On July 20th, the day of the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, the bag Neil Armstrong used to collect lunar rocks will go on auction. The event will be organized by Sotheby’s and is expected to bring bids which will go up to $4 million.
The lunar bag will now be sold for a much higher price
In February 2015, a Chicago lawyer, Nancy Carlson, bought the bag during a Texas auction for $995. The bag wore a label which wrote “Lunar Sample Return”, but she was not aware of the historical value of the object.
Later, she found out that Neil Armstrong used this bag to put the rocks he collected from the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Therefore, it will go up for auction again, and this time it is expected to be sold for a much higher price.
Sotheby’s, the agency which holds the event, is incredibly excited and highlights the importance of this artifact. They want to offer everybody the chance to be a part of this auction, so they will receive bids both in person and via phone, as well as online. Also, a part of the gains will be given to charity, to foundations like Bay Cliff Health Camp or Immune Deficiency Foundation.
Legal battle between Carlson and NASA
The situation wasn’t so nice for the previous owner of the bag. Carlson discovered rocks and dust inside, so she sent it to NASA. After the tests, they discovered that the samples were indeed coming from the moon, so they decided to confiscate the object as federal property. Carlson issued a federal lawsuit and demanded to have the bag returned and, in December 2016, the verdict came back in her favor.
Many lunar objects were given as gifts to dignitaries from America or from other countries, and this bag ended up in the possession of the Kansas Cosmosphere Museum official, Max Ary. Later, he was accused and convicted of illegally selling space artifacts, so the government sent many of his objects for auction. This is how Carlson came into the bag’s possession.
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