The famed WestLicht auction house has yet another super-rare camera up for auction. This time, they’ve managed to score a “Hasselblad ‘LUNAR MODULE PILOT CAMERA'”, which has the incredible distinction of not only being a NASA Hasselblad, but also having been to the Moon and back.
The auction for the Hasselblad 500 will start at 80,000 Euro ($108,000), and is expected to fetch 150,000-200,000 Euro ($202,000-$207,000). WestLicht is billing it as “After presenting and auctioning the most rare and most valuable cameras of mother earth for many years, we proudly present the only camera ever used on another planet AND which also came back home,” and “the only camera ever used on the moon AND which also came back home.”
The organization states it’s camera no.1038, and is one of the 14 cameras used by the Apollo 11-17 missions, and the only one to make it back to Earth. They claim it was used by Jim Irwin to shoot some 299 photos during Apollo 15, and the other 13 cameras in the series were abandoned on the Lunar surface.
However, there are already some disputes about WestLicht’s claims, which might raise an eyebrow or two. Kishore Sawh of SLRLounge points out that there are two known cameras to have returned from the Moon:
Meanwhile, CollectSpace has added some questions about the sale, including asking if it went to the moon at all:
Interestingly, we’ve seen versions of cameras that were modified for space up for auction before—but none of those actually made the trip. Usually, NASA has camera gear left behind to save space and weight for more important concerns on the voyage home. Hasselblad even used the fact in advertising at one point.
NASA gear is always extremely exciting to see at auction, but the conflicting stories around this camera definitely have us a bit perplexed.