While the world enjoyed the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Sotheby’s auctioned off three original NASA videotapes of the occasion for a whopping $1.82 million.
That is greater than 8,000 times what then-NASA intern Gary George paid for them in a government surplus auction in 1976, the auction house stated in a news release.
The videos haven’t been restored, enhanced or remastered, and are the “earliest, sharpest, and most accurate surviving video images of man’s first steps on the moon,” Sotheby’s mentioned.
“Fifty years ago today, we achieved the world’s greatest human accomplishment, and what we universally recall about that event is finest documented on these tapes,” mentioned Cassandra Hatton, vice president and senior specialist in Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department, stated in a release. “We’re truly over the moon about today’s outstanding result.”
The auction house did not say who purchased the recordings.
The tapes contain the pictures shown the world over Neil Armstrong’s first step, Buzz Aldrin descending the ladder after him and bouncing over the moon’s floor, and the astronauts planting the American flag there. However, the images are “sharper and more distinct” than those shown elsewhere, Sotheby’s stated.
The footage shown on network television broadcasts lost video and audio high quality with each transmission from microwave tower to microwave tower, Sotheby’s stated.
Apollo 11 flight guide anticipated selling for millions at moon landing anniversary auction
George was an engineering student at Lamar College when he interned on the NASA Johnson Space Center and occasionally went to government surplus auctions, Sotheby’s mentioned. In June 1976, he paid $217.77 for a lot of about 1,150 reels of magnetic tape that had belonged to NASA.
George offered and donated some of the tapes, however, he saved three of them after his father seen they had been labeled “APOLLO 11 EVA | July 20, 1969 REEL 1 [–3]” and “VR2000 525 Hi Band 15 ips.” He did not give them much thought until he came upon in 2008 that NASA was trying to locate its original tapes for the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, Sotheby’s stated.