American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, famously characterized the feat as, One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
Almost 42 years later, a small American flag carried onboard the Apollo 11 when it made its historic lunar landing in July 1969 garnered a giant price at auction Thursday night of $47,652.
The sale may have set a new record for flags flown into space, according to RR Auction of Amherst, New Hampshire.
Collectors of flight-flown material always covet the small American flags carried by crews into space, said Bobby Livingston of RR Auction. This sale more than doubles our previous sale record for a flight-flown flag in 2008, and certainly marks what we believe to be a new world's record price for a flight-flown flag.
The flag was accompanied by a certificate stating, This flag traveled to the moon with Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing, July 20, 1969. The certificate on which the flag is mounted is signed by the three Apollo 11 astronauts - Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
Armstrong also wrote, To Rooster with sincere best wishes from Apollo 11.
Rooster Andrews was the owner of a sports shop in Texas, an avid space collector, and a friend of the astronauts.
Approximately 450 items from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and other space missions were featured in the auction, including a headset used to communicate with Armstrong and Aldrin during their lunar mission, a calendar photo of a Playboy Playmate brought aboard the Apollo 12 command module, a sample of NASA space food, and a 22-inch electric power instrument panel of a type used by NASA during the Apollo era.
A commemorative silver medal that was also onboard the Apollo 11 lunar module sold for a record price of $38,725. The Playboy pinup of DeDe Lind sold for $21,000.
The Apollo 11 flag is a terrific memento and rare artifact from the first lunar landing, says Robert Pearlman, editor and founder of collectSPACE.com, the leading website for the space history community. Anything carried to the moon usually draws strong interest, but Apollo 11 memorabilia and flags like this one in particular are among the quintessential pieces for anyone seeking to build a space history collection.