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"That's one small step for a man..."

Neil Armstrong Autograph Quote Signed beneath Mounted Sheet of "First Man on the Moon" Stamps, with Typed Letter Signed. A 10.5" x 13.5" page (sight size) bearing a sheet of thirty-two 10ยข airmail stamps (Scott #C76) celebrating the Apollo 11 mission; Armstrong has signed beneath: "That's one small step for a man/ & one giant leap for mankind-/ Neil Armstrong/ -Apollo 11-". Note that this is the quote as Armstrong intended it to be, with the "a" before "man". On January 28, 1970, Tom Pugh, the associate editor of the Peoria Star Journal, wrote a letter to Neil Armstrong (file copy included). He was preparing to publish an article in their Weekender magazine about the new jumbo "Man on the Moon" stamps and wanted the moonwalker to sign a sheet of them; at the same time, he wanted to clear up the exact text of Armstrong's legendary utterance. Armstrong saw fit to answer the request and sent the mounted stamps back with "correct" version of his quote handwritten and signed at the bottom. It was reproduced as the front cover for the Peoria Journal Star Weekender Magazine, June 6, 1970, issue (two copies included).

This editor then mounted a copy of the front cover and sent it to Armstrong for his collection. Included in this lot is Armstrong's reply in the form of a typed letter signed, one page, dated January 22, 1971, on NASA letterhead, Washington, D.C. (transmittal envelope included). It reads, in full: "I wish to extend belated, but sincere, thanks for your kind letter and the mounted 'Weekender' cover page. You were most thoughtful to provide me with a copy for my personal collection of mementoes. Many thanks to you, and best wishes for a pleasant and profitable 1971. [signed] Neil Armstrong [as] Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, Office of Advanced Research and Technology". This is most certainly one of the most familiar phrases in the history of mankind. Interestingly, it is misquoted essentially every time it's used. This is one of the most unique Space collectibles we've offered. Don't miss out on this one. Framed to an overall 12.75" x 15.75". Excellent condition.

The text of the original request letter is as follows:

"This newspaper is preparing to publish in our Weekender magazine an illustrated article on America's "jumbo" postage stamps. The Post Office Department tells me that the "First Man On The Moon" stamp is its proudest achievement, and we want to feature it on our Weekender cover.

"The cover would be spectacular if you would personally autograph the sheet of stamps I have enclosed.

"If you could write at the bottom in the box we have drawn your famed message from the moons we would have an excellent cover (and, I might add, a precious keepsake for me).

"Our news reports carried your statement as: 'That's one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind,' but I believe that you later said your actual words were 'That's one small step for a man and one giant leap for mankind.' The correct statement in your own hand would clear it up.

"I have written the statement a couple times myself, and it would seem best to take two lines to write it:
That's one small step for a man
and one giant leap for mankind
(and then your signature)

"There is also attached a special pen which will make reproduction of your message and signature come through clearly.

"For purposes of the story, I would be interested in knowing if many persons have asked you to sign the stamp and if there is something which particularly stands out in your memory in connection with the handling of the 'die' on your trip to the moon. Are you a stamp collector yourself?

"I have enclosed a self-addressed, stamped envelope for you to return the sheet. I hope you see fit to sign it.

"Thank you for your consideration and thank you for the skill and bravery you have exhibited for the benefit of all mankind."

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Auction Dates
November, 2012
2nd Friday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 3,824

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Heritage did an excellent job cataloging the collection, and the proceeds were beyond our greatest expectations!
Roberta Senderov,
Claremont, CA
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