Man Stands to Make Millions from Original Moon Landing Film Reels Purchased at Surplus Sale in the ‘70s for $218


It doesn’t get any better than this story – really. Apparently, an intern for NASA purchased some surplus goods from the agency at a sale back in the day and, among the various items included, were reels of the original moon landing which is being described as the “highest quality” footage of the event ever seen.

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Then NASA intern Gary George paid $USD 218 for the items and now the footage is expected to get millions at auction.

They were found among 65 boxes of videotapes that George had purchased during the sale. George sold most of the tapes to media outlets over the years but kept the three tapes labeled APOLLO 11 EVA | July 20, 1969 REEL 1 [-3] at the insistence of his father according to reports. EVA means extravehicular activity and denotes a spacewalk in NASA parlance.

As George tells it, he was intrigued by NASA’s search for the footage back on the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing and this spurred him on to finally find out what was on the film reels. It was then that he discovered he had in his possession.

The tapes show everything from the first steps on the lunar surface to a conversation between Richard Nixon and the astronauts.

Starting at $USD 700k a piece, the three surviving film reels won’t go cheap and are expected to bring millions of dollars each which would make this one of the largest returns on an initial investment we have ever heard about.

The winning bidder will get the original tapes as well as a digitized version saved to a hard drive.

The auction to take place on July 20th, the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, will be conducted by Sotheby’s.

As always, we’d love to know your thoughts on this story in the comments below.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

I’d love the opportunity to see the film in person, just for the experience of viewing it on it’s original format. It does make me wonder what kind of value those tapes sold to various media outlets over the years could’ve fetched.

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