Moon Shot: Neil Armstrong Autograph Sells for $27k at Auction
Take a near perfect autograph from a man who is one of the true pioneers of his field, signed on a date of historical significance. Offer that same autograph for auction near the 40th anniversary of that date and you've got the recipe for one eye-popping sale.
RR Auctions, a New Hampshire-based company that has been in the autographed memorabilia business for almost 30 years and has been running auctions since 1995, recently put those ingredients together to help a Neil Armstrong autographed check close for over $27,000. The man who became the first person to walk on the moon four decades ago is thought to have the most valuable autograph of anyone alive today, and had a previous item sell for $19,000.
What made this particular autograph so unique is that it was signed on July 16, 2009, the same day that Apollo 11 took flight. According to the text piece matted with the check, Armstrong filled it out to repay a debt he owed to Hal Collins for $10.50. But legend also has that Armstrong told Collins not to cash it "because I will be coming back."
Aside from the obvious historical context and the clear and full "Neil A. Armstrong" signature on the check, part of its value stems from the scarcity of any Armstrong autographs. Fearing forgers and unscrupulous types cashing in on his fame, the famous astronaut stopped inking up 15 years ago.
"He's the most sought-after human being for an autograph," said Anthony Pizzitola, vice-president of the Universal Autograph Collectors Club, to the Boston Globe. "That's based on the fact that he just stopped signing in 1994. It's just like a stock; that's basically what it is."
The form of the signature also contributes to its rarity. The check represents one of only three known examples of Armstrong signing using his middle initial during the Apollo 11 mission.
Noah Bradley, a space memorabilia collector from Virginia, offered the check to RR Auctions for consignment. He obtained the check in 2002, buying it from Collins' son.