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Original NASA Moon-landing Videos Sell For $1.82 mn At Auction



New York: On July 20, 1969, the world stood still as it witnessed something that until that moment many believed unattainable: the arrival of man on the moon. Original recordings capturing the stunning moment were on Saturday – exactly 50 years later – sold at auction in New York for $1.82 million. Emotions were on full display, eyes fixed to television screens and breaths held when the figure of mission commander Neil Armstrong descended from the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle little by little until he set foot on the moon, followed shortly after by Buzz Aldrin.

Sotheby’s on Saturday paid tribute to the historic moment with an auction in which three original NASA videotape recordings of man’s first walk on the moon recorded that day sold for $1.82 million, reported Efe news. The figure is more than 8,000 times the $217.77 that a NASA intern paid for them in 1976 at a government surplus auction, Sotheby’s said.

Gary George, an engineering student who at the time was interning at NASA, bought 1,150 reels of magnetic tape, among them 65 boxes of videotapes he thought he could sell to a local television station for re-recording. George sold and donated some of the tapes but kept others after his father noticed labels on boxes identifying them as “APOLLO 11 EVA | July 20, 1969 REEL 1 [-3]” and “VR2000 525 Hi Band 15 ips.” The expected price on Saturday for the tapes was between $1-2 million and the bid started at $700,000, a figure that began to rise rapidly to reach $1.5 million at the stroke of the gavel and eventually reached $1.82 million.

For about five minutes, three bidders fought over the phone and online to buy the videos, which were part of an extensive list of items from the Space Exploration auction that also included lots from Russian missions. The three reels – unrestored, unenhanced, and unremastered – are the only survivors of the first generation of the moonwalk recordings and are sharper than the surviving images of the television broadcasts of that time, which have lost both video and audio quality, highlighted Sotheby’s.  There were also photos of the astronauts who traveled to the Moon and a collection of US passports issued between 1954 and 1979 to Armstrong, who died in 2012, which sold for $81,250 with an estimated range of $30,000 to $50,000. (IANS)


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