When Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, he famously proclaimed, "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. ”
One area company has taken a step of its own to preserve Armstrong’s legacy. Lakewood Ranch-based Collectibles Authentication Guaranty has certified artifacts from a collection of Armstrong and his family. At an auction in November, about 1,000 items from the collection took in over $5.2 million.
Items included an Apollo 11 lunar module-flown spacecraft identification plate; pieces of the Wright Flyer plane the Wright Brothers flew in 1903 to accomplish the first successful powered flight that Armstrong carried on Apollo 11; and a U.S. flag carried by Armstrong.
CAG is part of the Certified Collectibles Group of companies, which also includes certification services for coins, comic books and stamps. Throughout the group of companies, it employs 60 to 70 full-time experts in various categories, plus a team of outside consultants.
The company got involved with the Armstrong artifacts after CCG Chairman Mark Salzberg was invited to evaluate the Armstrong family estate. Salzberg flew to Ohio see the artifacts and realized they presented an opportunity. That led to the founding in July of the group’s seventh company, CAG.
CCG Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Max Spiegel tells Coffee Talk the Armstrong collection contained a diverse group of artifacts that fell out of the scope of its existing companies. Leadership felt there was room for another type of company that could certify such collections, he says.
Through its certification process, the company guarantees a certain person owned items in a collection, photographs them in high resolution and encapsulates them. Part of the appeal of the company, Spiegel says, is that it doesn’t buy and sell collectibles. “We’re simply an impartial grading and identification service,” he says. “We’re making it easier and safer for people to buy collectibles all around the world.”
Since kicking things off with the Armstrong collection, CAG is considering other collections. “We’re getting a lot of inquiries since we started CAG,” Spiegel says.