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On the auction block: Haughton man's iconic NASA collection

RR Auction website

A week of pre-bidding is underway for a collection of space memorabilia owned by the late Leon Ford of Haughton, La.

A total of 104 items will be on the live auction block in Boston next week. Ford was considered one of the major collectors of NASA and Apollo artifacts, according to RR Auction executive vice president Bob Livingston. He expects the auction will bring in about $600,000.

“Leon had incredible taste and an eye for significance. So his collection is historically significant, and I think it shows a lot about Leon. Leon bought the best stuff,” Livingston said, who visited Ford’s home ahead of the auction to see his collection packed into a room.

Proceeds will benefit the Ford estate and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Executive director Tammy Knowles-Sudler says a special, separate auction aims to raise $10,000 to establish an astronaut scholarship at Louisiana State University. She says Ford, who died suddenly last year, was very involved with the foundation and wanted to create a scholarship at LSU. She says this auction is generating buzz among collectors.

“I’m anxious to see all of Leon Ford’s different pieces that he has. I’ve heard through the grapevine from many of his dear friends that he has some phenomenal pieces that he has collected over the years. It’s telling a story. It’s telling our space story, and he’s one of the largest collectors of that,” Knowles-Sudler said.

The live auction is set for June 25 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Mass. Livingston says the items span America’s space program and come with letters of authenticity from the astronauts. One of the highlights: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 personal preference kit beta cloth bag.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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