Sotheby’s is known for auctioning off rare and utterly unique items. In the past they’ve showcased limited edition Bang & Olufsen speakers alongside other interesting collectibles. Its most recent auction, which just weeks away, will be drawing in space enthusiasts with its collection of distinct memorabilia. But most notably for Sotheby’s Space Exploration Auction, the organization is presenting arguably one of the rarest pieces of space memorabilia out there: a piece of the moon itself.
Collected from the unmanned Soviet Luna-16 mission in 1970, this sample of lunar soil is the only one known to be in private hands. While lunar samples aren’t exactly unheard of here on Earth, this is the only way you can legally obtain one. It was originally presented to the widow of the Soviet space program’s director. The samples then found their way into a private collection before the turn of the twentieth century.
The lunar sample comes encased under glass paired with an adjustable lens for close-up viewing. The item is completed with a plaque labeled “ЧАСТИЦЫ ГРУНТА ЛУНЫ-16” or “SOIL PARTICLES FROM LUNA-16” for non-Russian speakers.
And while the myth that the moon is made out of cheese may no longer have any credibly, adding this lunar sample to your collection is certainly going to cost you a lot of cheddar. The sample was initially sold back in 1993 for a whopping $450,000. Apparently moon rocks are a pretty solid investment, as it is expected to fetch anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million this time around. It’s ridiculously expensive, so those looking to bring home the samples may want to skip out on this year’s Black Friday festivities.
The auction is set to begin at the end of the month on November 29th at 9am in New York City. Given that these are the only moon rocks that can legally be purchased, this auction is a rare chance to add a unique piece of space exploration history to your collection.
There are several other eye-catching items available in Sotheby’s auction that aren’t expected to reach million-dollar price tags, however. A complete Gemini Space Suit is estimated to sell for $150,000, while a voice recorder flown with the first women in space will enter at around $30,000.
Regardless of whichever catches your fancy, Sotheby’s Space Exploration Auction is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of space history. None of the items may be in the price range of impulse buys, but there is tons of history behind the available items that make this one of the most unique auctions yet.
If you don’t want to shell out big bucks for authentic space memorabilia, bringing home the much more economical LEGO’s Saturn V Rocket is still a fun way to embrace space exploration history.