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Rose Mary
By Rosemary McKittrick
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Color Photograph; crew in space suits; official NASA; signed and inscribed by Armstrong; 8 inches by 10 inches; $5,750. Photo courtesy of Swann Galleries.
"Ten, nine, ignition sequence start, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero. All engines running. Lift off; we have a lift off, 32 minutes past the hour. Lift off on Apollo 11."

That’s how it all started on July 16, 1969 as Apollo 11 took off from Kennedy Space Center headed for the moon. Four days later, it was an uneasy atmosphere in Mission Control as the spacecraft neared its destination.

NASA scientists were confident they could get Apollo 11 to the moon, but landing it was a whole different story. If the spacecraft tipped over during landing, the crew would be stranded, unable to return home.

Their fears were silenced on July 20 as the spacecraft safely touched down on the moon. Commander Neil Armstrong climbed out and down the ladder.

As he reached the last rung he paused and spoke those historical words: "That’s one small step for (a) man," then he paused again, and stepped off the bottom rung into a sea of cosmic dust: "one giant leap for mankind," he added.

A camera aboard the lunar module captured everything. The world was right there with him as the first human set foot on the moon.

“I thought that when I step off it's just going to be a little step, you'll step from there, down to there,” Armstrong said. “But then I thought about all those 400,000 people that had given me the opportunity to make that step and thought it's gonna be a big something for all those folks, and indeed for a lot of others that weren't even involved in the project.”

Buzz Aldrin was the next astronaut out of the hatch. "Be sure not to lock it on my way out," he said.

On the surface, Armstrong added, "Isn't that something?” “Magnificent sight out here," Aldrin replied.

These two men were the ultimate explorers on the ride of a lifetime.

All over the world, a sense of triumph filled people. If landing on the moon was possible, anyone could reach the stars. Everything was possible.

When you have a historically important event like this, it’s obvious the objects surrounding it are going to be collectible.

The bottom line is, if it’s flown in space, it’s desirable.

Collecting space memorabilia is as close as most people will ever get to the moon. It’s also their chance to own a piece of American space history. Baby-boomers who grew up with the moon landing are big collectors.

The field includes everything from astronaut autographs to stamps, photos and pieces of real space hardware. Tens of thousands of NASA-licensed objects sell at space center and museum gift shops, like limited edition coins or photographs, many for under a hundred dollars.

On March 18, Swann Galleries, New York, held their fourth Space Exploration auction. They featured artifacts, emblems, medallions, books, charts and maps, postal covers, photographs, equipment, posters and more.

Among the most desirable lots in the auction were flown items that were the property of astronauts. This included Apollo 11 artifacts from the Buzz Aldrin collection.

Here are some current values.

Apollo 11 Space Memorabilia

Color Photograph; Buzz Aldrin on the moon; taken by Armstrong and signed and inscribed by him; 8 inches by 10 inches; $2,990.

Crew Emblem; with signatures and flown segment of Mylar skin; 8 inches by 8 inches; $4,370.

Color Photograph; crew in space suits; official NASA; signed and inscribed by Armstrong; 8 inches by 10 inches; $5,750.

U.S. Flag; flown; inscribed by Michael Collins; 4 inches by 6 inches; $10,350.

Navigational Chart; Flown, descent path to moon; photographic film section chart; 8 1/2 inches by 10 1/2 inches; $32,200.

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