By James Rogers
Published May 24, 2019
A commemorative gold brooch that belonged to the wife of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong is up for sale.
Made by jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels, the 18-carat gold brooch is one of three that were presented to Armstrong and his fellow Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins after their historic mission. A fourth brooch was presented to Rose Kennedy, mother of the late President John F. Kennedy.
Worn by Armstrong’s wife Janet, the brooch is shaped to resemble the lunar surface, complete with a textured design that mimics the Moon’s craters and rocky terrain. New Orleans gallery M.S. Rau Antiques is selling the brooch, which is accompanied with a letter of provenance from the Armstrong Family Collection, for $168,500.
“At the center, it’s meant to replicate the Sea of Tranquility, where the Eagle landed,” Lyndon Lasiter, sales consultant for M.S. Rau Antiques, told Fox News. “There’s a white diamond to signify where the Eagle landed and around it, there are five rubies to signify where [Armstrong] walked.”
The reverse side of the brooch is inscribed “Neil Armstrong Sunday, July 20, 1969,” commemorating the day when the astronaut took his famous first steps on the Moon.
Janet Armstrong wore the brooch during the “Giant Leap” global goodwill tour undertaken by the Apollo 11 astronauts and their wives from Sept. 29 to Nov. 5, 1969. A photograph taken during the tour shows her wearing the brooch during when meeting Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace in October 1969.
Only 12 men, all Americans, have walked on the Moon.
July 20, 2019, marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing and lunar missions continue to be a source of fascination.
A checklist that traveled to the surface of the Moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin recently sold at auction in New York for $62,500. In the same auction, three tiny Moon rocks brought back from space by the unmanned Soviet Luna-16 mission were sold for $855,000.
Dec. 21, 2018 also marked the 50th anniversary of the momentous Apollo 8 launch. During a series of historic lunar orbits, NASA astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders became the first humans to see the far side of the Moon.
The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers