In July 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history with their Apollo 11 mission by becoming the first humans to walk on the moon. Now, a previously unknown still photograph of the famous moon walk is heading to auction.
Bonhams is currently hosting its “Space Photography” sale, which includes a rare 70mm photograph from the historic mission. The image shows Neil Armstrong making his first steps on the lunar surface while packing bulk samples into Eagle’s Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly (MESA). It’s believed to be the only known full-body photograph of Armstrong from the mission available. According to auction house specialists, there are confirmed 16mm images of Armstrong from the mission. However, those were extracted from video footage taken by the Maurer automatic data acquisition camera on the Eagle. The prized shot is estimated to be worth between $20,000 and $30,000.
Through some miscommunication, it was believed there were no photographs from the mission until two British researchers—Harry John Phillip Arnold and Keith Wilson—came across the footage through an independent research study. Wilson later published his findings in a magazine in 1987 after confirming their authenticity with Armstrong. The famous photograph was taken by Armstrong as his reflection can be seen in the visor of Mr Aldrin’s spacesuit.
“At this point, the team went with the classic ‘Visor Shot’ of Buzz Aldrin and it was assumed that Aldrin never had the 70mm Hasselblad camera,” the listing reads. “In fact, Duff misunderstood Armstrong’s very precise answer. He never intended to hand the camera to Aldrin. Instead, the flight plan dictated that Armstrong leave the camera on the MESA and Aldrin would pick it up when ready. Aldrin did indeed use the Hasselblad during the EVA. Images 5876-5900; 5904-5926 on Magazine S (40) are all taken by Aldrin.”
If you’re interested in owning a piece of space history, you still have time to bid on the historic photo through Bonhams’ online auction until December 1. One small step for space enthusiasts could be one giant leap for serious collectors.