Buzz Aldrin space jacket goes for $2.77m at New York auction

Auctioneer claims sale is 'new world record for any spaceflight artefact'

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Sotheby’s on Tuesday received a $2,772,500 winning bid for astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s in-flight coverall jacket worn during the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

The bid made the jacket the "most valuable American space-flown artefact ever sold at auction, and the most valuable jacket sold at auction," Sotheby's said in a press release.

"The exceptionally rare garment was chased by multiple bidders for almost 10 minutes before selling to a bidder on the phone."

The auction house had estimated the exclusive piece of clothing could be fetch between $1 million and $2m.

“This jacket is the only garment worn on the Apollo 11 mission that can be owned privately,” said Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s Global Head of Science and Popular Culture.

It is part of a larger auction of Mr Aldrin’s personal possessions, including his Medal of Honour and a “Go Army Beat Navy” flag he brought on a moon walk.

There is also the famous pen that may have saved Mr Aldrin’s and Neil Armstrong’s lives while they were in the lunar module.

The story goes that, after discovering a problem with the circuit breaker, Mr Aldrin’s decided to solve the problem with a pen.

“Buzz is looking at the circuit breaker panel and he thinks, yeah, OK, maybe I could put my little finger in there, but I might get electrocuted and maybe I’ll take a little piece of metal, but maybe I’ll blow up the entire circuit breaker panel and then we’re really dead. Right?” Ms Hatton said.

“Then he realises he’s got this pen in his pocket that has a plastic tip at the end. And by some kind of miracle, the diameter of that plastic tip was the same as the diameter of the switch, and it fit perfectly in that hole and arm the engine and saved their lives.”

Mr Aldrin’s possessions, as well as the first Gorgosaurus skeleton to be offered at auction, are two of the highlights of Sotheby’s Geek Week auctions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: July 26, 2022, 6:15 PM