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Neil Armstrong’s Private Mementos Going Up For Auction

Neil Armstrong was a humble man, but an avid collector. Among the items he gathered were pieces of the wing and propeller from the 1903 Wright Brothers flight, a Purdue University flag that was taken to the moon, important letters to NASA officials and his Boy Scout hat, from the days long before he left orbit.

Now, those things and more are going up for sale to the highest bidder. And as interest in Armstrong peaks with the upcoming release of a new biographic movie about him and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission draws near, those items could fetch premium bids (though probably not as much as a dinosaur skeleton did earlier this year).

The auction, run by Heritage Auctions and set to kick off Nov. 1 and 2, is part of a series called “The Armstrong Family Collection” that will run through 2019, with a second round of items going up for bids on May 9-10 and a third in November 2019. Online bidding on the first round of items begins Friday Oct. 12.

Heritage Auctions-Apollo mission flag
A 17.75″ x 11.5″ silk U.S. flag with red stitching around the edges flown by Apollo missions, traveled to the moon with Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing, July 16-24, 1969, and was kept as a treasured souvenir by Mission Commander Neil Armstrong.Courtesy of Heritage Auctions
Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Aside from the Wright Bros. items and some personal mementos, the auction is heavy in items that were flown during the Apollo 11 mission and items that were signed by the crew of that mission. There’s also the U.S. Navy helmet John Glenn wore during his record breaking transcontinental flight in 1957, Armstrong’s flight suit from his Gemini flight and a Mercedes convertible owned by Buzz Aldrin. All totaled, more than 1,200 items are up for auction.

“He was never about himself, so I would expect that he didn’t give much thought about how he would be remembered,” said Rick Armstrong, Neil’s son, in a statement. “With that being said, I think he would be pleased to be remembered as being part of a program that demonstrated amazing things can be achieved when people come together to dedicate themselves towards a common goal.”