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Dave Scott, 8 inches by 10 inches (est. $100-$150).
- A group of four original glossy black-and-white photos on single-weight paper from the 1960s of NASA Gemini astronauts, in excellent condition (est. $100-$150).
- A NASA vintage original photograph Lunar Orbiter “first view of the Earth taken by a spacecraft”, glossy black-and-white on single-weight paper (est. $50-$150).
- A NASA vintage original photograph of the Saturn 1 SA-1 launch on October 27, 1961, “the first Saturn space vehicle launched”, glossy black-and-white (est. $50-$100).
- A NASA original 35mm color slide of an astronaut on the moon, measuring 2 inches by 2 inches, in fine condition (est. $40-$60). Other NASA slides are also in the auction.
Numerous lots pertaining to Neil Armstrong will come under the gavel, including a signed invitation to a September 1969 Homecoming (est. $500-$800). The 5½ inch by 4¼ inch invitation includes a letter from Armstrong’s mother, indicating her son had only signed “a few” of the invitations. Armstrong’s signature is nice and bold. It also comes with a Beckett LOA.
Other Neil Armstrong lots include a signed photograph of the astronaut, 5 inches by 7 inches (est. $400-$500); and a signed commemorative postal cover, postmarked April 13, 1966 (est. $300-$400). Also up for bid is a group of four vintage original NASA Gemini 8 black-and-white photographs, showing Neil Armstrong and David Scott, dated March 1966 (est. $80-$140).
Other noteworthy lots include a 5 inch by 7 inch photo signed by Buzz Aldrin, depicting the astronaut signing an autograph, the signature bold and the photo in excellent condition (est. $150-$200); and a pair of 1935 National Air Races (Cleveland) executive and committee badges, each one having a metal pin with silk ribbons, 4¼ inches from top to bottom (est. $100-$200).
The online auction will be available for absentee and live online bidding through LiveAuctioneers. For additional information on any item in the auction, call 509-725-5600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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