The Mercury and Gemini models were manufactured by the Precise Model Company of Elyria, Ohio. Formed in 1960, Precise went on to make many classic aerospace models which found their way on the desks of executives, pilots and astronauts alike.
Manufactured under contract to the Grumman Corporation (prime contractor for the Apollo Lunar Module) these models were gifted to astronauts, dignitaries and VIPs alike. I understand they were available to employees from the company gift store. It is not known how many were made in total but it is believed production stopped circa 1972 and best guesstimates suggest 5000 were manufactured.
An order dated 1972 from the Grumman Corporation for 500 Lunar Module models.... at $21.44 at piece.
Whatever the number, these models remain popular among collectors and crop up regularly at estate sales, popular on-line auction sites and regular specialist auction houses.
I am certain the Grumman contractors model was the inspiration for the gold model made by renowned jewelers Cartier, and gifted to the Apollo 11 crew during the post mission world tour. Sadly, I don't own the Cartier version.
I acquired this Apollo Command and Service module model from Skylab astronaut Paul Weitz. Made from injected-molded plastic and white painted metal by the Walter J.Hyatt Company for North American Rockwell, prime NASA contractor for the Apollo Command and Service modules.
A commemorative tableau made by the Danbury Mint circa 1999.
I am very much a fan of the early Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, but I am slowly beginning to appreciate the accomplishments of the space shuttle era: helped in no small measure by this desk top model.
It has the distinction of having been signed by the first female shuttle pilot and shuttle commander, Eileen Collins. Photo credit Annie Leibovitz.