Recently, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Yes, you read it right. On July 20, 1969, for the first ever time in the history a man stepped on the moon and that was none other than Neil Armstrong. Original recordings capturing the stunning moment were on Saturday, exactly 50 years later, sold at auction in New York for a whopping $1.82 million.
The auction was aired on television and the people watched it with full emotions. Breaths were held by the viewers soon after 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.
According to a report by Efe news, Sotheby’s 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. It is to be noted that 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.
The report further stated that 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.”
Importantly, the three reels 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.
“The three reels of 2-inch Quadruplex videotape transport viewers to the big screen monitor at Mission Control, with images clearer and with better contrast than those that the more than half-billion-person television audience witnessed that momentous July day on their home sets,” Sotheby’s said.
The original tapes were found by George in October 2008, soon after he realized that NASA was searching it. The tapes were still in the manufacturer’s original red-and-black boxes as part of the auction of more than 200 items, including photos with a note by Aldrin – believed to be the first writing on the surface of the Moon – which was purchased for $225,000, as well as American flags and spacesuits.
There were also photos of the astronauts who travelled 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.