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Lot
40390

Apollo 11 Flown French 20 Franc Coin and Necklace in Framed Display with Crew-Signed Letter of Authenticity....

2013 April 18 Space Exploration Signature Auction - Dallas #6095

 
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Auction Ended On: Apr 18, 2013
Item Activity: 2 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Description:
Unique item flown in Neil Armstrong's PPK on Apollo 11.
Apollo 11 Flown French 20 Franc Coin and Necklace in Framed Display with Crew-Signed Letter of Authenticity. It's hard to imagine any space flown item more desirable than something flown by Armstrong in his own PPK (Personal Preference Kit). We are proud to offer this item with impeccable provenance from not only the commander and crew of Apollo 11, but also the backup commander James Lovell. The .900 fine gold coin appears to be of the "Rooster" type that was minted between 1899 and 1914 in France. It is inside a bezel and on a gold necklace (gold content and length unknown). This is matted with several items- a mission patch, Beta cloth flag, copies of the letters of provenance, and a photo of the original owner, Trish Butte. Trish was known as the folksinger to the astronauts because she was a popular performer at the hotels and clubs in the Cape area. This necklace was given to her friend James Lovell who helped get it placed into Armstrong's PPK for the Apollo 11 mission. After their return, the necklace was returned to Trish with a typed letter on NASA letterhead, as follows: "Dear Trish: This letter is to confirm the fact that your 20 Franc coin and chain were carried onboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft during its historic mission. With best wishes". Signed at the close: "Neil Armstrong", "Buzz Aldrin", and "M Collins". She later gave the necklace to NBC news correspondent Jay Barbree for inclusion in his fabulous space collection. A two-page handwritten letter (included) documents this. The display mat and frame is 24" x 33" in size. An amazing item sure to create excitement among the collecting community. Excellent condition.

Included with this lot is a 1997-dated signed letter from James Lovell with transmittal envelope. It reads, in full: "Dear Jay: By this letter I authenticate that a 20 Franc coin and chain were delivered by me to Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission, to be placed in his Personal Preference Kit (PPK). As back up commander I helped Armstrong package his PPK. This kit was flown on board the Apollo 11 spacecraft. After the flight, items in the PPK were distributed with letters signed by the Apollo 11 crew authenticating their presence aboard the Apollo 1 I space flight. I am not aware of the final distribution of items in Armstrong's PPK. However, the Apollo 11's letter is proof of the authenticity of the 20 Franc coin and chain in your possession."

Also included with this lot is a 1996-dated signed letter from Jay Barbree stating, in full: "During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Trish Butte was a popular entertainer in Cocoa Beach, Las Vegas and Hollywood. She was known as 'The Folksinger To The Astronauts.' Trish counted most of the astronauts among her friends while she developed a close, personal relationship with James Lovell, the backup Apollo 11 Commander to Neil Armstrong. Later, Lovell Commanded the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission for history's most dramatic space rescue. Each Apollo astronaut was permitted to carry 25 pounds of personal mementoes to the moon in their "Personal Preference Kit" known as their PPK. Before Apollo 11's launch, the mission's backup commander, James Lovell, gave Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong Trish's 20 franc coin and chain. As authenticated by the above letter signed by all three members of the Apollo 11 crew, the above 20 franc coin and chain were carried in Neil Armstrong's PPK to the moon's Sea of Tranquility for humankind's first landing on the moon. On December 18th, 1996, Trish passed along the above 20 franc coin and chain to me, a lifetime friend, because she had long admired my Apollo memorabilia collection. A personal, handwritten letter by Trish authenticating the transfer of ownership is in the curator's possession."

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