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Item 577 - Wernher von Braun Catalog 426 (Apr 2014)

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Minimum Bid: $200.00
Sold Price: $11,295.73 (includes buyer's premium)


DS, signed “Dr. Wernher von Braun,” three pages on two adjoining sheets, 8.5 x 11, February 23, 1950. Von Braun’s application for membership in the American Rocket Society, filled out entirely by von Braun, who prints his name two additional times in the application. He provides his detailed background, all the way back to his time in school from 1919–1930, then on to the Institute of Technology at Berlin and Zurich, his Ph.D. work in Physics in 1934, and his work as a “Research Professor, German Gov’t, July 1943.” Von Braun also adds his special technical qualifications: “Development of large liquid fuel rockets, guidance systems pertaining thereto, and ramjets.” The third page contains his handwritten resume spanning from 1930 up to April of 1945, and includes: “Assistant to Prof. Hermann Oberth, Charter member of the ‘Raketenflugplatz Berlin’…Group leader, liquid fuel rocket development, German Ordnance Dep’t. Chief rocket experimental station Kummersdorf near Berlin…development of liquid fuel rocket plants for rocket planes…1937 (May) to 1945 (April) Techn. Director Rocket Research Center Peenemuende. Development of A-4 (V-2) and A-9 long range rockets; AA guided missile ‘Wasserfall.’” A pencil notation at the top of the first page by von Braun indicates this application is a duplicate, as the original was sent to the Society. In fine condition, with expected document wear. Accompanied by a TLS, in German, signed in pencil, “V. Braun,” and dated September 10, 1945.

His application provides an incredibly detailed background of von Braun’s work history in Germany, from his time with Oberth, when he was just 18 years old, to his time at Peenemuende, working for the Nazis in developing the A-4 ballistic missile, designed as a ‘vengeance’ weapon capable of reaching London. After his surrender to the Allies in 1945, he and over 100 of his associates were removed from Germany and relocated to Fort Bliss, where they provided training to military and academic personnel on rockets and missiles, and from where von Braun sent this application. Founded in 1930, the American Rocket Society did pioneering work in testing the design requirements of liquid-fueled rockets. Arguably one of the most significant von Braun items to ever be offered. Pre-certified Steve Zarelli and RR Auction COA.

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