Home / Science / Apollo 11: Original Moon Landing recordings bought for $ 217 in 1976, sold at auction for $ 1.82 million

Apollo 11: Original Moon Landing recordings bought for $ 217 in 1976, sold at auction for $ 1.82 million



A set of original video recordings by Apollo 11 Moon Landing bought at $ 217.77 at an authorized transition auction by a former NASA intern in the 1970s has been sold at auction for $ 1.82 million.

The undamaged, unbuilt and unmasked tapes are described as "the earliest, sharpest and most accurate surviving video images of man's first step on the moon," by Sotheby's auction house.

The bands, which have a driving time of 2 hours and 24 minutes, had a pre-sale estimate of $ 1 million to $ 2 million. The artifacts were auctioned in New York on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

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Seen only three times since being bought directly from NASA at the 1976 auction, the tape is the only surviving first-generation recordings of Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon , according to the auction house.

  The three bands were bought for $ 217.77 at an authorized public auction in 1976.

The three bands were bought for $ 217.77 at an authorized public auction in 1976.
(Sotheby's)

The video tapes are from the collection of Gary George, who bought them while serving as an intern at NASA. In June 1976, George attended an auction in Houston's Ellington Air Force Base where he purchased a single batch of approximately 1,150 reels of magnetic tape, whose "Ewings Agency or Reporting Office" was listed as NASA.

"Among the rollers were about sixty-five boxes with 2 inch real-to-real video tapes of the type used by TV stations," explains Sotheby's statement and noted that George planned to sell the used tapes, which can be re-recorded to local TV stations.

APOLLO 11: PREVIOUS NASA INTERNAL BOUGHT ORIGINAL MOON LANDING RECORDINGS FOR $ 217, MAY BE $ 2M

But after selling some of the bands and donating others to Lamar University and a local church , George's father noticed that three of the boxes were labeled: "APOLLO 11 EVA | July 20, 1969, REEL 1 [–3]" and "VR2000 525 Hi Band 15 ips."

  One of the original video tapes of Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

One of the original video tapes of Apollo 11 Moon Landing.
(Sotheby's)

EVA refers to Extra Vehicular Activity, the famous time Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent on the moon surface outside Eagle Lander. EVA lasted only 2 hours, 31 minutes and 40 seconds.

"Think these bands might be worth hanging on, George rescued the three boxes and gave them some thought until early 2008 when he learned that NASA was trying to locate its original slow video tapes of Apollo 11 EVA (Extravehicular Activity) in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, "Sotheby explains.

APOLLO 11: NASA AND THE "REMUNERATED" MOON LANDING TAPES

George sought a studio with equipment that could play bands and in October 2008 they were played by DC Video, possibly for the first time since they was recorded. There were to be in "flawless condition" the bands were played again next month and were digitized. "This was the last time these real-to-reel video tapes were played until Sotheby's specialists saw them to confirm their quality for this auction," the auction house explains.

  The unwavering, unbroken and unmastered bands are described as "The earliest, sharpest and most accurate surviving video images of man's first steps on the moon," by the Sotheby auction house. "

The unwavering, unremoved and unmasked bands are described. as "the earliest, sharpest and most accurate surviving video images of man's first steps on the moon," by Sotheby's auction house.
(Sotheby's)

The historic mission continues to be a source of fascination. A rare signed photo of astronaut Apollo 11 who made his "giant step for humanity" was recently sold in a separate auction for $ 52,247.

Last year, a checklist was sold that went to the Moon's surface with Armstrong and Aldrin on auction in New York for $ 62,500.

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In 2017, a bag of Moondust filled with Armstrong was sold by Sotheby for $ 1.8 million.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @ jamesjrogers

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