The Personal Archive of Louis Osman, Goldsmith and Architect

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Date of Auction: 27th March 2018

Sold for £22,000

Estimate: £4,000 - £6,000

Louis Osman Archive: A 22ct gold model commemorating the Apollo moon landing, 1969, by Louis Osman and Malcom Appleby, the spherical model of the moon with realistic cratered surface, hallmarked for 22ct gold, London, 1969, bearing Louis Osman maker’s mark and monogramed by Malcom Appleby, with a small calibré-cut diamond inset to indicate the Apollo landing site, in a two part rectangular lead glass display case, moon diameter approximately 57mm, weight 176gm. £4000-6000

Footnote

In July 1969 the world watched as the Apollo mission landed the first men on the moon. Louis was commissioned by a young stockbroker called Simon Horn to make some gold models of the moon to commemorate the occasion. Louis decided to make these using the electro-forming process he had just perfected during the making of the Prince of Wales crown. He again asked the engraver Malcom Appleby to work with him and gave him the task of accurately engraving the steel ball, which would be cast as the mould, with the craters of the moon; Appleby was apparently too busy ‘punching up the Sea of Tranquility’ to watch the actual landing itself on television.

Complications arose with the electro-forming process and the models were never produced commercially as planned. However a small series (between five and 12) were produced and newspapers reported that the first four were sent to the United States and were ‘
presented to Mrs Rose Kennedy, the mother of the late American President, and the three astronauts, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins’. This model remained in Louis’ own possession and took pride of place on the mantelpiece in his dining room.

See: Osman, An exhibition at Canons Ashby, May 1974, cat no 10 or 70.