Aleksandr Poleshchuk's flown toy monkey that he used as a ‘gravity indicator’ during the Soyuz TMA-16 mission to the Mir Space Station in January 1993. The hard rubber toy monkey stands 2.5″ in height and is signed on the bottom in black felt tip by Poleshchuk, who, along with Commander Gennadi Manakov, became the 13th resident crew of Mir. During their 179-day space flight, which lasted from January 24th to July 22nd, they performed two EVAs totaling 9 hours and 58 minutes, and performed testing of the androgynous peripheral docking subassembly of the Kristall module, the fourth module and the third major addition to Mir. In fine condition.
Accompanied by two signed and flight-certifying photos of Poleshchuk with the monkey, one of which shows him signing the bottom, a handwritten letter of provenance from Poleshchuk in Cyrillic, and a letter from a previous owner who transcribes the former, stating: “Letter tells that actual ‘Indicator of Gravity’ used on board Soyuz TM-16 January 24, 1993 during ride to space station Mir on orbit. In simple words A. Poleshchuk explains how figure starts floating as soon as it gets out of Earth magnetic field.” Flown gravity-indicating totems are exceedingly rare, with the majority of cosmonauts opting to retain given that they are typically borrowed from their children.