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.
Zarelli Space Authentication