Bonhams: The Space History Sale

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Bonhams: The Space History Sale

Postby icarusinbound on March 30th, 2014, 1:39 pm

See http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/?department=SPA&utm_source=airspace&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=21425sts

On 8th April, the world-famous auction house Bonhams is holding a sale of a huge range of Apollo items. It is an astounding collection by any definition, regardless of what your belief-set happens to be.

I strongly recommend all forum members to have a look at the link above: or, if your pockets are deep enough, and your diary is light for the week after next, why not go along and bid in person? But be careful: at any future ultimate reckoning of truth, some of these items may soar in value, whereas most may be seen just for what they are not.

The sheer huge quantity of souvenirs and signed keepsakes is incredible.

An ostensible reason for this is given at http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/lot/214/

Lot 214
APOLLO 11 CREW SIGNED POSTAL COVER - LIFE INSURANCE FOR THE FAMILIES.
ONE OF THE FEW INSURANCE COVERS THAT BEAR MICHAEL COLLINS SIGNATURE IN BLACK INK.
US$ 8,000 - 12,000
£4,800 - 7,200 wrote:
'Since we were unable to obtain adequate life insurance cover due to the high risk nature of being an astronaut, we signed this group of covers and evenly distributed them to our families for safe keeping while we performed our mission. If an unfortunate event prevented our safe return, the covers would have provided a limited financial means of support to our families'


Perhaps the 'Grissom Factor' (ie the apparently-higher chances of astronauts dying on the Earth under curious circumstances) meant this insurance did have a real-world currency?

So saying, I find it most unlikely (within the conventional paradigm) that NASA would have happily allowed so many items of equipment and documents to have been just taken away by the crew members (assuming that this trophy hunting was painted as being allowed in the first place). Unless it was some level of validation via 'undeniable' physical evidence?

Whilst the provenance of all/any of this stuff may be subject to debate (I mean totally aside from the obvious 'did they go?' angle), assuming that this material has really been sitting in people's basements for 40-odd years and isn't a pile of retro-historical forgery, it's got piles of fascinating insights within it.

I'm reminded of Anglo-catholic relics, the finger-bones of saints and shards of the True Cross. At http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/lot/216/ we see Lot 216 "ALDRIN'S FLOWN APOLLO 11 COMMAND MODULE SKIN SEGMENT"...a tiny square of mylar for just 900 of your earth US dollars.

There is an (interesting term) "UN FLOWN SPACE TREATY" at http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/lot/217/ for serving upon any Lunar Nazis demanding of papers (not smallpox-ridden blankets, so progress had been made)

At http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/lot/222/ we see a cryptic comment scrawled (by Buzz?) in the margin of an A11 LM foot-shoot (massive lander pad and tiny Armstrong)
'TO WALT PENNINO- YOUR "ADVANCES" IN SUPPORT OF, AND YOUR HELP IN CRUNCHES ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED. LONG WE HAVE TOURED. LONG MAY WE TOUR. THE APOLLO 11 CREW'


Items such as Lot 236 "KEY STEPS FOR A LUNAR LANDING - SIGNED APOLLO 11 TRAJECTORY CHART" http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/lot/236/ may not give any new information nor make the tale any taller, but they are rather audacious.

The most common signature appears to be Aldrin's, throughout.

Perhaps I over-interpet the curious language of Lot 239 "CBS TELEVISION COVERS THE FIRST LUNAR LANDING.
Byrne, James, ed., and the staff at CBS News". http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/lot/239/ where it states "The historic conquest of the moon as reported to the American people by CBS News over the CBS Television Nework". Be sure to click on the cover page, there's lots of transcript samples, tv screen-shots.

Be warned about clicking on this link, as it gives an insanely high-res image of one of only three castings taken on the moon of Buzz Aldrin's bootprint http://images2.bonhams.com/image?src=Images/live/2014-02/10/8897381-1-1.jpg. Yours for only $30000 (see http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/lot/240/)

Lot 241 "CONRAD'S LUNAR MODULE STOWAGE STRAP EMBEDDED WITH LUNAR DUST. OVER 31 HOURS ON THE LUNAR SURFACE. US$ 25,000 - 35,000 £15,000 - 21,000" http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/lot/241/ has an accreditation slip indicating that the item was noted on page 63 of the Apollo 12 stowage list (how did they have any space left for spacemen on these rocket-powered memorabilia carts?).

The shot at http://images2.bonhams.com/image?src=Images/live/2014-02/20/8918321-127-4.jpg of Collins descending backwards to the surface is a new one, for me. See http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/lot/245/. Lack of graticules, so is this a non-Hassleblad shot?

One of my favourites has got to be the space suit schematic http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21425/lot/252/...there's such a lot of detail to dissect.

Note throughout the use of the recorded past-tense "Houston, we've had a problem" (apparently we've been Hanksified by Hollywood...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_13 references the misquote. But, scripts are only a guide, for any action-packed movie).

Attested oxygen hose fragments, signed flags, initialled operating procedures, chewing gum (or Lot 276 FLOWN APOLLO 15 ROBBINS MEDALLION SET IN A MULTI-DIAMOND PENDANT. ONE OF ONLY 127 CARRIED ON THE MISSION), the auction list is just utterly astounding.

Please have a dig. And surely one of these 296 items will catch your eye. Shall we bid?
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Re: Bonhams: The Space History Sale

Postby hoi.polloi on March 30th, 2014, 2:48 pm

I think you have hit the nail on the head with this hunch of yours:

I'm reminded of Anglo-catholic relics, the finger-bones of saints and shards of the True Cross.


There is an intriguing amount of stuff, much of it fascinating in detail. But, it is as if a creaky old paradigm of 'sublimation' and bodily tissue connection to the big questions has been substituted by a collective obsession with a passive, smirking, white lab-coat priesthood. The dried crust of blood of whomever (or whatever) hailed as a triumphant sacrifice to the One True God (sponsored by the church) has been swapped for a rusty flaking metal bucket of unobtainium in service of the One True Truth (sponsored by NASA).

It has probably been the same culture of hidden hucksterism that's funded either and sundry throughout history.
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