Buzz Aldrin Sells Jacket from the Moon Landing
Some of the first items in space still command a high price today.
By: Kirsten Brooker | August 9, 2022 | 736 Words
Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin made history when they became the first and second people to walk on the moon. The two men traveled to the moon in the Apollo 11 spacecraft, along with their fellow astronaut Michael Collins. Even though three people flew on the mission, only two actually landed and walked on the moon’s surface during that trip: Armstrong went first, while Aldrin was second.
These astronauts accomplished a goal set by President John F. Kennedy. Though JFK was not alive when the first moon landing took place, it was a huge feat for scientists and the United States of America. Fast forward 53 years and the items from that incredible day are being sold at auction for large sums of money, highlighting the interest and pride people still hold for that iconic moment in history.
Buzz Aldrin and the Auction
An auction held in late July 2022 broke records by selling a set of Buzz Aldrin’s equipment and attire. The items were used during the 1969 moon landing, as well as the earlier Gemini XII mission which tested whether astronauts could successfully work outside their craft, while in space. The auction took place at Sotheby’s Auction House in New York.
A law passed in 2012 under President Barack Obama gave full ownership of the artifacts from the Gemini, Mercury, and Apollo missions to the astronauts who made those journeys. The law allowed the property owners to do whatever they wanted with the objects. Now 92 years old, Buzz Aldrin felt it was time to sell his items.
“After deep consideration, the time felt right to share these items with the world, which for many are symbols of a historical moment, but for me have always remained personal mementos of a life dedicated to science and exploration,” Aldrin said.
Sixty-eight items that were part of Aldrin’s two missions (Apollo 11 and Gemini XII) went up for sale, including his Presidential Medal of Freedom, which sold for $277,200. In addition, the jacket Aldrin wore during his flight to the moon sold for $2,772,500 (the most valuable American artifact sold at auction). In total, the American icon’s items brought in $8,184,578.
This is not the first auction to sell astronaut memorabilia. Neil Armstrong’s sons made $12 million when they auctioned off their father’s space memorabilia following his death.
The 1969 Moon Landing
On July 16, 1969, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins took flight in Apollo 11 with the destination set for the moon. The world tuned in to see if the three men could accomplish what no one had before.
The ship entered lunar orbit on July 19. The next day, Eagle, the lunar module manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the main ship and began its descent to the moon’s surface. Upon landing, Armstrong radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, and announced, “The Eagle has landed.”
Moments later, Armstrong stepped foot onto the moon’s surface and was joined 19 minutes later by Aldrin. The two planted an American flag, took pictures, ran scientific tests, spoke with President Richard Nixon on the phone, and left a few items marking their successful journey. Among the objects was a plaque that read: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon—July 1969 A.D.—We came in peace for all mankind.” The duo then spent the night in the lunar module before reconnecting with Collins and the main ship. Apollo 11 landed safely in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969, at 12:50 p.m.
Additional Moon Landings
In total, 12 Americans have stepped foot on the moon. The others to complete the mission include:
Apollo 12: Charles “Pete” Conrad and Alan Bean
Apollo 14: Alan B. Shepard Jr. and Edgar D. Mitchell
Apollo 15: David R. Scott and James B. Irwin
Apollo 16: John W. Young and Charles M. Duke
Apollo 17: Eugene Cernan and Harrison H. Schmitt
Due to technical problems, Apollo 13 was forced to end its mission early and it never got to finish its moon landing. The astronauts aboard the Apollo 13 ship were commander Jim Lovell, lunar module pilot Fred Haise, and command module pilot Jack Swigert.