I was in my teens and twenties when America’s space program was in its prime. Being a fan of both NASA and photography, looking through this 224-page auction catalog immediately brought back the same feelings awe and wonder that I often felt 40 and 50 years ago. The full catalog from Bloomsbury is below and downloadable on my Issuu site.

From the catalog:

Bloomsbury Auctions’ third sale of Space Photography borrows its title from Jules Verne’s prophetic novel of 1865. What Verne was unable to predict was the pioneering work in rocketry of three men who were to turn science fiction into science fact; in Russia, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935), in the United States, Robert Goddard (1882-1945) and in Germany and the United States, Wernher von Braun (1912-1977).

From the Earth to the Moon provides a pictorial record of the epoch-making decades when men and their machines first escaped Earth’s gravity and ventured to another world. This major private collection of over 650 lots is comprehensive in its coverage of the space programme, from the early days of Mercury, through the technical advances of Gemini and Lunar Orbiter, to the triumphs of Apollo.

The sale features both iconic images from the golden age of space exploration and a large number of rare photographs which were virtually unpublished at the time, including one legendary rarity, the only clear photograph of Neil Armstrong on the Moon.

Vintage NASA photos at auction

Vintage NASA photos at auction

After each mission NASA released only a small proportion of the astronauts’ photographs to the public and news media. The remainder were accessible only to accredited researchers in the archives of the Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, from where most of this exceptional collection is sourced. An outstanding strength of the collection is the unusually large number of oversize photographs specially produced by NASA for presentation.

These are complemented by an archive of extremely rare Hasselblad panoramic mosaics of the Moon, taken by the Apollo astronauts both in lunar orbit and on the lunar surface, over 60 in all. Pieced together from individual Hasselblad frames for use by scientists, they provide a spectacular boots-on-the-ground view of the lunar landscape. These panoramas were not easy to produce since the astronauts’ movements on the lunar surface were encumbered by spacesuits and they were unable to align the cameras with a view-finder. Because they were wearing helmets, the cameras were mounted on the chests of the spacesuits. Without the benefit of a view-finder, crews were trained how to point, shoot, turn slightly, point and shoot again until a panorama of overlapping photographs was generated. We know of no such collection ever having been offered at auction.

Finally, this year sees the 50th anniversary of the first EVAs (Extra Vehicular Activities) by Alexei Leonov and Edward White in 1965 and the sale includes Ed White’s personal collection of photographs covering his Gemini 4 spacewalk.

For bidding or additional information:
+ 44 20 7495 9494 | info@bloomsburyauctions.com
Specialist, Sarah Wheeler
Sale administrator, Carolin Rodler