New York (April 9, 2014) – Bonhams' Space History sale thrilled collectors and captured the imagination of the public on April 8, igniting new interest in space exploration. The sale featured hundreds of fascinating artefacts related to decades of international space exploration, including genuine spacesuits, critical flight items from the famed Apollo 11 mission, lunar-flown American flags, rare photographs and astronauts' personal effects.
Worldwide pre-sale attention led nearly 300 bidders from 17 countries on four continents to participate in the auction. Bidding wars repeatedly erupted between the determined attendees at the Madison Avenue gallery, and the international interest coming through live online and via the telephones. The sale totaled a cool $1 million.
"When I was a little girl, my dream was to become an astronaut, so this auction was a special thrill for me," said Cassandra Hatton, Senior Space Specialist at Bonhams. "Space exploration interests people globally, of all ages and all walks of life. It's very rewarding to organise a sale in such an inclusive collecting field."
Items related to Apollo 11 proved to be the most popular. The sale's top lot was an Apollo 11 checklist sheet with extensive notations made by Buzz Aldrin while on the moon. The sheet, which contained critical data, flew past its estimate to reach $68,750. Also from Apollo 11, a 6-inch cloth emblem depicting an eagle landing on the moon sold for $62,500. The emblem was exactly like the one worn on all the astronauts' space suits during the mission. Although this particular emblem was not worn, it did travel with the crew during the mission and was signed by all the astronauts aboard – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. A United States flag carried by Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 doubled its pre-sale estimate to reach $47,500.
Additional stellar highlights included a Mercury era spacesuit that sold for five times its presale estimate, eventually selling for $43,750 after a lengthy bidding war. The iconic silver suit dates from the U.S.' very first foray into space exploration, dubbed the Mercury Project, and the creation of NASA.
Bonhams next Space History sale will take place in the spring of 2015 in New York.
For more information, please visit www.bonhams.com.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
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