These original NASA tapes of Apollo 11 moon landing could get up to $2 million at auction


Three original NASA videotape recordings of the Apollo 11 moon landing are going to auction on Saturday at Sotheby's. The videos have the "sharpest" and "most accurate" video images of astronaut Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon, according to the auction house.

The bidding for the videotapes will start at $700,000 and they are expected to fetch $1 million to $2 million, according to the listing.

The auction is in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, which took place July 20, 1969.


The Apollo 11 Lunar EVA (extravehicular activity) videotapes are three metal reels of Quadruplex videotape recorded at Mission Control, Manned Spaceflight Center in Houston, Texas, according to the listing.

The videotapes have a combined run time of two hours and 24 minutes, according to Sotheby's, and include Armstrong planting the American flag and uttering his famous statement, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

The tapes are the only surviving first-generation recordings of the moonwalk and have only been viewed three times since June 1976, according to Sotheby's.


The tapes are part of an auction, "Space Exploration," with over 200 items dedicated to exploring space. Other items include astronaut Roger Chafee's helmet and glove cover, estimated to fetch $125,000 to $150,000, and six American passports issued to Neil Armstrong, estimated to fetch $40,000 to $60,000, according to Sotheby's.

In addition to the Sotheby's auction, Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit was refurbished for the moonwalk's 50th anniversary and is being displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. for the first time since 2003. Smithsonian raised $700,000 on Kickstarter to conserve, digitize and display the suit.

The $700,000 raised went to costs for research, materials and tools for conservation work, construction of a custom-built mannequin to support the suit, a display case, 3D scanning and production of an online 3D model, a webcast education program and history and conservation of spacesuit materials, a representative from Smithsonian Institute tells CNBC Make It.

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