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Scarce Apollo 11 Cartier gold lunar module replica set to sell

Heading into RR Auction's Nov. 16 sale, it appears one object of space memorabilia is expected to soar into the stratosphere once bidding begins. See which item it is...

BOSTON, MA – Buzz Aldrin's Apollo 11 Cartier solid gold Lunar Module replica will come to auction through Boston-based RR Auction Nov. 16. Internet bidding is open now. 

French Support Fuels Replica Creation

Gold lunar module replica

Cartier-made solid gold lunar module replica up for bid through RR Auction Nov. 16. (Photo courtesy RR Auction)

The replica is the work of the legendary jewelry company Cartier. Three of the solid gold models of the Lunar Module Eagle were commissioned by the French newspaper Le Figaro. Presentation of the replicas to the Apollo 11 astronauts took place during post-flight visit to Paris in October 1969. In addition, the newspaper asked its readers to contribute to the cost of producing them. Donations poured in from around the nation—10 francs, 20 francs, or whatever they could afford.

The astronauts’ visit to Paris came as part of their ‘Giant Step’ international goodwill tour. Apollo II crew's tour involved 24 countries in 45 days. In the celebratory mania that ensued, one hundred million people turned out to see the crew. Because they are a team who had performed man’s greatest triumph—a journey to the moon and back.

“Intricately reproducing the iconic Lunar Module in solid gold and presented to one of the first men on the moon, this is a spectacular piece of the utmost rarity,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

Gift for Apollo II Crew

A black presentation plaque, “Les lecteurs du journal Le Figaro a Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr.,” is affixed to

Apollo II team with replicas during Paris tour

Circa 1969: Michael Collins, American astronaut, with Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, the first astronauts to land on the moon, seen in Paris. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

the front of the model. Also, the ascent stage can be lifted from the descent stage. In addition, the descent stage engine lifts from the bottom to reveal a small capsule. Finally, within is a roll of microfilm with the names of Le Figaro’s subscribers and supporters who underwrote the replicas.

Only three of these models initially exist. Michael Collins's example was reacquired by Cartier and today remains a part of the Cartier Collection. In addition, it is depicted in the impressive hardcover volume Cartier and America, included in this lot.

"The Apollo 11 Moon landing remains one of the greatest achievements of mankind in the second half of the 20th Century,” said Bobby Livingston Executive VP at RR Auction. “This solid gold Cartier model is a spectacular piece that pays a fitting tribute to the bravery of the Apollo 11 astronauts.”

Additional Auction Highlights

Apollo 11 American flag carried to the moon, signed by the entire crew, "Neil Armstrong," "Buzz Aldrin," and "M. Collins." The flag also features the signature, flight-certified in black felt tip, of Aldrin, "Flown on Apollo XI, Buzz Aldrin." Of the few fully signed Apollo 11 flown flag presentations we have encountered, this is the only example to boast the additional inscription by Aldrin on the flag itself.

Buzz Aldrin-written letter

Buzz Aldrin 1964 handwritten letter regarding the U.S. space program.

Furthermore, there is a Buzz Aldrin letter with the date of 1964. In it, the rookie Aldrin writes “Our space program will stimulate the inventiveness of our scientists and engineers, the creativity of our scholars, the emotions of our artisans, the economy of our industry and nation, the imagination of our youth and the wisdom of our leaders.”

Apollo 11 flown page from the Lunar Module Activation Checklist with Neil Armstrong notations, "Go to Descent,” listing steps to prepare for undocking with the Command Module Columbia prior to the lunar landing.

In conclusion, Buzz Aldrin's said in a letter discussing the view from the Moon, "The view was fantastic—very stark and absolutely without any color, just black and shades of gray, yet, very sharp!”

Finally, The Space Exploration Auction from RR Auction concludes on November 16. For more information, visit

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