Traveling to, landing on, and exploring the moon is still one of mankind’s greatest accomplishments, so the historical significance of any object that joined the Apollo astronauts on their journey simply cannot be overstated. Neil Armstrong’s lunar sample bag is one of those items, and it could be yours if your pockets are deep enough.
The bag, which Neil Armstrong used to collect some of the very first bits of rock from the moon and still contains “traces of moon dust,” is scheduled to be auctioned off by Sotheby’s on July 20th, and the tale of how it ended up on the auction block is a strange one.
After being used by Armstrong to collect moon rocks, the bag was obviously considered to be a highly valuable piece of American history. But, thanks to a nefarious government employee, the bag was stolen and then confiscated by federal agents who mislabeled it as being from a later mission. Because the bag was thought to have been from the Apollo 17 mission, in which it wouldn’t have been used to collect lunar material, it went up for sale on a small auction where it was bought for the measly sum of $995. A back-and-forth legal battle followed, but the buyer ended up retaining possession of the priceless artifact, which she now plans to hand over to the highest bidder.
The final sale price of the bag is expected to be north of $2 million, and potentially as much as $4 million. The owner says she plans to donate portions of the final bid price to a number of charities and organizations.