X-15 Rocket Plane: Is this the best signed photo in existence?

Even though I review hundreds of space and aviation autographs every month for clients including RR Auction, JSA, SGC, PSA and others, I always enjoy looking at cool items. Every once-in-a-while something comes along that really knocks me out of my chair... and this X-15 multi-signed photo is one of them.

The X-15 set altitude and speed records in the 1960s. It was a rocket powered plane that flew so high it technically went into outer space. The X-15 test pilots were the cream of the crop, and some went onto becoming astronauts with NASA… most notably Neil Armstrong who flew seven X-15 flights. The X-15 currently holds the world record for the highest speed ever reached by a manned, powered aircraft at 4,520 miles per hour on October 3, 1967.

RR Auction is offering this X-15 photo signed by eleven of the twelve X-15 pilots from the Robert Shaw collection. Robert was a well-known and regarded collector who passed away in 1994. The photo is signed by Neil Armstrong, Joe Walker (d. 1966), John McKay (d. 1975), Bill Dana, Joe Engle, Forrest Peterson, Scott Crossfield, Robert Rushworth, Robert White, Pete Knight, and Milt Thompson. All are deceased except for Joe Engle. Walker and McKay died prematurely making them particularly tough autographs.

To my knowledge, no single item exists that was signed by all twelve X-15 pilots due to the untimely death of Mike Adams in an X-15 crash in 1967. So, eleven of the twelve is probably the best you will ever do. In speaking with other seasoned collectors, I am aware of only one other item signed by eleven.

As of this writing, the photo is at $2,716 with over a week until it closes. Where it ends will be anyone's guess, but I suspect some deep-pocketed collectors will be battling it out.

Steve Zarelli
Zarelli Space Authentication

Views: 1112

Tags: Neil Armstrong, RR Auction, Robert Shaw Collection, Steve Zarelli Space Authentication, X-15

Comment by Pete Bendu on July 8, 2014 at 11:02am

This nowhere near the realm of what I collect, but I can certainly appreciate the signifigance of a great signed item. Thanks for sharing this one Steve.

Comment by Null on July 8, 2014 at 11:32am

Very cool, always enjoying seeing incredibly rare items from genres I am not familiar with. 

Comment by terrier8HOF on July 8, 2014 at 12:36pm
Wow. Incredible.
Comment by Mike Kaminski on July 8, 2014 at 6:43pm
Comment by Steve Zarelli on July 8, 2014 at 7:39pm
Thanks for the comment, Mike and the Yankees photo is very cool. To be clear however, my title was meant to question if this is the best X-15 signed photo in existence... Not the best signed photo overall. I wouldn't attempt to open that can of worms. :-)
Comment by Mike Kaminski on July 8, 2014 at 8:09pm
My mistake :)

Thought that was just your favourite photo in general knowing that you're a big space/aviation guy.
Comment by Mike Owen on July 9, 2014 at 1:49pm

What do you think it will fetch?

Comment by Steve Zarelli on July 9, 2014 at 2:12pm

I was thinking maybe around $4,000 - $5,000... so hard to predict though with items that are almost one-of-a-kind.  I wouldn't be shocked if it went higher.

Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on July 9, 2014 at 2:38pm

That is really cool. I think it could go way higher.

Comment by Ian Baldock on July 9, 2014 at 5:39pm

Me too, nice Armstrong.


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