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Monday, August 30, 2010

Banknote signed by comedian and 'Mercury astronaut' Bill Dana could bring $5,000

All 'eight' Mercury astronauts signed this note - including Alan Shephard, the 5th man on the Moon

One lot in Regency Superior's upcoming October space sale should appeal to space memorabilia collectors, autograph hunters... and perhaps even numismatists.

The item in question is a an original "Short Snorter" $1 bill signed by each of the original Mercury Astronauts: Alan Shepard (later a Moonwalker with Apollo 15), Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, Gordon Cooper and Deke Slayton.

And beside them is the autograph of Bill Dana - one of the best-loved funnymen in America and also the unofficial "8th Mercury astronaut".

Comedian Dana was best-known for his comic creation, the heavily-accented Mexican character named José Jiménez, back in the 1960s.

The original "Short Snorter" $1 bill signed by Mercury's eight astronauts

When America's Mercury Astronauts adopted "José the Astronaut" as their mascot, Dana was chosen to speak the first words ever broadcast to an American entering space.

"Okay José, you're on your way," were Dana's immortal words which cemented his place in space exploration history.

Bill Dana later went on to join the advisory board of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, and has been acknowledged by the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

He was also inducted as the official Eighth Mercury Astronaut at the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame at Titusville, Florida.

This signed photograph of the Mercury 7 astronauts posing with a
model rocket (minus Bill Dana) was sold by Paul Fraser Collectibles,
earlier this year (Click for more information)

According to Regency Superior, "the note is circulated, but is in very presentable condition with all signatures clear in blue or black ink. [It is] scarce and very desirable."

Appearing in the auction with an estimate of $5,000-7,000 (bids open at $2,500) this is a rare chance for investors to acquire the signature of one of America's funniest men, alongside seven of its bravest and most intrepid.

Regency Superior's sale will take place on October 1-3. Online bidding is also available.