Vintage NASA Photos Head to Auction in London

Neil Armstrong's portrait of Buzz Aldrin with the photographer and the Lunar Module reflected in his gold-plated visor, Apollo 11, July 1969 (detail)
(Bloomsbury)

Bloomsbury Auctions is selling an incredible collection of vintage photographs by NASA’s pioneering astronauts in London on February 26. The selection of photographs, taken in space and on the moon, is from a previously unseen private collection and spans the early days of the Mercury Program to the triumphs of Apollo.

According to Bloomsbury, only a small of the astronauts’ photographs were released to the public and news media each year with the remainder accessible only to accredited researchers in the archives of the Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, from which most of this collection is sourced.

Highlights include the iconic portrait of Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module Eagle (lot 325), William Anders’ spectacular “Earthrise” image from Apollo 8 (lot 315), and the only clear photograph of Neil Armstrong on the Moon (lot 259). All the photographs wear the original NASA stamps, captions, and identification numbers.

Sarah Wheeler, Head of Photographs at Bloomsbury Auctions said: “It's incredible to realise that many photographs in this auction were unknown to the general public for decades until the complete NASA photographic archive began to appear digitally on the internet.

“These photographs are more than merely documentary, many are simply sublime. They represent a golden age in the history of photography as well, when a few men went to the unknown to bring back awe-inspiring pictures. The view of the first Earthrise over the lunar horizon changed Man’s relationship with the cosmos forever.”

View the full catalogue here.