CINCINNATI -- Forty-two rare and unique lots of memorabilia commemorating the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong -- from a damaged propeller off one of his personal planes to six paintings of the lunar landing by Serbian children -- are being auctioned online by Cincinnati-based Everything But the House.
The items, most of which are original artwork, come from artists from around the planet and are done in a variety of media: oil paint, lithography, photography, etching, aquatint, metal, carved slate, glass and cardboard. Bidding ends at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Armstrong, whom historians have described as a reluctant American hero, died at age 82 in August 2012. He had been living in Indian Hill.
Throughout his life following the moon walk, the one-time University of Cincinnati aeronautical engineering professor (1971-79) steadfastly refused to turn his fame into financial gain, making this auction of his personal belongings rare.
Most of the commemorative pieces were created and sent to Armstrong shortly after the July 20, 1969, touchdown of the Apollo 11 mission's Eagle lunar module and over an extended period when Armstrong's feat was the talk of the world.
There is no Picasso or Dali on the block, but a few of the works are by listed artists, and many are being sold with personal letters to Armstrong.
"There are some really nice artists in there," said Jacquie Denny, co-founder and development director of EBTH. "(The moon walk) is just a very historically significant story to relate … People all over the word did paintings and graphics and sent them to thank him for his accomplishment as an American."
The memorabilia were amassed by a private, anonymous collector in Lebanon. Silent bids must be placed on the members-only EBTH website. Registration is free.
Among the 42 lots are the following:
-- An "oil steel" painting of Armstrong's initial step on the moon by French-Canadian Rene Brochard (1926- ). Brochard, whose style defies categorization, invented the "oil steel" technique, which involves incorporating semi-sculptured steel into the painting's relief texture and design, extending shadows and lines beyond the frame.
-- A set of 12 "Moonshot" pedestal glasses (shot on bottom, tumbler on top) with red, white and blue imagery that includes Armstrong standing aside the Eagle and the words "Man on the Moon July 20, 1969" and "Liquid Fuel Red Line." The maker of the glasses is unknown, but a single "Moonshot" listed recently on eBay for $17.99.
-- Four silver gelatin photographs of the Aug. 13, 1969, ticker-tape homecoming parade for the Apollo 11 crew, which included moonwalker Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Columbia command module pilot Michael Collins. One shows the heroes riding in an open car and waving to the crowd along a littered street.
-- A corrugated-cardboard play set by Perry Art of Cleveland that assembles into the lunar module with control panel, a probe for collecting samples, a radar arm, a moon plaque and the footprints left on the moon's surface by Armstrong and Aldrin.
-- An unframed, matted color photograph of the Air Force Thunderbirds flying in formation over Hoover Dam inscribed in paint: "To: Neil Armstrong, With sincere best wishes, the USAF Thunderbirds." Its matte board is signed by seven Thunderbirds pilots.
Armstrong art in public
Armstrong fans -- both auction winners and otherwise -- have also had the opportunity to honor his accomplishment every day since the Aug. 21 dedication of a boldly colored ArtWorks mural painted on the Walnut Street side of the headquarters of Fifth Third Bank between Fifth and Sixth streets, Downtown.