Signed Apollo 17 lunar surface manifest to touch down at Heritage Auctions

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Signed Apollo 17 lunar surface manifest to touch down at Heritage Auctions
Apollo 17 Lunar Module Flown and Used "Lunar Surface Manifest" for the Moon Rocks Gathered on the Mission.

DALLAS, TX.- A signed Lunar Surface Manifest detailing the collection of moon rocks, one of which now sits on the desk of President Joe Biden, will touch down in a new collection when it is sold in Heritage Auctions' Space Exploration Auction May 21-22.

An Apollo 17 Lunar Module Flown and Used "Lunar Surface Manifest" for the Moon Rocks (estimate: $90,000+) was originally in the collection of Mission Commander Gene Cernan, bears his signature and is accompanied by his signed letter of authenticity and photographic provenance.

"This really is a one-of-a-kind piece – it's still smeared with moon dust,” Heritage Auctions Space Exploration Director Michael Riley said. "This is one of only three 'Rock Manifests' in existence – one is institutionally held, and the other two are in private hands – and this is the most desirable of the three, and one of the moon rocks documented on this manifest now sits in the Oval Office at the White house. This is an absolute must-have for any serious collector of space exploration or Presidential artifacts.”

The manifest, in an archivally framed display, is a double-sided cardstock checklist page, measuring 8 by 5-1/2 inches and titled "EVA 1 PREP,” dated Nov. 6, 1972. Side 2-1 is headed at the top "114:55 Cabin Prep EVA 1 (20 Min)” and is certified in black ink: "This page bearing/ lunar dust flew to the/ lunar surface/ Gene Cernan.” There also is a vintage (and slightly cryptic) handwritten note by Cernan: "Corn Chowder in Jet Bag.” Page 2-2 is titled "COLLECTION WEIGHT SUMMARY (#),” dated Sept. 12, 1972, and is signed by Cernan in black ink under a stamp that reads "Landed on the Moon aboard the Apollo 17 LM 'Challenger.'”

A Letter of Authenticity, signed in 2009 by Cernan, reads, in part:

"This Is To Certify that the accompanying Apollo 17 'EVA 1 PREP' Checklist Page is the 'Lunar Surface Manifest' for the moon rocks returned to Earth on Apollo 17.

"An Important Goal of Project Apollo was to obtain moon rocks to analyze back on Earth, and during the six Apollo lunar landings, a total of 842 pounds of moon rocks were collected.

"My hands were coated with lunar dust as I notated this manifest inside our Lunar Module 'Challenger,' and some of that lunar dust inadvertently transferred onto its surface.

"Thus, the stains on this page are comprised of lunar dust from the 'Taurus-Littrow' region of the Moon!

"This Manifest represents the original handwritten record for some of the first geological samples, and over one-quarter of all the Apollo moon rocks, ever returned to Earth from the Moon.”

Richard Gordon's Personal Bendix Trophy for Winning the 1961 Race in an F4H-1 Phantom II Plane with a Record Cross Country Time of Two Hours and 47 Minutes, Setting a Speed Record of 869.74 MPH (estimate: $40,000+) comes from one of four major trophy races that came out of the 1920s-30s, the Golden Age of Air Racing. The Bendix, created to interest engineers in building faster, more reliable, and enduring aircraft, which in turn, would directly affect the future of commercial aviation, began when the Henderson Brothers convinced industrialist Vincent Bendix of the Bendix Corporation to sponsor a transcontinental, point-to-point race with prize money of $15,000. This trophy, created in 1930s Art Deco design, features an engraved plate on the base that reads:

2 HRS. 47 MINS. 17.75 SEC
AVE. SPEED 869.739 MPH

An Apollo 14 Lunar Module Flown Complete Lunar Bible, #14-167, On Certificate Signed by Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell (estimate: $18,000), measuring just 1-1/2 inches square, was produced by National Cash Register Company (NCR) and published by the World Publishing Company. Affixed to a 5-by-7-inch certificate bearing the signature of Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell. The first Bible on the Moon was commissioned by the Apollo Prayer League, a group of NASA employees at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. Bible societies in 50 different countries and commercial Bible publishers participated in creating this multiversion Bible in Microform. It was carried to the lunar surface in the spacesuit of Astronaut and Lunar Module Antares pilot Edgar Mitchell as a personal favor to Reverend John Stout.

Other highlights include, but are not limited to:

• An Apollo 11 Crew-Signed White Spacesuit Color Photo

• An assortment of 16 crew-signed dollar bills

• A selection from a single-owner collection (NASA employee) of Apollo-era "red number” NASA photos

• Assorted "red number” photos that have been authenticated and encapsulated by PSA, a trove that includes an "Earthrise” image – the first PSA-slabbed Space Exploration photos ever offered by Heritage Auctions

• A selection of Early Aviation items including two pieces of the Wright Flyer wing, an American flag flown by Amelia Earhart, and a rare Wilbur Wright signed postcard

The auction also includes a trove of more than 100 out-of-this-world artifacts and mementos from the personal collection of Chris Kraft, NASA's first Flight Director and former Director of the Johnson Space Center and the man who came up with the concept of NASA's Mission Control … which now bears his name.

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