After being accidentally lost and mislabeled, Neil Armstrong's moon dust bag has found its way to appreciating hands. On the 48th anniversary of man's first steps on the moon, the moon dust bag was sold for a whopping $1.8 million at Sotheby's Space Exploration Auction.
Lost And Found: Moon Dust Bag
Armstrong's moon dust bag was in the background when the Apollo 11 mission team made history 48 years ago. Though its journey wasn't as smooth as it could have been, it is now in the limelight as the star of the just-concluded Space Exploration Auction at the famed Sotheby's auction house.
Before the cloth bag made its way back into the limelight, it spent years in a box at the Johnson Space Center in Houston after being misidentified and mislabeled along with an Apollo 17 bag. One way or another, the bag ended up with a Kansas museum curator until U.S. Marshals Service ceased the item, which led to the museum manager's conviction over the bag's theft.
It was auctioned off for three times at a small auction house without so much as getting a single bid when it was offered at $42,500 until 2015, when a Chicago attorney Nancy Lee Carlson purchased the bag for merely $995. She then sent it to NASA, where experts confirmed it to be a "Contingency Lunar Sample Return Decontamination Bag" in which Armstrong placed fragments of lunar rocks and dust samples.
Carlson then rejected NASA's offer to pay her for the then-privately owned moon dust bag, a decision which a District Court of Kansas agreed with after a legal dispute.
The bag, which still contains original particles from the Apollo 11 mission, was the star of the recently concluded Space Exploration Auction by Sotheby's.
$1.8 Million Dust
Perfectly scheduled on the Apollo 11 mission's 48th anniversary, the Sotheby's Space Exploration Auction garnered a total of $3.8 million in earnings. Among the items, the moon dust bag earned the highest bid at $1.5 million by an unidentified bidder. Along with Sotheby's buyer's premium, the bag was sold for a total of $1.8 million.
Impressive as it may be, however, it still fell short of the expected bid range for the item, which was at a pre-auction estimate of between $2 million and $4 million.
Following the moon dust bag's high bid are a flown 1970 Apollo 13 flight plan, which was sold for $275,000, and an original Chesley Bonestell illustration, which was sold for $125,000.