1960 Signed Mercury 7 Photograph & Paperwork

Value (2009) | $3,000 Auction$7,500 Insurance

GUEST:
This is an autographed picture of the original Mercury astronauts, autographed to my brother and I. The way we got this was my father was a doctor in the Air Force, and he conducted the first medical evaluations of the original team of astronauts. So we have Wally Schirra, Gus Grissom, Alan Shepard, John Glenn, all those. They're a little faded, but my father knew these guys.

APPRAISER:
Did you ever get a chance to personally meet any of these astronauts?

GUEST:
Yeah, I met John Glenn and Alan Shepard. They came to my house for dinner one night.

APPRAISER:
Wow.

GUEST:
John Glenn helped my mother do the dishes while Alan Shepard was setting up a telescope out front, and they showed us the rings around Saturn.

APPRAISER:
That's great. One of the reasons why I'm really glad you brought this to the show today is because I'm able to give you a couple of different aspects into how you appraise a collectible. We're going to touch on the provenance, which is the history of the item. We're going to touch on how the condition of the item is going to affect the value when it comes to sale. And the other thing that I really want to touch on, probably primarily, is how current events and what's going on in the market today is going to affect the value as well. Starting with provenance, you have this wonderful typed letter. This is the itinerary for your dad's examining all the astronauts. Yes. And it lists the eight initial astronauts, including, at the bottom, you have William Douglas, right down there, who didn't make it in. He didn't make it.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
So you would have had the Mercury Eight, and now you have the Mercury Seven. Okay, so the provenance is wonderful. And that six- or seven-page itinerary showing the exams that he was going to conduct, the time frame he was going to do it, the different things he had to do, that adds significantly to the value of the picture. As far as the photo goes, of the seven astronauts, five of the signatures are pretty strong, very clear. Cooper and Schirra are a little bit faded, and that's the result of direct sunlight on the ink. That's something you can't correct.

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
And it's definitely something that's going to have a negative effect on the value. And the third thing, which I was really happy that we can talk about, is the current events and how that's going to affect the values. Now, we just passed the anniversary of man walking on the moon. Space memorabilia and space collectibles is very hot right now, a very popular collectible. A lot of auction houses are doing auctions just devoted to space memorabilia. For auction purposes, I would estimate the photo... and I'm being a little conservative because of the condition, and I'm adding in value based on that paperwork that's there, which is really critical. Without that paperwork I wouldn't have been as excited about it. I'm going to place an auction estimate on this at $3,000 to $5,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
If you wanted to insure it, insure it for $7,500 or so.

GUEST:
Okay.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Philip Weiss Auctions
Lynbrook, NY
Appraised value (2009)
$3,000 Auction$7,500 Insurance
Event
Denver, CO (July 25, 2009)
Period
20th Century
Material
Paper

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