The vast personal collection of Neil Armstrong, who as the first man to walk on the moon changed the course of human history, will be presented in a series of auctions beginning November 1-2, 2018 by Heritage Auctions. The Armstrong Family Collection will offer never-before-seen artifacts from his momentous lunar landing to private mementos — including pieces of a wing and propeller from the 1903 Wright Brothers flight that Armstrong took with him to the moon, a gold pin from Gemini VIII, Armstrong’s first mission, and historic correspondence about the planning that went into the moon mission. The auctions will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission.
“There will be flown items, autographed items and items of historical significance,” son Mark Armstrong said. “There will be items that make you think, items that make you laugh and items that make you scratch your head.”
On July 20, 1969, a global audience glued to their TVs, as Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface with his now legendary words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The event marked a new era for humanity, and established the United States’ technological dominance and influence as a superpower.
“He was never about himself, so I would expect that he didn’t give much thought about how he would be remembered,” son Rick Armstrong said. “With that being said, I think he would be pleased to be remembered as being part of a program that demonstrated amazing things can be achieved when people come together to dedicate themselves towards a common goal.”
The Armstrong Family Collection is an extraordinary archive, chronicling the life and career of one of the most historic figures of the 20th century through the lens of the objects he loved, collected, and preserved for decades. Heritage Auctions has scheduled three auctions for the collection, the first time these personal items have been offered for sale: November 1-2, 2018; May 9-10, 2019; and November 2019.
Among the highlights of the 2,000+ items in the Armstrong Family Collection:
- Apollo 11 Robbins Medallions, including an extremely rare gold example, which were flown on the famous lunar landing mission. Minted by the Robbins Company, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, the sterling silver medallions were paid for by the crews and available for purchase only by NASA astronauts.
- Material from the Wright Brothers Flyer, the plane that accomplished the first successful manned flight in 1903. Armstrong carried fragments of the wing and propeller on Apollo 11.
- A Purdue University Centennial, 1869-1969, Silk Flag, flown on Apollo 11 and carried by Armstrong to the moon. Purdue was Armstrong’s beloved alma mater.
- Important Correspondence, including a truly unique and historical document underscoring the planning behind the landmark event. In a letter, a NASA public affairs official states to the Apollo program manager that he felt it should be left up to the astronauts to decide what to say when they walk on the surface of the moon.
- A gold pin flown on Gemini VIII, Armstrong’s first spaceflight. A damaged thruster almost cost Armstrong and his fellow crewmember their lives, but Armstrong expertly guided the spacecraft safely back to earth.
- Armstrong’s Boy Scouts Cap. Armstrong became an Eagle Scout—the organization’s highest rank—at the age of 17.
To prepare the collection for auction, the Armstrong family is collaborating with Collectibles Authentication Guaranty, a firm tasked with preserving and documenting the collection’s authenticity and provenance. The firm, a member of the Certified Collectibles Group, is working in conjunction with Heritage Auctions to ensure every item from the collection is photographed and cataloged so that, if needed, they can be referenced later for research or any other purpose.
“Neil Armstrong’s bravery and skill defines what it means to be an American hero,” said Todd Imhof, executive vice president at Heritage Auctions. “We are privileged to be working closely with the Armstrong family to honor Neil’s lifetime legacy with items reflective of all his achievements, not just his famous lunar landing. These are some of the most iconic historical items ever to be sold.”
The Armstrong Family Collection debuts at auction November 1-2, 2018 at Heritage Auctions.
All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.