Color NASA Photo Signed and Inscribed by Wernher Von Braun Fetches $14,400 in Weiss Auctions’ 2-day Sale, January 26-27
Weiss Auctions burst into the New Year with a two-day, two-session sale on January 26th and 27th, with many lots sailing past their high estimates. A NASA photo signed by German-born American engineer Dr. Wernher Von Braun sold for $14,400, while a collection of 1916-1930 Standing Liberty quarters soared to $161,000. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
“2022 started just as 2021 ended – with a strong auction, one that topped $600,000,” said Philip Weiss of Weiss Auctions. “Day 1 featured historical memorabilia, Hollywood collectibles and advertising. Day 2 was dedicated to stamps and coins. In all, we registered more than 3,000 bidders for the online-only sale. Next up is a comic and comic art sale slated for February 23rd.”
The NASA photo signed by Wernher Von Braun had a conservative pre-sale estimate of $400-$600, but bidders fought fiercely for the 11 inch by 14 inch color photo showing a view of the Earth from the Apollo 8 spacecraft in orbit around the moon. It was inscribed, “To Dr. Herbert Friedman with highest regards, Wernher Von Braun.” The photo was the top earner of Day 1.
While in his 20s and early 30s, Dr. Von Braun worked in Nazi Germany’s rocket development program. He helped design and co-developed the V-2 rocket during World War II but was never charged with any war crimes. To the contrary, he was secretly moved to the United States, along with 1,600 other German scientists, engineers, and technicians, as part of Operation Paperclip.
The collection of 1916-1930 Standing Liberty quarters, missing only the 1927-S quarter, was expected to bring six figures and it did not disappoint, besting the $120,000 high estimate by another $40,000. The circulation issue set was PCGS graded and was listed as one of the top ten sets on the PCGS/NGC Registry (under “EMPIREAA”). It was the auction’s overall top lot.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. Internet bidding was provided by Weiss Auctions’ updated website (www.WeissAuctions.com) with Next Lot for interactive bidding. Bidding was also available through LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. Telephone and absentee bids were also accepted. All prices quoted in this report include the buyer’s premium.
Another Day 1 lot that stormed past its pre-sale estimate (of $100-$200) was a group of 15 Russian military medals, representing various dates and events, that was sold on behalf of the New York County Public Administrators Office, from the estate of Rene Fuss. Once again, eagle-eyed bidders and collectors pounced on the group, driving it to a final price of $11,500.
A circa 1570 close helmet – approximately 14 inches tall and almost certainly English, possibly attributed to an Earl – sold within estimate for $9,300. Close helmets were worn by knights and other men-at-arms in the Late Medieval and Renaissance eras. They were a fully enclosing helmet with a pivoting visor, used by pistol-armed cuirassiers into the middle of the 17th century.
An archive of material pertaining to American actress Lillian Gish (1893-1993) changed hands for $6,325. Included were expired passports, invitations, many letters to-and-from (including Ronald Reagan, Roddy McDowell, Patricia Nixon, John Gielgud and others; an Audrey Hepburn letter; a letter and photos from Eva Marie Saint; a letter from Sir Alec Guinness; and more.
Lillian Gish’s acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 (in silent film shorts) to 1987. She was called “The First Lady of American Cinema” and is credited with pioneering fundamental film performance techniques. She had a leading role in the highest-grossing film of the silent era, D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915). Her final film was The Whales of August (1987).
On to Day 2, where the runner-up top lot to the Standing Liberty quarters collection was a stamp album filled with MNH (mint, never hinged) United States stamps, from the years 1855-1959. The album, from the South Bay Collection, went for 15,500, against an estimate of $8,000-$12,000. The stamps were collected as listed in Scott: blocks of four, panes, strips and more.
A fabulous estate cover collection of 19th to mid-20th century stamps, housed in a three-drawer file, finished at $10,050. Included were examples from South and Central America, Europe and Asia – no British covers, but a nice selection of 1920s-1950s European first day covers, 19th century European covers, 1950s-1960s European first day covers, and flight and zeppelin covers.
A lot of five Morgan silver dollars, all from the Carson City, Nevada Mint and dated 1881-1885, each one graded highly at MS66, gaveled for $8,475 against an estimate of $4,000-$6,000. Morgan silver dollars were minted from 1878-1904, in 1921, and beginning again in 2021. The coin was named after its designer, George T. Morgan, and today is highly prized by collectors.
For more information about Weiss Auctions and the Comic & Comic Art auction slated for Wednesday, February 23, visit www.WeissAuctions.com.