by Graham Pierrepoint
We all have collections, let’s face it – and the thought of being able to own a true piece of unique history – a piece of sporting turf, the baseball bat of an all-time legend – is nothing new. People have been collecting unique pieces of history for centuries, and it is largely why antiques shops and auction houses have only increased in trade over the decades. Whether it’s autographs, unique literary prints or even one-off physical marvels, for many people, it seems that having a one-of-a-kind item warrants no limit on price. Therefore, you can certainly expect a bag of moon dust – collected by the late Neil Armstrong during his history-making landing on the moon in July 1969 – to fetch more than a few pretty pennies when it goes on sale at Sotheby’s, New York, in the coming weeks.
NASA, however, isn’t so keen that such an auction should be taking place at all. It’s thought that the bag was sold accidentally via auction previously – via the US government – and it snapped up $995 in total, according to The Independent. Due to the accidental sale, NASA has pressed for the artifact to be returned to government ownership – but the bargain sale was ruled to be legal late last year. It’s thought that the bag was misidentified and sold on – and it was only after testing by NASA that the true identity of its contents became known. NASA, stating that the bag ‘belongs to the American people’, has fought tooth and nail to try and retain the moon dust – but has been beaten back by the legal system in its fight. Therefore, as the bag goes back up for sale under its true guise – genuine moon dust from the first human trip to the satellite – it seems that the only way they will be able to reclaim the artifact is through donation.
It’s not yet clear who will have interest in purchasing the dust – but it’s thought that it could be worth millions, making a considerable fortune for its Illinois owner, Nancy Carlson. Therefore – if you really want to own this incredible piece of human history, you may need to have an incredible bank balance to match – and as it is so sought-after by NASA at this time, there is no telling just how valuable the item will become when it hits Sotheby’s in due course.