Lot 271: Autographs: Richard Gordon

RR Auction

January 20, 2011
Amherst, NH, US

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Description: Autographs: Richard Gordon Vintage color calendar photo of Playboy Playmate Miss August 1967, DeDe Lind, which was stowed away in the Apollo 12 command module Yankee Clipper during its November 1969 voyage to the moon. Measuring approximately 4.5 x 6.5, the topless image is an original taken from one of the 1969 calendars published by Playboy and features the month and year of the Apollo 12 mission-November 1969. Prior to the mission, it was affixed to a cardboard cue card and, unbeknownst to the crew, secreted onboard their spacecraft. Normal wear as one would expect from an object that made the approximately 475,000 mile round-trip journey to the moon and back, this flown iconic piece of 1960s pop culture still retains its Velcro strips which were used to affix it inside the spacecraft. As provenance, signed in black felt tip on the reverse by the mission's command module pilot, "Flown on Apollo XII. Richard Gordon, CMP." Accompanying as provenance is a 2009 COA signed by Gordon that reads in part: "This is to certify that the accompanying 4.5" x 6.25" cue card...did, indeed, accompany me on my trip to the moon in the Command Module Yankee Clipper aboard the historic Apollo 12 lunar landing mission...This cue card, which flew with me to the moon, has been in my sole possession and part of my personal space collection since my return from the moon in 1969 aboard America's second lunar landing mission, and it remains one of the all-time greatest Apollo era astronaut 'Gotcha's!'" Also accompanied by a color 8.5 x 11 photo signed with a somewhat racy yet firmly tongue-in-cheek inscription by Lind, referencing her image's journey to the moon. The 'flight of the Playboy bunnies' has gone down in astronaut lore as one of the most iconic astronaut pranks. As fellow Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean explored the lunar surface-with small black-and-white photocopied Playboy images pasted into the wrist cuff checklists of their spacesuits-Gordon was left alone onboard the command module to circle the moon. It was there, in the silence and loneliness of lunar orbit, that he discovered his surprise stowaway crew 'mate.' This cue card was affixed via Velcro strips to the inside of one of his command module lockers. A uniquely risqué item from a successful risky space voyage-this flown artifact remains one of only two known original Playboy bunny color likenesses to have made it to the moon and back!
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