First moon landing manual is out for auction on Sotheby’s for millions

The sky is the limit. We all have heard and read this famous phrase many times. And the recent news that original Apollo 11 landing videotapes which show man’s first steps on the moon are going to be auctioned soon, makes us believe that anything is possible. Because you don’t see an original video of Neil Armstrong setting his foot on moon every day; this is priceless.

Gary George, 65, a resident of Las Vegas, United States was interning at NASA when he bought over 1000 tapes from the space agency during a government surplus auction, just for $217.77. He never gave them much importance because they were magnetic tape reels that can only be played or used by TV companies nowadays. So he kept selling these tapes to a TV station to get them digitised. He also donated some to a local church. One day his father looked at few tape boxes that were labelled as “APOLLO 11 EVA | July 20, 1969 REEL 1 [–3]” and “VR2000 525 Hi Band 15 ips.”

The family thought these must be kept, so they didn’t sell them or talk about them until 2008 when they got to know that NASA is celebrating its 40th anniversary of landing on the moon and is searching for some original evidence of Apollo 11 EVA(Extravehicular Activity). Then the family took to a studio where the tapes could be played and found out they were all okay. Plus they were sharp and clear. It was probably the first time these were ever played after they were recorded on the moon! After this confirmation, auction house Sotheby’s had a look at them serial order wise and confirmed they were fit were an auction.

Tapes which have a run time of 2 hours and 24 minutes 40 seconds, were bought just for $217 are now estimated to be sold for nearly $1 million – $2 million.

George told the Reuters that once in 2006, he was hanging out with one of his NASA friends, sipping beer by a beach, when his friend had said that they think they’ve lost the original recordings of the Apollo mission. To which, George had replied, “Well damn, I have those!”

Now after 50 years since the historic July day, these tapes are to be auctioned at Sotheby’s New York. They have confirmed that the unrestored, unenhanced and unremastered 2-inch Quadruplex videotape have only been viewed three times since June 1976. Edwin Buzz Aldrin, Neil’s partner can also be seen in the recordings when both the moonwalkers hosted the US flag on the moon.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, Neil Armstrong says in one of the recordings.

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