Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    "Come see us in Leavenworth."

    Deke Slayton 1972 Autograph Letter Signed to Wally Schirra Regarding NASA's Request to View Astronaut PPK Lists, [and] Schirra's James Fletcher Letter on the Subject, Directly from the Family Collection of Wally Schirra. A revealing look at the internal politics at NASA and the DOJ regarding items flown on Apollo missions, brought on primarily by the "Sieger cover" incident of Apollo 15. This letter from Deke to Wally is very personal and depicts the weight of this issue on his mind. On a plain 5" x 8" sheet (front & back), Slayton writes: "Dear Wally, I'm in a head knocker with headquarters on PPK lists. They're demanding I release all lists in preparation for Senate hearing next week & I'm refusing. My position the lists as well as contents are crew property & not my prerogative to release. Legal people tell me if NASA doesn't fire me in meantime, Senate will get me for contempt. My solution is to turn lists over to crew commanders so there is no way they can force them out me. You can burn, use in bathroom or whatever. Possible someone may come to you for them but it's your property & your choice. Only way I would release is to get each crewmans permission & haven't got time for that before they put gun to my head. Gave Walt a copy of this per his request. Your decision whether to clear with other guys or what if pressed. Come see us in Leavenworth. Love, Deke".

    The October 3, 1972-dated two-page typed letter signed on NASA letterhead from James C. Fletcher to Wally Schirra reads as follows:

    "Dear Wally:

    "Recently many questions have been raised concerning materials carried on Apollo flights which were retained by the astronauts following the flights or given by them to others. NASA has requested the Department of Justice to provide a legal opinion as to whether the United States has any claim of ownership or other property interests in these materials.

    "Pending the outcome of this request, we have asked all of the astronauts and former astronauts who are still with NASA to:
    a. Turn all postal covers in their possession in to NASA for safekeeping;
    b. Make an inventory of all personal preference kit items and all other Apollo flight items now in their possession, and provide this inventory to me;
    c. Make no further distribution of any flight items now in their possession;
    d. Keep all of these items in a safe place; and
    e. Refrain from authenticating any items as having been on a space flight.

    "Although you are no longer working with NASA, for the sake of completeness I would appreciate your responding directly to me on these same requests if at all possible. At the very least, I urge you to retain careful control over any Apollo flight items now in your possession until a definitive legal opinion has been developed in this matter.

    "I will, of course, keep you informed of any further developments in this situation. In the meantime, I would like to thank you again for providing me with a list of items carried in your personal preference kit.

    [signed] Jim F
    James C. Fletcher

    A fascinating pair of letters for the Space historian. Slayton letter has rusty paperclip marks, light wear, and mailing folds, very good. Fletcher letter has minor staining along edge and mailing folds, with Schirra's "File" notation, fine. Included with this lot will be a signed Certificate of Authenticity from Wally's son, Walter.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    9th-11th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 594

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $19), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 October 15 Rare Books Signature Auction Featuring the Otto Penzler Collection of Mystery Fiction, Part III - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The resulting auction of my property overwhelmed me. I want to thank Tom Slater and the Heritage team for a very satisfactory experience and profitable result with my historical consignment.
    Henry L.,
    Lexington, KY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2020 February 22 - 23 Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas
    2020 February 22 - 23 Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $2,356,633