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Sotheby's

Moon rocks could sell for as much as $1 million at upcoming auction

Contributed by
Oct 30, 2018

Great news, ultra-rich science geeks. If you’ve got a million dollars burning a hole in your pocket and don’t know what to do with it, you can use said million to own a piece of the moon! 

That’s right; next month, Sotheby’s is auctioning off lunar rocks to one lucky bidder in New York next month. The estimated value? Somewhere between $700,000 and $1 million, according to Sotheby’s.

These lunar rocks were originally sold by Nina Ivanovna Koroleva, widow of former Soviet space program director Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, in Sotheby’s Russian Space History Sale for $442,500 in 1993. Now they’re up for sale again by a private American collector.

“But wait,” you may be thinking. “Isn’t it illegal for a private citizen to own a piece of the moon?” (Okay, so you may not be thinking that, but you should be!) Technically, yes; any moon rocks obtained by NASA can’t be privately owned. But these weren’t obtained by NASA. This sample of lunar rocks were returned to Earth by the Russian Luna-16 unmanned mission, which makes them the first time a piece of another world had ever been offered for sale to the public and the only known legal sale of moon rocks ever to have occurred.

The moon rocks (held under glass as shown above) will be up for auction on November 29 in New York as part of Sotheby’s second annual Space Exploration sale. The exhibition begins on November 25.

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