- A former NASA intern is auctioning off three reels of tape that are believed to be the original video recording of the 1969 moon landing.
- The auction house Sotheby’s has estimated that the tapes could sell for a sum between $1 million and $2 million.
- Sotheby’s says the recordings are the “earliest, sharpest, and most accurate surviving video images of man’s first steps on the moon.”
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A former NASA intern could earn millions next month by auctioning off what’s believed to be the original video recording of the 1969 moon landing.
The auction house Sotheby’s has promised that the recordings are the “earliest, sharpest, and most accurate surviving video images of man’s first steps on the moon.”
Sotheby’s said in a press release that the three reels of tape expected to sell for between $1 million and $2 million at a space exploration-themed auction on July 20.
The former intern, Gary George, worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center in 1973 and bought 1,150 reels at a government surplus auction several years later, Sotheby’s said.
George paid just $217.77 for 65 boxes of the two-inch Quadruplex videotapes, which he had anticipated selling to a local TV station, as the tapes could be re-recorded.
But George’s father flagged three of the boxes.
“George decided to hang onto them, and tucked them safely away,” Sotheby’s said.
The tapes are in ‘faultless condition’
- NASA/Handout/Getty Images
George didn’t view the tapes until 2008, when he found a studio capable of playing them. Sotheby’s said it’s possible that was the first time they’d been played since they were recorded.
The recording spans more than , hours and includes the moment Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and his phone call with President Richard Nixon.
“Miraculously, the tapes were in faultless condition, displaying a picture quality superior to any other existing contemporary videotapes,” Sotheby’s said.
Sotheby’s said that was the last time the videotapes were played, apart from when Sotheby’s specialists watched them to confirm their authenticity.
“The next viewer will be the highest bidder,” the auction house said.
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