Sotheby’s(NEW YORK) — A bag used by Neil Armstrong to collect samples of moon dust during the first manned mission to the moon in 1969 was sold for $1.8 million at auction this week.
The 12-by-8.5-inch zippered bag, which still contains traces of the moon dust and has a “LUNAR SAMPLE RETURN” label, was offered in Sotheby’s Space Exploration sale. It was originally expected to fetch between $2 million to $4 million.
Nearly all of the items used in the Apollo 11 mission are a part of the U.S. National Collections at the Smithsonian, which is why the bag is so rare. And its history as being a part of the mission to land a man on the moon wasn’t known until recently.
Nancy Carlson bid on the lot in 2015 for $995 after a small auction house re-listed the bag several times without any bids. She contacted NASA to learn more about the item and scientific tests on the moon dust revealed its connection to Apollo 11.
There was a legal battle over the bag’s ownership, with NASA arguing it belonged “to the American people,” but a federal judge ruled Carlson was the rightful owner since he could not reverse the sale.
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