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Apollo 11: Moon landing video tapes bought by NASA intern for $218 could sell for millions

Other footage of the landing was likely destroyed in the 1980s

Clark Mindock
New York
Tuesday 16 July 2019 07:36 BST
Footage from the 1969 moon landing Apollo 11 mission

Three videotape reels of the Apollo 11 mission that a former NASA intern originally bought for just $218 is up for auction ahead of the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, and could sell for as much as $2 million.

The footage is being auctioned by Sotheby’s, and has been described as “the only surviving first-generation recordings of the historic moon walk”.

Bidding for the footage will start at $700,000, and Sotheby’s expects the reels to ultimately sell for anywhere from $1 to $2 million.

The auction house says that the footage is among 1,150 reels that Gary George purchased in 1976 from a government surplus auction. Mr George, a former intern at the space agency, paid just $218 then for them, or about $975 in modern dollars.

Mr George has said that he didn’t know the contents of the tapes for decades, and originally didn’t believe they contained anything of value.

But in 2006, NASA admitted that they had lost the Apollo 11 landing tapes, and Mr George realised the value of the tapes that he had purchased.

NASA says that other recordings of the landing were likely reused or erased in the early 1980s.

Footage from the 1969 moon landing Apollo 11 mission

The auction being held by Sotheby’s is dedicated to space exploration, and opened over the weekend.

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