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Moon Rocks Auctioned Off for $855,00030.11.2018

Three lunar rocks, retrieved from the silver globe in 1970, have been sold for $855,000 at a New York City auction house. The identity of the buyer, however, remains a secret.

In a statement, NYC auction house Sotheby’s announced that its auction was indeed the first time that extensively examined and documented genuine lunar rocks have been sold to a private collector. Originally, the samples belonged to Nina Ivanovna Kotenkova, the widow of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, the Chief Designer of the Soviet spaceflight program. The samples, a gift from the Soviet Union in recognition of her husband’s contribution to space exploration, were retrieved in September of 1970 by Luna-16, the first unmanned lunar probe to return a sample of lunar soil back to Earth.

All the remaining known lunar rock samples are held by two nation states—the United States, fetched by astronauts who flew on Apollo 11-17 missions, and Russia, which retrieved theirs using sample return probes Luna-20 and Luna 20-24. Moon memorabilia auctions have proven a particular draw for wealthy collectors. Just last year, Sotheby’s has auctioned off Neil Armstrong’s Lunar Sample Return bag used during his 1969 mission to the moon. An unnamed collector bought the item for $1.8M.

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