Astronaut signed index cards are on the rise

With the steady rise of autograph prices for signed photos of many astronauts, some collectors are turning to less costly options such as signed cuts and index cards. When done right, cuts and cards assembled in a matted display can make for an impressive presentation.

Apollo 11 signature display

Apollo 11 signature display

I frequently get requests for authentication of cards and cuts, and often the client will also ask, “what’s a fair price?”

I am not a dealer, but I follow the market pretty closely, so I think I can provide an educated ballpark estimate. Based on my observations, here are some estimated fair market values for astronaut signed index cards. Obviously, price may vary widely based upon condition, selling venue, signature quality, etc. I believe cuts from books and other sources will generally sell for less than signed index cards.

Moonwalkers

  • Neil Armstrong - $1,000 - $1,400

  • John Young - $300

  • Buzz Aldrin / Harrison Schmitt - $250

  • Charles Conrad / Jim Irwin / Dave Scott / Alan Shepard (neat full name) - $150

  • Bean / Shepard (sloppy shortened signature) / Mitchell / Duke / Cernan - $100

Other select astronauts

  • Gus Grissom / Ed White - $400

  • Mercury 7 (other than Grissom and Shepard) - $75

  • Roger Chaffee - $600+

  • Mike Collins - $200

  • Bill Anders - $350

  • Christa McAuliffe - $400

How to remove nasty smells from collectibles

Nauseated.jpg

If you are an avid collector, chances are, this has happened to you...

You finally find an item you've been looking for a long time. You count the days until it arrives. When it is delivered, you open the package in glorious anticipation... and then... UGH... it reeks of cigarette smoke or some other musty smell.

If it is a common item, you can return it. But, what about tough-to-find items in otherwise good condition you don't want to return?

You may be tempted to "Febreeze" it or use some other product to mask or cover up the smell. These methods typically do not work well, and you risk staining the item when spraying it with any chemical.

The key is using baking soda because it doesn't doesn't mask odor; it absorbs odor. I have used this method to successfully remove undesirable smells from books, comics and baseballs.

  1. Dump a box of baking soda in the bottom of a Tupperware container big enough to hold the item. Avoid a container that is excessively large.
  2. Put a wire rack or something in the container to suspend the item above the baking soda.
  3. Place the item in the container and seal it tight.
  4. Give it a few weeks to a month and check the item. If there is still smell, replace the baking soda with a fresh supply and give it more time.

This method should work to remove most, if not all, of the nasty smell.

Good luck!

Not all astronaut Autopens are created equal

Apollo 17 Autopens.jpg

Would you believe that both Apollo 17 signed mats are the same Autopen patterns? Look at the variation in the G in Gene, the R in Ron and the E in Evans! I suspect the Autopen arm was bouncing around due to the bumpy surface of the mats.

There can be a great deal of variation in the same Autopen templates due to the armature vibration, the item being pushed through too quickly, the template wearing out, etc. Often, some people will claim an item is NOT an Autopen because there is a tiny variance from a published pattern, even though the remaining 98% of the signature is a total match. Don’t believe them!  

With practice and a sharp eye you can identify Autopens that vary from published patterns. If you are not sure, I can help!

12 Moonwalkers Letter of Authenticity

12 Moonwalker LOA.jpg

One of my clients is assembling a "12 moonwalkers" display using various cut signatures. Before framing, she asked me if I could review the signatures for a single letter of authenticity for all 12 signatures.

This is not something I have done before, but I figured it would be an interesting challenge! I've done letters for countless group pieces before, but not a single letter that had 12 separate signatures.

I like to keep the signature images large, so it forced me to go to both sides of the LOA. I'm pleased with the results... think it turned out well.

Is there anything I can do to help you with a project like this?