LOS ANGELES – A strip of fabric shorn from the flag planted on the moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts pulled in a top bid of $60,000 at a Los Angeles auction – but it won’t be sold.
Auctioneer Michael Orenstein said there was a reserve price of $95,000 at the Sunday auction for the 7-inch strip pulled from the trash before the 1969 lunar landing by NASA engineer Tom Moser.
Moser, who is now retired, was tasked with preparing the flag to be planted on the moon, and the strip he rescued was cut off to remove a set of grommets so the banner could be placed on a rod.
Orenstein said he was not disappointed by the auction because there was no way to anticipate the value of such a rare item.
Other items at the space-themed auction met or surpassed expectations, including a Collier trophy – the so-called Oscar of aviation – that was awarded to the crew of 1962’s Mercury 7 mission and sold Sunday for $12,500.
Orenstein said the auction as a whole was a big success with a 95 percent sell-through rate.