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Space Memorabilia Is Up For Auction

Mar 25, 2013 11:25 AM EDT
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When James Lovell of the Apollo 13 mission attempted to sell his lunar module activation checklist in Dallas last year, not only did it fetch $388,375, but the wrath of Congress as well who swiftly informed Lovell that it wasn't his to sell.

Then, on Sept. 25, all of that changed when President Barack Obama signed into a law granting all crew members from NASA's Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions full ownership over any artifacts or memorabilia from their time in space.

The result can be seen in a March 25 auction taking place in New York City in which hundreds of objects are up for the highest bidder.

Included in the sale are Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 flight log, a rocket engine and the paper on which James Lovell calculated the needed propulsion for a safe arrival back on Earth - a moment immortalized in Tom Hanks' Apollo 13.

One of the objects expected to bring in most, however, is a document that has earned the nickname Space Magna Carta. Signed by Russian and American astronauts while in orbit, it remains a stalwart symbol of the end of the space race.

Matthew Haley of Bonhams auction house told Fox News that the competition for the space memorabilia will likely be stiff.

"There's really very limited quality of this material from the 1960s and 1970s and an increasing number of people interested," he said. "It's really pushing prices up."

For those who aren't in the New York area, bidding can be done both over the phone and online at bonhams.com. And while many of the items are coming from other collectors, some are on sale by the astronauts themselves.

One object that will not be up for auction, however, is Moon rocks. According to the law passed by Congress, those will remain the property of the U.S. government.

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