Items that once belonged to Neil Armstrong have drawn more than $12 million in bids, but are sparking controversy among people who knew him
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- Neil Armstrong's sons are selling off artifacts that once belonged to the famous first man on the moon.
- A gold medal that went with the astronaut to the moon recently sold for more than $2 million.
- In total the auctions of Armstrong's artifacts have brought in more than $12.1 milion.
- The sales have sparked controversy among some of those who knew Armstrong; they believe he would have disapproved of the attempt to cash in on his fame.
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Items that once belonged to Neil Armstrong - the first man on the moon - are fetching some sky high prices at auction.gold commemorative medal that flew with with Armstrong on Apollo 11 sold for more than $2 million. A plaque that included an identification plate from the lunar module from that mission sold for $468,500. And a piece of one of the propellers from the Wright brothers' Flyer - the first powered airplane - that Armstrong also took with him to the moon sold for $275,000.
All told the items from Armstrong's collection have garnered more than $12.1 million over the course of three different auctions held since November by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions. The most recent, which featured the gold medal, was held earlier this month to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 mission.
"The response from admirers of Mission Commander Armstrong's contribution to humanity has been simply overwhelming," Michael Riley, Heritage's director of space exploration, said in a press release.
Heritage will hold a fourth auction of items from Armstrong's collection on November 14 and 15.
The auctions have sparked controversy
In addition to attracting interest and big bids, the auctions have also drawn controversy, according to The New York Times. None of the items are known to have been offered by Carol Armstrong, the astronaut's second wife, according to The Times. And several people who knew Armstrong believe he would have felt that the attempt to cash in on his fame was unseemly.
Armstrong stopped signing autographs in 1994 after he discovered that some people were turning around and selling the documents he'd autographed, The Times reported. He also rejected numerous offers to profit from his fame, according to the report.
The items were put up for auction by Rick and Mark Armstrong, the astronaut's sons, the Times reported. Mark and his wife defended the sales, telling The Times that what mattered was what they did with the money, not what happened to the items. The brothers have donated nearly $2 million in cash and artifacts to museums, according to the report. Meanwhile, Mark and his wife have set up an environmental nonprofit called Vantage Earth in honor of his parents.
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