COUNTY NEWS: Man ‘over the moon’ with Neil Armstrong autograph

Peter Algar buys Neil Armstrong's signature. Picture: Derek Martin
Peter Algar buys Neil Armstrong's signature. Picture: Derek Martin

It was one small tap of the gavel, but one giant leap for the new owner of a rare Neil Armstrong autograph.

Peter Algar, who lives near the Beaumont Park estate in Littlehampton, beat out international interest to buy the autograph at Campbells auction house in High Street, Worthing last week.

We all felt a bit drowzy but it was a bit of history

Peter Algar

He paid £2,585 for the astronaut’s signature, which was the joint-highest price paid in the auction of more than 1,000 autographs and letters. Every item in the collection was sold with a combined total of £42,376. Click here for more information about the collection.

Mr Algar, 79, also bought seven other signatures, including those of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, which he will add to his existing collection.

The autograph was written on a photo of the moon taken from space during the Apollo 11 landing mission.

He said what attracted him was the ‘miracle of the moon’, and that it was ‘something to hang on the wall’.

The retired secondary school maths teacher remembers where he was when the moon landing happened in 1969.

He said: “I remember staying up all night to watch it so I could talk about it at school the next day. I got in only to find that every child in my class had stayed up too. We all felt a bit drowzy but it was a bit of history.”

Mr Algar found out about the auction after reading the paper – and put in a ‘very reasonable’ commission bid before attending. Then as the bidding war started on the day, his bid was eclipsed – but it only took one more from him to ‘snap it up’.

The collection belonged to magician Jon Evans, who lived in Arundel until his death in 2007. Mr Algar said it was ‘rather nice’ that part of the collection would stay in the area.

His collection began with a signature of Australian cricketer Don Bradman given to him by his mother aged 12. He now has approximately 800 autographs.

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