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Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins' collection launches Heritage Space Exploration auction beyond $2.5 million
Apollo 11 Flown Largest Size American Flag Signed and Certified by Michael Collins Directly from His Personal Collection with Accompanying Signed Certificate, CAG Certified. Sold for: $162,500.

DALLAS, TX.- The largest-sized American flag aboard the most important flight in the history of the U.S. Space program, owned and signed by the mission’s command module pilot, soared to $162,500 to lead Heritage Auctions' Space Exploration Signature® Auction to $2,591,768 June 2-3.

The result for the Apollo 11 Flown Largest Size American Flag Signed and Certified by Michael Collins Directly from His Personal Collection with Accompanying Signed Certificate, CAG Certified reached a new stratosphere, touching down at more than four times its pre-auction event to lead the nearly sold-out event, which drew 1,755 bidders in pursuit of more than 1,000 lots and generated sell-through rates of better than 99% by value and by lots sold.

The flag led the collection of Collins, who famously flew aboard Apollo 11, the first manned mission to reach the moon, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Collins kept the flag as a treasured souvenir of the historic mission. At 17.75 inches by 11.5 inches, the incredibly rare silk flag is the largest size typically flown by Apollo missions. Written in black ink on the Collectibles Authentication Guaranty-certified flag: “Carried to the Moon on Apollo XI, July 1969- /Michael Collins CMP.”

“Michael Collins is among the most important astronauts in the history of space travel, and the results of this auction surpassed our loftiest expectations,” Heritage Auctions Space Exploration Consignment Director Brad Palmer said. “We knew the interest in the flag would be sky-high, because mission-flown flags of that size (17-3/4 by 11-1/2 inches) are in exceedingly high demand among serious space collectors. This is a fantastic flag, owned and signed by Michael Collins, and it ended up serving as an outstanding launching point for the entire auction.”

From the same historic mission came an Apollo 11-Flown and Crew-Signed Beta Cloth Mission Insignia Directly from the Personal Collection of Michael Collins, CAG Certified that more than tripled its pre-auction estimate when it reached $137,500. In the center of the cloth is a circular insignia (diameter: 3-3/8 inches) that was designed by Collins, and shows an eagle carrying an olive branch to the moon with Earth in the distance over the eagle’s right shoulder. After the mission, Collins wrote: “Carried to the moon aboard Apollo XI/ July 1969” and signed it, as did Armstrong and Aldrin. Made with fire-safe Fiberglass Beta yarns, Beta cloth was used in the space suits worn by the Apollo astronauts.

Three lots brought triple-figure results; the third was an Apollo 11-Flown and Used Star Chart with Handwritten Annotations, Signed and Certified, Directly from the Personal Collection of Michael Collins, CAG Certified, which ended at $125,000 – more than three times its pre-auction estimate. The chart is a vital piece of documentation from the Apollo 11 mission, depicting dozens of stars and constellations and features numerous handwritten annotations by Collins, with the following written on the left border: “During the flight of/ APOLLO ELEVEN,/ I used this chart/ to help me locate stars. (The/ numbers were/ entered into/ the Command/ Module Computer/ Michael/ Collins/ CMP.”

The auction included 19 flags, including an Apollo 11-Flown American Flag Signed and Certified by Michael Collins Directly from His Personal Collection with Accompanying Signed Certificate, CAG Certified that reached $81,250 and a framed Apollo 11-Flown American Flag on a Crew-Signed Presentation Certificate that sold for $75,000.

Mission-flown Robbins medallions always hold significant appeal to collectors, and this sale was no exception. All told, the event included 23 assorted Robbins medallions, including an Apollo 11-Flown MS67 NGC Sterling Silver Robbins Medallion, Serial Number 300 that went for $52,500 and an Apollo 11-Flown MS66 NGC Sterling Silver Robbins Medallion, Serial Number 357 that closed at $36,250.

An Apollo 11-Flown Flight Plan Page 89B with Annotations Handwritten by Collins nearly quintupled its pre-auction estimate when it drew a winning bid of $47,500. Measuring 6-1/2 by 8 inches, the page is numbered 89B and comes from the Command Module Pilot Solo Book that was flown and used aboard Columbia. The heavily annotated page addresses LM Insertion and covers the time between 124:30 and 125:00. It has been signed in black ink along bottom: “Michael Collins/ CMP” and “A flown page from the Apollo XI/ Flight Plan/ Michael Collins CMP” on the verso, making it an extremely important relic from this historic flight. The lot Included a handwritten LOA from Collins stating he kept this page due to the stretch of time it covered when he was supposed to be “the loneliest human ever.”

A dozen bids came in for an Apollo 11-Flown Pilot's Preference Kit (PPK), Signed and Certified by Collins before it found a new home at $40,000. The kit includes a Beta cloth bag with a sewn-on tag that reads “KIT PILOT’S PREFERENCE/ P/N SEB 12100018-202/ S/N 1071.” Collins signed and annotated that same tag, as well as the notes. Written directly below the tag is: “Flown to the Moon/ Aboard Apollo XI.” Accompanying the kit is a handwritten note on Collins' letterhead, vouching for the authenticity of the kit. Flown PPK’s are scarce and among the most highly coveted of flown Space artifacts.

Other top lots included, but were not limited to:

• An Apollo 11-Flown Crew-Signed "Type One" Quarantine Cover, Certified by Michael Collins: $37,500

• An Apollo 8 Crew-Signed Official First Day Cover for the “Apollo 8” Stamp: $35,000

• An Apollo 11_Flown Flight Plan Clipping With Test Postal Cancellation Signed Twice and Annotated by Michael Collins Cancelled in Flight on the Day of the Moon Landing: $32,500

• An Apollo 11-Flown Heat Shield Plug in Lucite Display on Wooden Base: $32,500

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