NASA's moon missions camera sold at auction for $760K
Mar 29 BTI
The only camera to return from NASA's moon missions in 1969-1972 was
sold at an auction in Vienna Saturday for 550,000 euros ($760,000), far
outdoing its estimated price.
The boxy silver-coloured camera, which was sold to a telephone
bidder, was initially valued at 150,000-200,000 euros.The Hasselblad
model was one of 14 cameras sent to the moon as part of NASA's Apollo
11-17 missions but was the only one to be brought back.As a rule, the
cameras which weighed several kilogrammes (pounds) and could be attached
to the front of a space suit were abandoned to allow the astronauts to
bring back moon rock, weight being a prime concern on the missions."It
has moon dust on it... I don't think any other camera has that," Peter
Coeln, owner of the Westlicht gallery which organised the auction, said
of the rare piece.
The camera, which was being sold by a private collector, was used by
astronaut Jim Irwin to take 299 pictures during the Apollo 15 mission in
July-August 1971.A small plate inside is engraved with the number 38,
the same number that appears on Irwin's NASA snapshots.Close to 600
objects were on sale on Saturday. The Westlicht gallery is the world's
largest auction house for cameras and has overseen the sale of some of
the most expensive photographic equipment in history, including a 1923
Leica camera prototype that sold for 2.16 million euros, a world record.