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Item 6638 - Walter Cunningham’s Collection of ISS Medallions Catalog 474 (Apr 2016)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Sold Price: $57,677.90 (includes buyer's premium)

Description


Extraordinary collection of 41 unflown sterling silver International Space Station Robbins medals from the collection of Apollo astronaut Walter Cunningham, consisting of a complete set from Expedition 1 through Expedition 41. The medals generally measure between 1.5″ and 2″ across and feature raised mission insignia designs on the face with the launch and return dates engraved on the reverse. All are in their original plastic cases with affixed labels denoting serial numbers. Overall condition is mint state. Accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity from Cunningham, in part: “In 1968, I initiated a relationship with the Robbins Company that specialized in products such as medallions. My order for the Apollo 7 commemorative medallions established a long term relationship between Robbins and future mission crews. Medallions have since become the ideal souvenirs and the ultimate collectibles from our manned space program. Since Apollo 7, I have personally obtained from a flight crew member or the astronaut office, one or two medallions for each American manned space mission. I hereby warrant and certify that these Medallions from ISS Mission 1 through ISS Mission 41 are from my personal collection of space artifacts.” This extraordinary collection is the most complete set of ISS medallions owned by an astronaut that have been put up for sale.

Walter Cunningham joined NASA with the Group 3 astronauts in 1963 and made history in 1968 as the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 7. This was not only the first successful manned mission of the Apollo program—a brave undertaking given the disastrous Apollo 1 test of a year earlier—but was the first mission associated with the Robbins medal tradition. It was actually Cunningham who took the lead in having the medallions first created. Desirous of a memento of the flight, he sketched out a version of the mission insignia and took it to a local Cape Canaveral jeweler to have a commemorative medallion made. The jeweler introduced him to the Robbins Company, who specialized in medals and medallions, and Cunningham worked in concert with them to create the first Robbins medals. These proved so popular among his fellow astronauts that the crews of every manned NASA spaceflight since then have had Robbins medallions struck to commemorate their missions. Originating from Cunningham himself, these International Space Station Expedition medallions—which experts believe are likely no longer being manufactured by Robbins—are not only extremely rare but represent the legacy of the famous NASA collectible he established.

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