The one and only gold Robbins medal from the collection of Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the Moon, was sold for a record US$2m at Heritage auction. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, the sale offered this unique gold medal flown to the Moon by Neil Armstrong aboard Apollo 11 as the star lot.
The present medal that belonged to the First Man to Walk on the Moon came directly from the family, sealed in a numbered archival holder, CAG 1000011-001. The reverse has the dates of the mission, surnames of the crew, and the gold hallmark. It carried a pre-sale estimate of US$100,000.
The bidding saw strong interest from online bidders and phone bidders. The auctioneer started the bidding at US$280,000 and put the hammer down at US$1.7m after a prolonged bidding battle that lasted 8 minutes. It was sold to a telephone bidder for US$2,055,000, setting a new world record price for a lunar flown medal.
The Robbins Medal tradition has a fascinating history which began in 1968 when Walt Cunningham of Apollo 7 initiated a relationship with the Robbins Company and commissioned a special commemorative memento made to take with him on his flight into space. As the jeweler began the task, a number of the other astronauts heard about Cunningham's idea and also wanted to order one or more of the medallions bearing the insignias and dates for each mission.
According to the auction house, it has offered silver Robbins Medals from Apollo 11 starting 2007 and they sold in the US$15,000 - $20,000 price range. Their significance has increased in time and the prices can be driven up to as much as $112,500.
Armstrong on the moon
There were 450 silver medallions flown in the Command Module Columbia, but only three gold examples were taken and went to the surface of the moon in the Lunar Module Eagle. The present 28mm medal was one of only three specially-minted gold medals flown aboard Apollo 11. The other two medals that also flown aboard Apollo 11, which were formerly owned by Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, now reside in permanent private collections.
Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 Lunar Module Gold Robbins Medal
Lot no.: 50067
Hammer price: US$1,700,000
Price realised: US$2,055,000
Auction house: Heritage Auctions
Sale: The Armstrong Family Collection III Space Exploraton
Date: 16 - 18 July 2019