Apollo 13 burn notes top Bonhams Space History Auction in New York

25 Mar 2013, The Space History Sale including Aviation
The Space History Sale including Aviation

NEW YORK — Extensively annotated burn notes from Apollo 13 realized $84,100 at Bonhams March 25 Space History auction in New York. The single typed sheet, which contains some of the most important procedures that allowed the astronauts to return safely to Earth, also included thorough notes written by astronaut James Lovell in red ink during the harrowing mission. The document was signed at a later date in black ink by fellow Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise, who also wrote the accompanying letter of provenance.

"The Apollo 13 mission will never be forgotten and these burn notes are the tangible evidence of the incredible bravery of these astronauts. Bonhams is excited to be the leader in this important collecting field," said Matthew Haley, Bonhams Space History Specialist.

Documents from Apollo 11 also impressed bidders, including an Apollo 11 Command and Service Module maneuver card selling for $64,900 and a postal cover taken to the moon during the mission which achieved $35,000. An Apollo 11 activation checklist carried to the lunar surface realized $25,000.

From the aviation history section of the sale, a swatch of fabric from the Kitty Hawk Flyer sold for $33,750 – soaring past its pre-sale estimate of $3,500-4,500. Other lots that significantly outperformed their estimates included a very large Soviet model of the Soviet N1-L3 rocket which realized $27,500, more than double its pre-sale high estimate, and an Apollo 17 lunar surface checklist which sold for $28,750. The checklist was heavily soiled with lunar dust, allowing it to quadruple its pre-sale high estimate.

Bonhams next Space History sale will take place in New York in Spring 2014.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

Related auctions