How Would You Like to Own a Mercury Space Capsule?

The Space and Aviation Autograph and Artifact Auction is scheduled to take place from May 17 to May 23, 2012.


Amherst, N.H. -- RR Auction is pleased to announce its popular Space and Aviation Autograph and Artifact Auction, scheduled to take place from May 17th to May 23rd, 2012. The sale includes an amazing selection of early aviation items, including a stunning and exceedingly rare, handwritten letter by Wilbur Wright from 1910 to a student pilot discussing their “new machines” which “are much steadier in strong winds and easier to control than the older ones.” Seldom seen and in-demand aviation artifacts from World War II are also represented, with one-of-a-kind vintage patches, autographs, and an amazing assemblage of original fighter pilot flight jackets, including jackets from such famed aviators as James W. Ayers, Robert Cardenas, and Frank K. “Pete” Everest.

Other early aviation items include a remarkable and historically significant autographed note by Charles Lindbergh pleading with reporters the morning after his son’s kidnapping: “Due to the fact that our roads are blocked and communication made extremely difficult under present circumstances, I am asking that everyone leave our farm;” a huge, flown 32”x19.5” piece of glazed aircraft fabric, replete with a large Balkankreuz from one of the fighter aircraft of Manfred von Richthofen, the famous Red Baron himself; and a historic, 12”x8” American flag flown with the legendary Howard Hughes on his world-record breaking “Around the World Flight” in July of 1938.

While the selection of early aviation items is, indeed, impressive, some of the major highlights of this historic sale can be found within the hundreds of generously illustrated and accurately described and authenticated lots of rare space artifacts, autographs, and manuscripts.  Said Livingston: “With the U.S. no longer capable of sending a human being into space, there is a huge, global interest in acquiring vintage flown and training material from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs – arguable the golden age of U.S. manned space flight.”

Of particular note and interest are U.S. Naval Academy items directly from the Alan Shepard estate. Original items from Shepard, the first American into space, and a moonwalker and Commander on Apollo 14, are extremely rare and hard to come-by, especially with such impeccable provenance and from so early in his career. Items from the estate include Shepard’s United States Naval Academy Battalion Pass Book, signed a total of 38 times by Shepard; a large assortment of personal gear and clothing issued to and worn by Shepard while at the Naval Academy; a massive collection of approximately 52 letters and a telegrams sent to Shepard by female “love interests;” and Shepard’s personally-owned and worn Navy hat and jacket.

“Of course, space flown artifacts – whether actually used during the mission or part of an astronauts Personal Preference Kit, or PPK -- are the rarest and mostly highly prized of vintage-era artifacts,” said Livingston. This auction presents a generous number of moon flown flags, patches, and Robbins medallions across multiple missions – including a Robbins medallion from each of the fabled manned Apollo missions.

Some representative highlights from the hundreds of vintage space artifact lots include:

* A flown, 100+ page complete pilot’s log book from the Gemini 5 mission, with extensive in-flight writing and mission commentary from Gemini 5 pilot Pete Conrad.

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