Lot #7009
Liberty Bell 7 Flown Rotational Switch - From the Collection of Curt Newport

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Estimate: $1500+


Flown stainless steel rotational switch deriving from the Liberty Bell 7, the spacecraft astronaut Gus Grissom piloted during the Mercury-Redstone 4 mission and that was recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean 38 years after splashdown. The switch itself measures 4″ in length, retains an original nut with eight washers, and shows impressive evidence of being crushed by the ambient pressure at a depth of nearly 16,000 feet. A well-rusted connection port with a wire cluster measuring 7.5″ in length is attached to an end. In fine condition.

Accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity from Curt Newport, the team leader of the Liberty Bell 7 Recovery Expedition, who states: “I certify that this stainless-steel rotational switch and/or sensor from Liberty Bell 7 was gifted to me by the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center (KCSC) and is from my personal collection.”

After unsuccessful attempts in 1992 and 1993, Oceaneering International, Inc. and a team led by Curt Newport lifted the Liberty Bell 7 from the Atlantic seabed and onto the deck of the recovery ship Ocean Project on July 20, 1999, the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. The spacecraft was found after a 14-year effort by Newport at a depth of nearly 16,000 feet, some 350 miles east-southeast of Cape Canaveral. Among the items found within were parts of the flight gear, several Mercury dimes, and five one-dollar bills, the latter taken to space to be souvenirs of the flight. The spacecraft was transported to The Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas, where it was disassembled and cleaned and is now on permanent display. Flown items from the Liberty Bell 7 are exceedingly rare and highly coveted by collectors. Supported by provenance direct from the recovery expedition team leader, this rotational is all the more desirable for its depth-related damage—the Liberty Bell 7 is the only manned spacecraft to have been lost—and found—at sea.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Space Exploration
  • Dates: #646 - Ended October 20, 2022