The photographic self-portrait was taken by the astronaut Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin as he floats above the earth’s atmosphere during a 1966 Gemini mission. His forehead and left eye are illuminated within the outline of his suit and the blue curve of the earth is visible behind him. The photograph is ‘thought to be the first self-portrait taken in space’ according to the Maddox Street auction house, and it is estimated at £800-1200.
Another copy of the image sold at Bloomsbury in 2015, taking £4800 over an £800 high estimate. This example at the upcoming auction comes from a single-owner collection of vintage NASA photographs from the 1965-66 Gemini missions.
The Gemini project, which ran from 1961-66, comprised a series of low-earth-orbit missions used to conduct scientific and medical experiments and to test equipment for the subsequent Apollo missions. The project helped the US pull ahead of the Soviet Union during the Cold War space race.
The sale takes place on September 14.
Also included is a 1681 astronomical reference work by Stanislaw Lubieniecki with engraved illustration providing information about comets. It is estimated at £10,000-15,000. In addition, a typed letter from Nikola Tesla to the editor of The Photogram is estimated to take £1500-1800.
Space-related lots have been popular during the last few years and last week Sotheby’s held its inaugural Space Exploration sale. The highlight there was a lunar sample bag from the Apollo 11 mission. The bag, which contains traces of moon dust, sold to an anonymous bidder for $1.5m.