Buzz Aldrin's Apollo 11 jacket could fetch $2M at auction
Aldrin said the collection is a 'summation of his career' as an astronaut
Legendary NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin's personal collection is set to be auctioned off at Sotheby's later this month, including the jacket the Lunar Module pilot wore during the Apollo 11 mission to the moon and back.
The "Inflight Coverall Jacket," serial number 1039, has an estimated value of between $1 million and $2 million.
It is the only flown garment from the Apollo 11 mission available for private ownership.
Both Inflight Coverall Jackets belonging to Mission Commander Neil Armstrong and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins are housed at the Smithsonian Institution, along with all three crew members’ A7L pressure suits.
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In a release, Sotheby's said that the practical elements of the jacket – including reinforced holes in the upper torso – can be seen clearly.
In addition, his name "E. Aldrin" – or Edwin Aldrin – is also clearly printed above the Apollo 11 mission emblem, with an American flag on the left shoulder.
The NASA "meatball" logo is on the right lapel.
"Until the tragic Apollo 1 fire in 1967, spacesuits and inflight gear were crafted from highly flammable materials, such as nylon. The fire triggered a review of the suit and inflight garments’ design, which resulted in modifications including the development of a new, fire-proof material known as Beta Cloth, a novel technology which was both fire-resistant, and tough enough to help protect the astronauts from micrometeroid blasts while outside the spacecraft," the auction house said in a release.
Other highlights of the sale include the fabled broken circuit breaker switch that could have ended the lives of the Apollo 11 crew by stranding them in space, along with the felt tip pen Aldrin used to ignite the engine in place of the broken switch, thereby saving the crew’s lives and allowing them to complete the mission.
Until now, the circuit breaker switch and pen have been on loan from Aldrin at various museums.
The switch and pen also have an estimated value of up to $2 million.
The items, Sotheby's says, are among the most significant and valuable space exploration artifacts ever offered at auction.
The sale also includes the Apollo 11 LM Systems Activation Checklist, which was flown to the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission and meant to be discarded there, as well as Aldrin's "Go Army Beat Navy" banner unveiled during his Gemini XII spacewalks in 1966.
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The "Original Moonman" MTV VMA Statuette Presented to Aldrin in 1984 is also listed.
"This collection is a summation of my career as an astronaut, from my studies at West Point, to my first EVA during Gemini XII, to humankind’s first lunar landing on Apollo 11 where we planted the American flag and a bit beyond," Aldrin said in a statement. "After deep consideration, the time felt right to share these items with the world, which for many are symbols of a historical moment, but for me have always remained personal mementos of a life dedicated to science and exploration. From the jacket that I wore on my trip to the Moon and back, to the famous broken circuit breaker switch that nearly ended our lives, and the pen that saved us, to various artifacts we used to complete the mission, I hope that this collection offers some insight into what it has been like to be Buzz Aldrin."
Select lots from the sale will be accompanied by a MIRAImage NFT, a unique digital identifier linked to its physical object using novel microscopic 3D scanning technology and advanced mathematical techniques that extract the object's identifying "DNA."
This sale marks the first time that MIRA technology will be applied to objects sold at an auction.
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Wednesday marks the 53rd anniversary of the July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 mission, when Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon.
Sotheby’s will present "Buzz Aldrin: American Icon," a highlight of Sotheby's Geek Week, on July 26.
A free pre-sale exhibition opens Thursday at the Sotheby's galleries on York Avenue in New York City.