On 16 July, 40 years to the week after the first manned Moon landing on 20 July 1969, lunar spaceflight memorabilia are being offered at auction in New York City by Bonhams New York. The auction includes artifacts from all the Apollo manned missions.

Among the roughly 400 items on offer will be a lunar dust brush, scale models of spacecraft by engineer Maxime Faget, checklists, and “insurance” postal covers. A letter (also in the sale) from Buzz Aldrin explains that he and the two other Apollo 11 astronauts signed the postal covers, which were postmarked the day of launch; the idea was for their families to sell them if the mission ended in disaster.

One item that Bonhams expects to fetch as much as $300 000 is a flight vehicle attitude hand controller assembly (see photo) from the Apollo 15 lunar module. Lunar modules were not designed to return...

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