Auctions | April 23, 2018

Wernher von Braun 'Man Will Conquer Space Soon' Archive Sells for $98,644 at Auction 

Boston, MA—An archive of signed drawings, diagrams, charts, and letters by Dr. Wernher von Braun sold for $98,644 according to Boston-based RR Auction.

The archive concerning his pioneering ‘Man Will Conquer Space Soon’ series is comprised of a total of 26 items that include; 17 drawings and schematics, two orbital diagrams, four calculations and graph plots, and three autographed letters. All relate to four of the Collier’s articles: ‘Crossing the Last Frontier,’ ‘Man on the Moon: The Journey,’ ‘Man on the Moon: The Exploration,’ and ‘Baby Space Station,’ which appeared in in the magazine between 1952 and 1954. Also includes the four issues of Collier’s magazine associated with the items in the archive. 

Von Braun prepared the original drawings in this archive as reference materials for magazine artists Chesley Bonestell, Fred Freeman, and Rolf Klep, and most are evident as the direct inspiration for the illustrations that grace the pages of Collier’s in the ‘Man Will Conquer Space Soon!’ series.  Von Braun’s skillful drawings are filled with engineering detail to provide the magazine illustrators with scientifically accurate renderings of the spaceships of the future.

In its introduction to the series, Collier’s makes clear: ‘What you will read here is not science fiction.’ Von Braun’s vision was not only fantastic, but scientifically viable—his copious scientific notes and calculations are proof. 

The Collier’s series drew widespread attention to von Braun’s vision of manned spaceflight—after the success of the first issue, he appeared on TV and radio shows around the nation to discuss the subject. He was soon recruited by Walt Disney, and served as a technical advisor for three TV films about space exploration between 1955 and 1957. These broadcasts brought the idea of the space program into American living rooms nationwide. 

“It’s an amazing archive that capture’s Von Braun’s vision that was not only fantastic but scientifically viable—his detailed scientific notes and calculations are proof,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. "I’m not surprised that the archive was able to achieve such an impressive figure with so much renewed interest in the American space program. 

Highlights from the sale include, but are not limited by:

Buzz Aldrin's Apollo 11 Lunar Surface-Flown Double Star Chart sold for $50,618. 

Dave Scott's Apollo 15 Lunar Surface-Flown Combined Lunar Roving Vehicle 'Photo' and 'Contour' Maps sold for $49,889. 

Collection of 109 Shuttle Robbins medallions sold for $49,000. 

Gene Cernan's Apollo 17 Lunar Surface-Used Rover Map sold for $45,353. 

Apollo 1 fully signed crew photograph sold for $34,549. 

Dave Scott’s Lunar Surface-Used Lunar Module Malfunction Procedures Manual sold for $30,202.  

The Space and Aviation Auction from RR Auction began on April 12 and concluded on April 19. For information, visit the RR Auction web site at