On Apollo 11's 48th anniversary, the bag that carried the very first lunar samples brought back to Earth will be auctioned off. Experts estimate Neil Armstrong's moon dust bag to be valued at about $2 to 4 million. She was born unable to use her hind legs and needed lots of loving care. This is the bag astronaut Neil Armstrong used to collect moon dust during the first ever lunar landing. It was reportedly misidentified and merely sat in a box at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
When the collector was later convicted of theft, fraud and money laundering, the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized the box from his garage to auction it off for restitution along with other assets.
In 2015, the bag was sold to a Chicago attorney for merely $995.
Apollo 13 was supposed to be the third USA moon landing attempt.
The ruling makes it the only Apollo 11 artifact allowed in private hands.
Sotheby's, which will auction the goods on Thursday, said the original objective of the bag was only discovered two years ago, when its current owner bought it as part of an auction of assets seized by the U.S. Marshall's Service.More news: Weak US inflation, retail sales data dim rate hike prospects
During the mission, Armstrong collected almost 500 grams of material and 12 rock fragments from a part of the lunar surface known as the Sea of Tranquility.
After Apollo 11 returned to Earth, almost all the equipment from the mission was sent to the Smithsonian, the world's largest museum.
Items include Armstrong's photo of fellow Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon, the documented flight plan used by NASA to return to Earth, a photo of astronaut Gene Cernan driving a lunar rover on the moon during Apollo 17 and the Snoopy doll used by Apollo 10 as its mascot. The US sent six manned missions to the moon and 12 astronauts walked on the lunar surface.
A Snoopy astronaut doll that was used as the mascot for Apollo 10 is also now estimated pre-sale at $2,000 to $3,000.
Of course, the first man in space was a Russian and that country's major contribution to space exploration is also acknowledged.
Space artifacts have that kind of effect on people, and the auction house is counting on a big pay day when the sample bag and the 172 other items being auctioned along with it go under the hammer. The English-translated governmental report on his descriptions of Earth based on his experience has an estimated value of $50,000 to $80,000.