Neil Armstrong signed photo sells for $38,467 at RR Auction

In the Spring 2016 RR Auction Space Auction this Neil Armstrong signed photo sold for $38,467 with buyer's premium. This is an amazing result... and to my knowledge is, by far, the most ever paid for a single signed astronaut photograph. 

 Neil Armstrong signed photo that sold for over $38,000

Neil Armstrong signed photo that sold for over $38,000

So, why so much?

In my opinion, this is the quintessential image of the space program... the moment Armstrong stepped off the ladder onto the moon's surface. And, it is signed perfectly with an Apollo 11 inscription.

There are only a few images of Neil Armstrong on the moon, and most were not readily available when he was freely signing autographs. Any lunar surface photo of Armstrong is uncommon.

Lastly, this photo came directly from the family of the former head of NASA's photo division, so it has strong provenance. In fact, an original of this photo would likely have only been available to someone inside NASA in the late 60s and early 70s.

Godspeed Edgar Mitchell, 1930-2016

 Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14, searching for Cone Crater on the moon.

Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14, searching for Cone Crater on the moon.

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Edgar Mitchell on February 4, 2016. 

I met Dr. Mitchell several times over the years and actually spent 2 days with him when my company retained him to appear at a trade show in 2002. He shared some fascinating insights and I felt privileged to have a drink or two with a man that walked on the moon.

 Steve Zarelli with Edgar Mitchell, 2004.

Steve Zarelli with Edgar Mitchell, 2004.

He was a kind, humble and brilliant man. A very unique view and a free thinker.

Once again he is among the stars.

 Edgar Mitchell, NASA portrait

Edgar Mitchell, NASA portrait

Super Bowl 50 Audi Commercial: "Commander"...The retired astronaut

This Sunday, Super Bowl 50 will have an Audi commercial featuring a fictional retired astronaut... re-living his glory days in an Audi. Space fans will like this and the David Bowie track "Starman" is an especially nice touch.

Surrounded by memories of the Space Age's golden years, a retired astronaut has lost his zeal for life. But when his son shows up and hands over the keys to the new 205-mph Audi R8 V10 plus, a rocket ride under the stars stirs newfound life within the Commander.

Apollo 13's Jack Swigert

John Leonard "Jack" Swigert, Jr. died way too young 33 years ago today. It was only 12 years after his heroic return on Apollo 13 and seven weeks after he had been elected to Colorado's new 6th congressional district.

 Jack Swigert signed photo to Claudia Thames of the John M. King company.

Jack Swigert signed photo to Claudia Thames of the John M. King company.

While Swigert wasn't an especially difficult signer, his autograph is exceedingly uncommon on his NASA white space suit portrait. It seems that -- at best -- two or three come to market in any given year. In my estimation, Swigert space suit pose is just as rare if not rarer than James Irwin and John Young signed white space suit portraits.

Jack Swigert's signature can typically be obtained on postal covers, programs and the like for $300 - $400. His NASA business suit pose signed fetches around $600 - $700, and one can expect to pay $1,000 and up for a signed white space suit pose... likely much more for an unpersonalized example.

Due to his untimely death in 1982 -- before widespread commercial signings -- demand outweighs supply and forgeries abound. Be especially wary of Apollo 13 items that started with a bad Swigert, and an unwitting collector added authentic Lovell and Haise signatures.