Less than a week after the 53rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the jacket retired astronaut Buzz Aldrin was wearing when he set foot on the moon has sold for a record-breaking $2,772,500.
The in-flight coverall jacket features the historic Apollo 11 mission emblem and "E. Aldrin" for his full first name, Edwin. It is made of a fireproof, tightly woven silica fiber called Beta Cloth used in the production of Apollo spaceflight suits.
The sale, which took place at Sotheby's in New York on Tuesday, made the garment the most expensive jacket sold at auction, as well as the most valuable American artifact flown in space, according to a statement from Sotheby's.
The jacket was the top lot in the Buzz Aldrin: American Icon sale that included a small collection of Aldrin's other personal belongings and historic NASA items from the Apollo 11 mission and his career. It was expected to fetch up to $2 million. The garment was bid on for nearly 10 minutes, according to Sotheby's, and is the only flown garment from the Apollo 11 mission in private hands. The jackets worn by fellow crew members Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins are both now housed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Other items sold include Aldrin's famous "Go Army, Beat Navy" banner exposed to the vacuum of space during his 1966 Gemini XII spacewalk that sold for $27,720 (estimate: $20,000-$30,000); a "systems activation checklist" for the mission that sold for $567,000 (estimate: $150,000-$250,000); Aldrin's Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction presented to him by Richard Nixon, which sold for $277,200 (estimate: $20,000-$30,000); and the United States flag flown to the moon on Apollo 11 that sold for $252,000 (estimate: $15,000-$20,000).
Following his crewmate Armstrong, Aldrin, now 92, became the second person to ever set foot on the moon in 1969.
"This collection is the reflection of a man of incredible strength and drive, a man who has faced times of adversity with determination and perseverance, and who remained logical and level-headed, even in moments of great peril,” Sotheby’s Global Head of Science & Popular Culture Cassandra Hatton said ahead of the sale.
In a press statement, Aldrin said that the collection represents the "summation" of his career as an astronaut.
"After deep consideration, the time felt right to share these items with the world, which for many are symbols of a historical moment, but for me have always remained personal mementos of a life dedicated to science and exploration," Aldrin said. "I hope that this collection offers some insight into what it has been like to be Buzz Aldrin."
For more information, visit sothebys.com.