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Lunar Legacies History
Lunar Legacies History
I had 5 days on this earth to orient myself for the start of the US space program with the Explorer 1 launch on January 31, 1958 - I was born just under the wire.

My father worked from 1959 to 1962 at the Cape, building launch complexes and blockhouses. Then we moved to Montgomery, Alabama - quite an interesting place to grow up in the 1960s. I once trick-or-treated at George Wallace’s personal residence - it was 2 blocks from our house! I went through all grades of school there and then on to Auburn University where I got a BS in Mechanical Engineering. I worked at two different power plants for Alabama Power, and then as a Project Engineer at Air Products Chemicals near Pensacola, Florida.

I lived in Mobile, AL (actually Satsuma, AL - just north of Mobile) my last few years for Alabama Power and for my time at Air Products, where I became interested in collecting space program memorabilia for the first time in the mid 1980s. I began by buying things from Adam Harwood’s space lists he would put out (some will remember him), and also sending photos to some astronauts to sign using the old astronaut address lists put out by Juergen Esders. The first thing I ever got back was from Ed Gibson in 1988.

I eventually started advertising for space things myself. Luckily, Mobile was perfectly situated with an 8 hour drive to Houston, an 8 hour drive to the Cape and a 5 hour drive to Huntsville, and over the years I made the trips probably 50-75 times total. One great collection I bought, however, was just across the bay from Mobile - the guy who flew the $1 and $2 bills on Gemini 3, and had the list of all the serial numbers flown.

I was able to buy some stuff in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and did accumulate some duplication. I sent out my first list to maybe a dozen collectors I knew of at the time, printed out on a dot matrix printer, in 1994. A scan of some of the pages are shown with the buyer's names blocked out - yes, I have kept everything. Not too many sales, and the prices were way too cheap! My last list like this went out in late 1997 when I changed jobs to the one near Pensacola.

At that time in 1997, chatting with people on CompuServe was a big thing, and I had been talking awhile to a women in England named Lynn. She knew about what I did and I told her I couldn't think of a good name for my business, so a couple days later, she emailed me a list of 10 names she had thought of. They were all good, but I picked the name Lunar Legacies, and she said that was her favorite as well.

At that time, I had made a good friend at the Pensacola job, a piping designer and draftsman named Ricky, who had a website that he couldn’t seem to make any money from. This was still early into the internet era, but he was pretty good at it. He convinced me to go online with my space business, and in January 1998 I bought the software FrontPage 98 and began working on it and trying to figure it out. Six months later I uploaded my Lunar Legacies website, using a dial-up connection, with about 500 items listed for sale. Not too many people saw it at first, because at that time you had to submit websites to various search engines, for instance Web Crawler, identify key words, meta search words, etc. Quite a pain. Things have come a long way since then.

The business eventually grew and in September 2001 I was able to quit my job in Pensacola (the round trip drive was 3 hours anyway).

I moved to Merritt Island, FL in January 2002, and in about 2003 or 2004, I talked with my good friend Ken Havekotte several times, who also lived in Merritt Island, about us doing a space memorabilia auction together (I had known Ken long before moving to Florida). The prohibitive costs of printing and mailing a catalog was always a roadblock, however, to actually doing it.

Sometime in 2008, a couple of our space collecting friends with me and my wife Jan were having dinner, and they urged us to do an online auction, such auctions of which were beginning to come online to the internet in those days (hey, no catalog needed!). So on March 14, 2009, we held our first Lunar Legacies online auction at an auction site called Proxibid, later moving to Live Auctioneers for a few auctions, and then settling on Invaluable for the last 12 or so auctions, and at the time of this writing we are on Auction 28.

As you can see, not too many of the good ideas were mine (go online with business, pick the business name, do online auctions), but I know a good idea when I hear one and I ran with them all the best I could. Thanks to everyone who has helped us over the years, and thanks to all collectors out there for sure.