A rare signed photo of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong making his ‘giant leap for mankind’ has been sold at auction for $52,247.
The 10x8 photo captures the moment just before Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface. It is signed “Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11.” The photo had a pre-sale estimate of $15,000.
The image had been in the possession of the family of Richard Windmiller Sr., the former head of NASA’s photo department, according to Boston-based RR Auction.
“Photos of Armstrong on the Moon are rare,” Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of RR Auction, told Fox News. As the mission’s photographer, Armstrong captured plenty of iconic images of his fellow crewmember Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, but there are relatively few photos of Armstrong on the lunar surface.
“Buzz didn’t get many pictures of Armstrong,” Livingston explained. “Buzz had things to do, they were there for such a limited time.”
Armstrong and Aldrin’s Extra Vehicular Activity, or the time they spent on the lunar surface outside the Eagle lander, lasted just 2 hours, 31 minutes and 40 seconds.
The image was part of the original video transmission of the historic event and was captured on a television camera mounted on the lunar module. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California worked to alter the transmission images to photo film.
Other items in the auction included a 70 mm positive film from Apollo 11’s Hasselblad camera, containing 126 of the most iconic images captured on the Moon’s surface, which was sold for $14,467. The film had a pre-sale estimate of $8,000.
An American flag that was flown into orbit during the Apollo 11 mission was also sold. The flag, signed and flight-certified by Command Module pilot Michael Collins, was auctioned for $20,803. The flag had a pre-sale estimate of $60,000.
Apollo artifacts continue to be a source of fascination. Last year, a checklist that traveled to the surface of the Moon with Armstrong and Aldrin sold at auction in New York for $62,500.
In 2017, a bag containing Moon dust filled by Armstrong was sold by Sotheby’s for $1.8 million.
The bag previously had been misidentified and mistakenly sold at an online government auction for $995. The Chicago-area woman who purchased the bag won an intense court battle with NASA, which attempted to retrieve the artifact.
Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins recently revealed a previously unseen photo of the famous Moon landing crew members that he “found at the bottom of a box.”
July 20, 1969, marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers