A rare gold model of the Lunar Module ‘Eagle’ used by the Apollo 11 astronauts to land on the moon will be on display at the Forbes Galleries in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The 6.25-inch-tall replica, made of 18-karat gold by French jeweler Cartier, is one of only three in existence.
Landing on the moon was perhaps one of the greatest achievements of the last century. It feels strange at times that we are unable to repeat the feet that mankind achieved over forty years ago. The Apollo 11 went on a successful mission to the moon way back on in 1969 and the achievement was celebrated all over the world.
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, the astronauts on the mission were feted by one and all. On their visit to Paris, October 1969, they were presented with an intricate Lunar Module’s miniature replica crafted out of solid 18-karat gold. The mementos were specially made to commemorate their achievement.
The golden lunar modules were made by the renowned French jeweler Cartier. It was the French publication ‘Le Figaro’ who had commissioned the French Maison to make these commemorative articles. The intricate models were gifted to the three astronauts in red leather pyramid cases and were inscribed on the lower or descent stage of the lunar module with their name and ‘Les lecteurs du journal Le Figaro’. The publishers had inserted in each of the models a micro film hidden secreted under the descent stage engine, with a list of names of people who had donated money for the project and wanted their names included in the list.
The replicas are a fine piece of art work and required delicate craftsmanship and precision engineering. The models replicated many of the details on Eagle, the lunar module that Armstrong and Aldrin flew to a landing on July 20, 1969. It is not just interesting but very valuable as it is made of solid gold. They can easily find themselves on the list of the most expensive space memorabilia.
Out of the three gold modules two remain as part of private collections but the third piece has been acquired back by Cartier, and have gracefully loaned the rare piece to the Forbes Galleries in New York City’s Greenwich Village for a special exhibition. They are organizing an exhibition called ‘Out of This World! Jewelry in Space Age’. As the name suggests it is an exhibition of space themed jewelry and the golden lunar module will be highlight of the exhibition.
The exhibit, opening this weekend, showcases artistic depictions of humans in space from ancient times to present and includes jewelry crafted from space materials, pieces flown in outer space by astronauts, and much more. ‘Out of this World! Jewelry in the Space Age’ opens Saturday, March 16 at the Forbes Galleries’ dedicated Jewelry Gallery and will remain on display through September 7.