Collectors of space memorabilia will have a chance to own a piece of American history when the Armstrong family begins auctioning off the vast personal collection of Neil Armstrong in November.
The sale at Heritage Auctions begins November 1 and will include some of the most prized artifacts of space exploration. The end of auction is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Armstrong's Apollo 11 mission, when Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
The collection has over 2,000 items, including pieces of the airplane used by the Wright brothers in 1903, which Armstrong brought with him to the moon, as well as other items from his lunar landing.
The most expensive piece in the sale is a silk American flag that was carried to the moon in Armstrong's personal kit. It has an opening bid of $75,000.
Other items that will likely draw a lot of interest is one of Armstrong's flight suits, which starts at $30,000, as well as sterling silver medallions that were available for purchase only by NASA astronauts. Armstrong's collection also includes a rare gold medallion.
In addition to space artifacts, the auction will feature items from Armstrong's childhood, including his Boy Scouts cap and a letter he wrote to the Easter bunny.
Armstrong died in 2012 in his native Ohio. Armstrong's sons, Mark and Rick Armstrong, say they began thinking about preserving the items in their father's collection two years ago when they realized some of the items were beginning to degrade.
The Armstrong sons turned to Florida-based Collectibles Authentication Guaranty to help restore damaged items and to help properly identify other pieces.
Mark and Rick say a portion of the proceeds from the auction will go to causes that are important to the family.
Heritage Auctions, which is based in Dallas, will hold a series of auctions for the Armstrong collection. The first will be held Nov. 1-2, while others will be held in May and November 2019. The auction house says bids can be taken online, by phone or in person.
During the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong was joined by Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. Millions of people from around the world watched as Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon and uttered the now-famous phrase: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."