Mercury-era hand controller presented to fellow Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom. Right-handed controller measures 5 x 7.25 and has been mounted on to a 6 x 12 x 5 wooden base. Front of the base bears an engraved brass plaque which reads: “Presented to Gus Grissom, Astronaut for Liberty Bell 7, by the Cape crew of Faith 7 at the request of Gordon Cooper. L. O. 21 July 1961 0720 E.S.T.; Landing: 0735 E.S.T. Ht. 102.8 NM; Distance: 263 NM.” In fine condition, with expected wear and scuffing of black paint on handle and some mild tarnishing to plaque.
After the loss of Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7, substantial controversy surrounded the premature blowing of the capsule’s hatch after splashdown, leading to its sinking. Cooper presented this controller as a gesture of support to a friend and fellow astronaut at a time when Grissom was the subject of official inquiries and reviews, as well as unofficial speculation. Provenance: Superior Auctions, May, 2001. RR Auction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.