Enlarge Text
A A A

The 50th anniversary of the moon landing was celebrated with coverage of the original event on TV and sales and auctions of many one-of-a-kind Apollo 11-related items. They included uniforms, equipment, notes and anything else that had been taken to or from the moon.

But the star was a Sotheby’s auction that included the original first-generation NASA video taped recordings of the Apollo 11 EVA (extravehicular activity). The three tapes, lost for many years, were mixed in with a purchase of more than 1,100 reels of NASA tape. The tapes were bought at a government surplus auction in 1976 for $217.77 by Gary George, then an intern at the NASA Space Center. He bought the tapes to resell, and then donate the balance. George’s father noticed that three were labeled “Apollo 11 EVA / July 20, 1969” and suggested he save them. So, he kept the three tapes for 43 years, didn’t think much about them and never played them. In 2008, when NASA was preparing for the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, George watched the tapes for the first time and then later had them played and digitized. Sotheby’s played the original tapes a third time to check the quality before the auction. For years, pictures of the moon landing came from reruns of the commercial network television shows about Apollo 11 that had been sent by NASA.

On July 20, Sotheby’s auctioned the tapes in a well-publicized sale. Three bidders fought it out online and by phone, and the tapes – estimated at $1 to 2 million – sold for $1.82 million (including Sotheby's commission). The buyer’s name has remained a secret, although there were many guesses online.

apolla 11 lunar eva original nasa videotape recording reel

Photo: Sotheby's 

 


Login to leave a comment.


Join The Discussion

Kovels.com is pleased to share your comments. Your postings may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in our print publications. We encourage a variety of opinions, but ask that you refrain from profanity and hate speech. To post comments, you must be a registered user of Kovels.com. Please remember that your username will appear with any comments you post.

Get The Latest Collecting News Every Week for FREE!

Enter your email below to receive Kovels Komments for the latest antiques & collectibles news, answers to readers questions, marks and tips. In your inbox every Wednesday.

You can unsubscribe at any time. Please refer to our Privacy Policy or Contact us for more information.
Kovels Premium