One small piece of the Moon... One giant alternative investment?
A small sample of lunar dust gathered during 1971's Apollo 15 mission is for sale in Beverly Hills...
Here's one last look at Ira & Larry Goldberg's Stamp, Space and Manuscript Auction before it lifts off tomorrow (November 6).
Often among the most popular items at space memorabilia auctions are pieces which haven't only been to the Moon, but have the Moon dust on them to prove it.
Perhaps the most famous example of this in recent times was the sale of the navigational chart used by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (pictured top right) at Bonhams in 2009.
Man's First Celestial Measurements
Described as "the single most critical navigational device we used while on the Moon" by Aldrin, the chart emerged as the very top lot in Bonhams' blockbuster Space sale, bringing $218,000.
The lucky winning bidder not only bought themselves a key piece mankind's history but also, in essence, a tiny bit of the Moon in the form of lunar dust still speckled on the chart.
Better still, the chart's value as an alternative investment is sure to continue growing in future years.
The Apollo 11 chart's value is undoubtedly enhanced by the presence of Moon dust - but how much would a collector pay for Moon dust on its own?
That answer will be revealed at Ira & Larry Goldberg's auction tomorrow, with the sale of lunar dust gathered on the Moon's surface by Apollo 15.
In comparison to Apollo 11, Apollo 15 is today remembered for the number of scientific discoveries achieved by its crew - in which this sample of Moon dust mounted on a 0.75 x 1 inches piece of tape would have played a small part.
The Moon dusted tape is mounted on a descriptive certificate of authenticity that reads, in part, "I entered the spacecraft to remove the cameras and film," as written by Dick Williamson of NASA's Photographic Team. "This sample has been in my possession since that day."
"While inside Endeavour, I used the piece of tape attached to this presentation to remove a sample of lunar dust from the leg of Dave Scott's EVA suit."
The sale of this Moon dust could be a surprise hit at the auction, tomorrow - especially considering that Commander Scott's suit from which is was scraped is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
According to the Moon dust's lot note, "the tape [on which it is mounted] clearly shows both the grey moon dust and ridges from the creases in the space suit. A great addition to any collection."
Just like the winning bidder at Bonhams, another lucky collector has a chance to own a small piece of the Moon.
The sample is estimated at $2,500 - 3,500. Will it sell for more? Watch this space to find out.
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Images: Bonhams and Ira & Larry Goldberg