NGC and CAG Certify Complete Fliteline Medal Set from the Armstrong Family Collection™

The medals from 11 Space Race missions will be sold at auction Nov. 1-2.

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) and Collectibles Authentication Guaranty™ (CAG™) have certified an incredible complete collection of space-flown Fliteline Medals from the Armstrong Family Collection™. The collection contains a group of thousands of items saved by astronaut Neil Armstrong and his immediate family.

Heritage Auctions will sell the medals and other Armstrong Family Collection items Nov. 1-2.

Fliteline medals were struck as mementos for the astronauts to take with them into space, and typically engraved with mission dates after their return. They are called Fliteline medals because that word was printed on the original packaging.

Before Armstrong's famous Apollo 11 mission, he was a Gemini astronaut, training as backup command pilot on Gemini 5 and Gemini 11, and traveling into space as command pilot on Gemini 8.

Together, this complete set tells the story of the Gemini Program in the mid-1960s, which laid the groundwork for the Apollo Program that sent people to the surface of the moon. Read on to learn more about these extraordinary pieces of numismatic history.

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Mission name: Gemini 3
The date: March 23, 1965
The astronauts: John Young, Gus Grissom
Mission notes: After two unmanned missions, this was the first manned launch of the Gemini Program, with the astronauts completing three orbits of Earth.
The insignia: It shows the Gemini caspule floating in water, which is where all American spacecraft of the Space Race landed after their mission. The Molly Brown is the name the astronauts gave their craft, a reference to "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," a musical about a Titanic survivor. (Grissom's previous Mercury Program capsule sank prematurely after splashdown.)
The medal: This Gemini 3 Fliteline Medal (1965 Flown Gilt/Sterling), graded NGC MS 63 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection, is part of the first auction.

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Mission name: Gemini 4
The date: June 3-7, 1965
The astronauts: James McDivitt, Ed White
Mission notes: White made the first spacewalk by an American.
The insignia: There was no official Gemini 3 or Gemini 4 mission insignia. The Gemini 4 Fliteline Medal design reflects the astronauts' plan to name their craft American Eagle. NASA officials rejected the idea because they were unhappy with the Gemini 3 nickname.
The medal: This Gemini 4 Fliteline Medal (1965 Flown Sterling), graded NGC MS 63 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection, is part of the first auction.

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Mission name: Gemini 5
The date: August 21-29, 1965
The astronauts: Gordon Cooper, Charles "Pete" Conrad
Mission notes: This was the first weeklong spaceflight. Neil Armstrong trained as backup command pilot.
The insignia: As a tribute to the pioneering spirit of the record length of the spaceflight, Cooper chose a covered wagon, with 8 Days or Bust on it. Worried the slogan set the bar too high, NASA ordered it to be covered up on official mission patches.
The medal: This Gemini 5 Fliteline Medal (1965 Flown Sterling), graded NGC MS 64 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection, is part of the first auction. (The reverse is blank.)

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Mission name: Gemini 6A
The date: December 15-16, 1965
The astronauts: Walter Schirra, Thomas Stafford
Mission notes: This mission was originally scheduled to launch in October, with a goal of rendezvousing in orbit with an unmanned target vehicle. That vehicle exploded several minutes after it was launched, scrubbing the orignal mission.
The insignia: In addition to the astronauts' names, the six-sided insignia has GTA-6 on the front (for Gemini, their craft; Titan, the rocket that lauched them; and Agena, the name of the target vehicle that exploded). At the center is an illustration of the Gemini craft chasing the target vehicle.
The medal: This Gemini 6 Fliteline Medal (1965 Flown Gilt), graded NGC MS 64 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection, is part of the first auction.

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Mission name: Gemini 7
The date: December 4-18, 1965
The astronauts: Frank Borman, Jim Lovell
Mission notes: This two-week flight shattered the previous record for the longest spaceflight. Near the end of the mission, Gemini 7 served as the target vehicle for Gemini 6A, allowing it to complete its original mission of first rendezvous in space.
The insignia: The insignia shows an Olympic torch, part of the tradition of carrying the Olympic flame from Greece to the host site of the modern Olympic Games, on a journey typically lasting weeks.
The medal: This Gemini 7 Fliteline Medal (1965 Flown Gilt/Sterling), graded NGC MS 65 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection, is part of the first auction.

