Buzz Aldrin flight-to-moon jacket sells at auction for $2.8M

A close up of the NASA patch on Buzz Aldrin's Inflight Coverall Jacket during the Apollo 11 mission is on display during a press preview at Sotheby's on July 21, 2022 in New York City. Buzz Aldrin's inflight jacket along with other pieces from his collection will be auctioned on July 26, 2022. Getty Images

Buzz Aldrin’s jacket, worn on his historic first mission to the moon’s surface in 1969, has been auctioned off to a bidder for nearly US$2.8-million (about $3.6-million).

The $2,772,500 paid for the Apollo 11 inflight coverall jacket is the highest for any American space-flown artifact sold at auction, according to Sotheby’s, which handled the sale. The unidentified winning bidder, who participated by phone, outlasted several others in a bidding that spanned almost 10 minutes.

Buzz Aldrin’s Inflight Coverall Jacket, worn by him on his Apollo 11 mission to the Moon is on display July 21, 2022 during a media preview at Sothebys in New York. Getty Images

According to CNN, Aldrin’s jacket is now the only flown garment from the Apollo 11 mission to be owned privately. Jackets belonging to other Apollo 11 crew members Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins are both kept at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

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The jacket displays Aldrin’s name tag on the left breast above the Apollo 11 mission emblem, and the American flag on the left shoulder. It is made of a fire-resistant material known as Beta cloth that was incorporated in spacesuits in response to the fire that killed three astronauts aboard Apollo 1 in 1967, according to Sotheby’s.

Several additional Apollo 11 items were also sold at the New York Sotheby’s auction, including a complete summary of the mission, which sold for $819,000, more than five times its original high estimate.

Cassandra Hatton, Senior Vice President, points to handwritten items including, “molded earpiece, tissues and snacks” on Apollo 11 LM Systems Activation Checklist during on display during a press preview at Sotheby’s on July 21, 2022 in New York City. The checklist was never meant to be returned to earth, but rather was labeled “Jettison” meaning a non-essential item to be discarded on the Lunar surface to lighten the load upon the return. Getty Images

A summary of the touchdown of the lunar module Eagle was purchased at the auction for $327,600, over six times its expected price.

A fire extinguisher from the lunar module, medals of service and an MTV Video Music Award “moonman” statuette (whose likeness is modelled after Aldrin) were also sold at the auction.

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An art handler holds The “Original Moonman” MTV VMA Statuette Presented to Aldrin in 1984 during a press preview at Sotheby’s on July 21, 2022 in New York City. The statuette used for the MTV awards was chosen from a picture of Aldrin planting the United States Flag on the Moon as the symbol for newest award show, the MTV VMA’s. Getty Images

Aldrin, who is now 92 years old, released a statement claiming the items sold at the Sotheby’s auction represented a summary of his vast career.

“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,” he said. “I hope that this collection offers some insight into what it has been like to be Buzz Aldrin.”

The auction took place less than a week after Apollo 11’s 53rd anniversary.

Aldrin and Armstrong became the first astronauts to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969.

— With files from Global News’ Sarah Do Couto

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