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Ed White II: His West Point 14K Gold Ring, Returned to the Family after his Death in the Apollo 1 Tragedy, along with Ten Must...

2012 November 2 Space Exploration Signature Auction - Dallas #6082

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Auction Ended On: Nov 2, 2012
Item Activity: 6 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Flown on the Gemini 4 mission.
Ed White II: His West Point 14K Gold Ring, Returned to the Family after his Death in the Apollo 1 Tragedy, along with Ten Mustard Seeds Flown on Gemini 4, with Handwritten LOA from Ed White III. The heavyweight 14K gold 1952 West Point class ring that Ed White II wore on his left ring finger (closest to his heart) from the time he received it to, literally, the day he died. Based on the "LGB" hallmark, it was made by the L. G. Balfour Company. Engraved on the inside is the following: "Colonel Ed. H. White II/ United States Mil. Forces". On one side of the ring is found the West Point Crest; on the other is the crest for that particular 1952 graduating class. This ring was returned to the family after his tragic death in the Apollo 1 launchpad test accident (tag included). We examined dozens of NASA and family photos of White and he is wearing this ring in every single photo we could find. Included with this lot will be a group of modern prints of some of these images. It's hard to imagine owning a more important personal item from this astronaut hero. Condition is fair, as to be expected with a ring that was worn daily for fifteen years.

Also in this lot are ten of the small group of mustard seeds he carried in his spacesuit pocket during his landmark spacewalk during Gemini 4. These seeds, a symbol of White's religious faith, were in a pocket of White's spacesuit while he walked in space. In the Bible's New Testament, there are several examples of Jesus using the mustard seed as a model of the growth of the Kingdom of God from an extremely tiny seed to the largest of all garden plants, as well as an example of the tiny amount of faith needed to accomplish much.

Included with this lot is a handwritten letter of authenticity from Edward H. White III. It reads, in full: "My father, Edward H. White II, was part of a family that had a long and proud history in various branches of the military. In addition to my grandfather's career in the Army/ Air Force (retired as a Major General), two of my great uncles has solid careers in the Army and Marines. West Point had graduated two members of my family and there was no question that my dad would try to attend as well- and he did- as part of the class of 1952. Graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point was one of the highlights of his life and his West Point class ring was almost never removed from his finger after graduation. I can remember seeing him wear it as I was growing up. Throughout his early astronaut training and his subsequent Apollo 1 training he wore the ring proudly as a sign of his heritage. Many NASA photos (copies included) document the fact that he wore the ring at all astronaut training activities up to and including the Apollo 1 'Plugs-Out' test on January 27, 1967, in which he lost his life. The ring was returned to our family after the Apollo 1 fire and has been in our ownership since that time. The ten mustard seeds were flown on Gemini IV, and carried into space on America's first EVA as a testament to my father's faith. He sent a letter to Norman Vincent Peale discussing his faith prior to the flight and Dr. Peale responded (copy enclosed)."

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Service and Handling Description: Miscellaneous Collectibles, Small (view shipping information)

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