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Mission name: Gemini 8
The date: March 16, 1966
The astronauts: Neil Armstrong, David Scott
Mission notes: This was the first docking in orbit, conducted with an Agena target vehicle. After the docking, the joined vessels started yawing. Then, once the vessels undocked, the Gemini capsule began to spin faster. Armstrong saved the mission by shutting down the primary manuevering system and using a different system to fire thrusters to steady the craft.
The insignia: The colorful insignia shows a spectrum representing various goals to be accomplishing on the mission. These included a spacewalk that never happened due to the nearly disastrous spin that forced the mission to end early.
The medal: This Gemini 8 Fliteline Medal (1966 Flown Sterling) is one of two graded NGC MS 64 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection that is part of the first auction. A third example is graded NGC MS 63.

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Mission name: Gemini 9A
The date: June 3-6, 1966
The astronauts: Thomas Stafford, Eugene Cernan
Mission notes: Sadly, the original crew, Elliot See and Charles Bassett, perished in a plane crash a few months before the launch. The mission itself was hampered by equipment troubles. The primary objective of docking with a target vehicle had to be abandoned because its nose fairing had failed to detach. A spacewalk was hindered by an unwieldy spacesuit.
The insignia: The unique shield shape shows the Gemini capsule next to the Agena target vehicle, with a spacewalking astronaut in the foreground.
The medal: This Gemini 9 Fliteline Medal (1966 Flown Sterling), graded NGC MS 64 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection, is part of the first auction.

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Mission name: Gemini 10
The date: July 18-21, 1966
The astronauts: John Young, Michael Collins
Mission notes: The mission consisted of two rendezvous. The first was with an Agena target vehicle that gave them a boost to the highest a manned spacecraft had traveled, over 400 nautical miles up. They also met up with the Agena from Gemini 8. Collins conducted two spacewalks, one with each Agena.
The insignia: Reminiscent of the Gemini Program insignia, the Gemini 10 insignia features the Roman numeral X, with two stars. The stars can represent the two-person Gemini craft, as well as the double rendezvous in orbit, the first time that had been accomplished.
The medal: This Gemini 10 Fliteline Medal (1966 Flown), graded NGC MS 64 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection, is part of the first auction.

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Mission name: Gemini 11
The date: September 12-15, 1966
The astronauts: Charles "Pete" Conrad, Richard Gordon
Mission notes: The mission achieved the highest orbit (with an apogee of over 800 miles) of any manned spacecraft. By comparison, today's International Space Station orbits at about 250 miles. The direct-ascent rendezvous and docking with an Agena target vehicle, accomplished an hour and a half into the mission, was a rehearsal for the maneuver needed after a liftoff from the moon's surface.
The insignia: The Roman numeral for 11 is shown stretching far above Earth. The stars represent the direct rendezvous, the docking and the record orbit. The floating astronaut is a nod to the mission's two spacewalks.
The medal: This Gemini 11 Fliteline Medal (1966 Flown Sterling), graded NGC MS 64 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection, is part of the first auction.

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Mission name: Gemini 12
The date: November 11-15, 1966
The astronauts: Jim Lovell, Buzz Aldrin
Mission notes: Before the final Gemini mission, astroanuts' ability to work outside their spacecraft was an area that still needed improvement. Aldrin conducted three spacewalks on three different days, demonstrating that tasks could be performed efficiently.
The insignia: The simple design shows the Gemini capsule couched by two soon-to-be-famous names in space exploration. Aldrin became the second person to walk on the moon, while Lovell heroically commanded the Apollo 13 mission, which survived an explosion en route to the moon.
The medal: This Gemini 12 Fliteline Medal (1966 Flown), graded NGC MS 62 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection, is part of the first auction.

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Mission name: Apollo 1
The date: 1967
The astronauts: Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger Chaffee
Mission notes: In NASA's darkest day of the Space Race, a fire in the Apollo 1 capsule killed all three astronauts as they took part in a launch pad rehearsal on February 21, 1967. The Apollo 1 mission would have been a test in Earth orbit of the Apollo Command/Service Module design eventually used for the moon landing missions. Manned Apollo missions did not resume until October 1968, with the Apollo 7 mission. Beginning with that mission, the successors to the Fliteline Medals, called Robbins Medals, were struck by the Massachusetts-based Robbins Company for astronauts to take into space.
The insignia: An Apollo capsule is seen far above Cape Canaveral, with the moon just beyond the curve of the Earth. The names of the astronauts are on the reverse, along with the name of the never-launched Apollo 1 mission. Armstrong later took a gilt Apollo 1 Fliteline Medal with him on the Apollo 11 moon landing mission in 1969.
The medal: This Apollo 1 Fliteline Medal (1967 Gilt - Apollo 11 Lunar Module Flown), graded NGC MS 64 and certified by CAG as part of the Armstrong Family Collection, is part of the first auction. (There is no mission date engraved on the reverse.)


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