The Legacy of the Ever-Appreciating Value of Flight-Flown Items
The Apollo astronauts had to pack light as they made their way up to the moon at 18,000 miles per hour in their various journeys through space history.
Thus, mementos from their epic journey had to be paper thin and feather-light. As there were stringent volume and weight limits for the astronauts’ Personal Preference Kits that they carried with them on flights, small American flags became mementos marking the journey in a lightweight way.
In our upcoming auction, we have an incredible collection of 16 items from various Apollo missions, many, space flown.
With provenance from the daughter of Ronald Swim, who worked for North American Aviation, later incorporated into Rockwell International during the Apollo missions, the company which built the Apollo Command/Service module, one of two spacecrafts, the second being the Lunar Module, used for the Apollo program.
“My Dad worked closely with the astronauts,” said Dr. Susan Swim. “Astronauts would fly things of close friends to the moon.” The flags were flown on various Apollo missions and were gifted to her father, who was in the mission control room during many of the Apollo launches, including the historic Apollo 13 mission, which proved a near-miss. He became good friends with many of the Apollo astronauts.
Here is a run-down of some of the rarest items to come up for auction:
Apollo 11 Space-Flown Flag — Affixed to a NASA Certificate Signed by Each of the Apollo 11 Crew Members: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins & Buzz Aldrin — Very Scarce
A similar flag sold at RR Auction for $47,652.00.
The printed 4″ x 6″ fabric flag accompanied the astronauts on Apollo 11 in their successful landing on the moon that historic 20 July 1969 day.
Apollo 17 Robbins Medal, Serial Number 168
Apollo 13 American Flag Space-Flown — Affixed to an Official NASA Certificate Signed By Each Astronaut — “This flag was on board Apollo XIII during its flight and Emergency Return to Earth.”
Apollo 8 Space-Flown Flag With COA Signed by Frank Borman and Jim Lovell
Apollo 12 Space-Flown American Flag — Mounted to COA, Signed by the Entire Crew
Apollo 14 Space-Flown Flag & COA Signed by the Crew
Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin Signed 12″ x 16″ Apollo 11 Art Display
Also up for auction: A Space-Flown Apollo 12 Robbins Medal — Serial Number 91 , A Space-Flown Apollo 10 Robbins Medal, Serial Number 205, A Skylab II Robbins Medal, two Patches From Apollo 1 , and various other space-flown flags from the Apollo missions.
This NPR story describes the continuing appreciating value of the flags and covers, as Collect Spacefounder Robert Pearlman describes: “About five years ago, you could buy an American flag that flew on the first space shuttle mission — of which there were 10,000 onboard — for about $500,” explains Pearlman. “Today, you’re lucky if you can find it for less than $1,000.”
Check out some of our prices for various NASA-related items from previous auctions under the “prices realized” tab of our website.