The second sale of the Armstrong Family Collection, which was entirely certified by Collectibles Authentication Guaranty (CAG), realized more than $2.3 million at Heritage Auctions, May 9. The Armstrong Family Collection features items saved by astronaut Neil Armstrong—the first man to walk on the moon—and his immediate family members.
This sale brings the total results for the CAG-certified Armstrong Family Collection to more than $7.6 million, a record for a collection of space memorabilia. Additional CAG-certified artifacts from the Armstrong Family Collection will be sold by Heritage Auctions later this year.
“The Armstrong Family Collection represents one of the most important moments in American history, captured by an extraordinary group of artifacts,” says Mark Salzberg, CCG chairman and CAG founder. “CAG is extremely honored to have been selected to certify this iconic collection.”
The highest prices in the May sale were achieved by five pieces of the Wright Flyer that were flown on the historic Apollo 11 mission to the moon. The Wright Brothers flew their famous airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903, launching the era of powered flight. Under a special arrangement with a museum, Armstrong took pieces from the historic plane with him on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 and was allowed to keep some of them.
The top lots in this sale were a piece of the propeller and a piece of the wing fabric, each realizing $175,000. Two other propeller pieces realized $125,000 and $112,500, while another wing fabric piece realized $106,250. All of the Wright Flyer pieces were certified by CAG and encapsulated in tamper-evident, protective holders with a label that bears the dates of the two important events: “Kitty Hawk 12/17/1903” and “Tranquility Base 7/20/1969.”
Meanwhile, a 11.5-by-18-inch American flag that was also taken on the Apollo 11 mission realized $93,750. The flag was encapsulated by CAG in a flat, flexible holder with a descriptive label.
Another top lot was a “Quarantine Cover,” a stamped envelope signed by the Apollo 11 astronauts that was flown on the mission. Afterward, it was delayed in quarantine and was stamped “DELAYED IN QUARANTINE AT LUNAR RECEIVING LABORATORY M.S.C. – HOUSTON, TEXAS.” It realized $93,750.
A pair of Apollo 11 Silver Robbins Medals that were flown on the mission each realized $50,000. The medals, which feature the mission insignia and the launch, moon landing and splashdown dates, were graded MS66 by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). Two other Apollo 11 Silver Robbins Medals that were flown on the mission, graded NGC MS65 and NGC MS67, realized $40,000 each. An affiliate of CAG, NGC has graded more than 43 million coins, medals and tokens.
“CAG’s cataloging and encapsulation of the items in the Armstrong Family Collection and the inherent preservation of their provenance have made it easier for people to better understand and appreciate the artifacts,” said Rick and Mark Armstrong, Neil Armstrong’s sons. “We are very pleased with the results of CAG’s expert services.”
Other CAG-certified artifacts offered in the sale included a diverse assortment of photos, magazines, coins, medals, buttons, patches, flags and papers.
CAG was established to preserve the authenticity and provenance of collectibles at the source by working directly with collectors, estates, artists, museums and others. Most items certified by CAG are encapsulated in proprietary holders that enable the artifact to be preserved and attractively displayed. Each holder has a CAG certification label that describes the artifact and its important provenance. Items that cannot be encapsulated receive a CAG Photo Certificate.
“The value of CAG’s services continues to be demonstrated by the impressive prices realized,” said Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “CAG’s comprehensive services have given our bidders significantly greater comfort.” The next sale of CAG-certified artifacts from the Armstrong Family Collection is planned for July 16, 2019, which is the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 mission.