Neil Armstrong's Lunar Sample Bag Could Sell At Auction For 4 Million Dollars

By Amit Meta | May 25, 2017 05:17 PM EDT

Around 50-years ago in 1969 legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong made his first step on Moon and made a history as a first Human Explorer on Moon. During this historic Apollo 11 Space mission, he brings back some rock sample for studying purpose with a Lunar sample bag.

However, this off-white, purse-sized pouch has had complicated journey over past five decades. After returning home, the U.S. government collects all the rock samples from it and tagged those samples as a national treasure.

Sadly, the Lunar sample bag which still contains some traces of the moon dust became the useless artifact to them. Years after year, this had considered as an object of ignorance then the Us government forget it and lost it. Until a few years ago, this bag was tracked down when it was accidentally put up for auction. Therefore an Illinois woman takes the ownership of this bag for less than $1,000.

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After his historic footstep on the Lunar surface, Neil Armstrong gleaned rock fragments from a basin known as the Sea of Tranquility. Then he stashed those fragments in the bag, labeled the lunar sample bag as LUNAR SAMPLE RETURN. However, some dust fragment still clung to the bag's fibers which are considered as a most valuable item that must be preserved in museums.

According to Washington post, Until 2003 this lunar sample bag was completely forgotten by the government. Unfortunately, this bag was recovered from the garage of the president of the Cosmosphere, the space museum in Hutchinson, Kan. Later, the government charged and convicted him of stealing items that belonged to the government properties.

After seizing the lunar sample bag which was miss-leveled as an item from the 1972 Apollo 17 mission. However, the Apollo 17 mission actually conducted different purpose, not for collecting the lunar rock sample. However, this was misleading the government and then the bag significantly lost its value.

That's why, Sotheby's, a small auction house offered the bag three times in 2014 on behalf of the U.S. Marshal's office. But they don't get a single bid on it and then they again relisted the lunar sample bag in February 2015. Luckily, Nancy Carlson, a Chicago-area lawyer, placed a winning bid on the bag of $995.

To find the actual history about the lunar sample bag she sent it to Johnson Space Center in Houston to authenticate it. However, NASA came with the unpleasant report for her and the agency said that the bag was from Apollo 11, and it was used for the first lunar samples ever collected.

Then NASA refuses to get back that bag which belongs to one of the national importance. Meanwhile, Carlson sued in federal court to get back the ownership of the lunar sample bag. Then court rejected the government's argument in February and ordered the bag returned to Carlson. However, this order is paving the for Sotheby's summer's auction.

According to Sotheby's New York branch, the lunar sample bag will be offered in the auction house's space exploration sale on July 20, the anniversary of the moon landing. Regarding this valuable item, Sotheby's is expected to fetch between $2 million and $4 million.

However, NASA wants to see the bag in a public museum rather than in a private collection. Regarding this agency states that This artifact, they believe, belongs to the American people and should be on display for the public. That's why they prepare for their next move to prevent this artifact being a private property.

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