Cassandra Hatton, vice president and Senior Specialist of Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department in New York commented, “Fifty years ago, we achieved the world’s greatest human accomplishment. Today, space exploration continues to capture the hearts and imagination of people around the world. This universal fascination was reflected in today’s stellar sale, which is a testament to the continued demand for space artifacts. We are truly over the moon about our outstanding results.”
The auction was led by three original NASA videotape recordings of the lunar landing, which sold for $1.82 million – more than 8,000 times the price paid for the tapes at a government surplus auction in 1976 by then-NASA intern Gary George, finebooksmagazine.com reported.
Unrestored, unenhanced, and unremastered, the Original, First-Generation NASA Videotape Recordings of the Apollo 11 Lunar EVA represent the earliest, sharpest, and most accurate surviving video images of man’s first steps on the moon. At a combined run time of two hours and 24 minutes, the tapes capture everything from Neil Armstrong’s declaration: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” marking the historic moment the first human set foot on another world, to the “long distance phone call” with the president of the United States, and the planting of the American flag.
The present videotapes are the only surviving first-generation recordings of the historic moon walk, and are sharper and more distinct than the few tapes that have survived from the contemporary network television broadcasts – all of which endured some loss of video and audio quality with each successive transmission from microwave tower to microwave tower.
Other Apollo 11 artifacts and memorabilia soared past expectations today, including a unique collage of Apollo 11 memorabilia that sold for $225,000 – more than three times its $70,000 high estimate. The collage was presented by the Apollo 11 crew to Terry Slezak – a Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) technician assigned to the Crew Reception Area (CRA) of the Lunar Receiving Lab (LRL) – who became, in the course of his duties following the return of Apollo 11, the first man to touch moon dust with his bare hands. Included in the presentation is an autograph manuscript written by Buzz Aldrin, which is now believed to be the first autograph manuscript to be written on the lunar surface.