Among the items of space booty collector and CollectSPACE.com founder Robert Pearlman lays out in the living room of his Houston apartment for a visit from USA Today reporter Donna Leinwand Leger: a 200-lb. aluminum hatch made for the International Space Station, a tile from a space shuttle, a thruster from one of the Gemini missions, and the possibly-still-crunchy pièce de résistance: a small plastic package of toasted bread cubes carried by astronaut Michael Collins on the Apollo 11 flight. The croutons came as a throw-in bonus when Pearlman bought a $100 NASA contractor commemorative medallion on eBay several years back. The unopened package is signed by Collins and Buzz Aldrin. On an episode of PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow” 5 years ago, appraiser Gary Piattoni valued the well-traveled condiments at $25,000.
- Interest in space memorabilia soars as shuttle era ends [USA Today]
- Toasted Bread Cubes (Food) [CollectSPACE]
- Space “Junk”: Buying, Owning, and the Law [Antiques Roadshow]