At the end of last month we talked a bit about Sotheby's auction that would see one of the only confirmed true parts of the month sold to the highest bidder. These Russian patterns are embedded in a fancy case with a preview lens. Russia brought samples to Earth in September 1970 through the Luna-16 mission.
Samples were originally provided by Ninan Ivanov Korolev, widow Sergei Pavlovic Korolev, former chief designer and director of the Soviet space program. Samples were sold in 1993 for $ 442,500. This time the samples brought $ 855,000 at auction, a nice payday for their former owner.
Estimates before purchasing samples were between $ 700,000 and $ 1,000,000. The reason why these samples are so valuable is that they are the only state-owned samples that have documented providence and are confirmed as real. Many of the rocks of the month that go to the auction have been found as counterfeits.
Some of the samples that returned to previous missions were given as gifts. The trap is that, while they were given, those samples remained under the control of the US and Russian governments and can not be sold. Samples sold by Sotheby are the only samples owned by a private person.
Monthly samples are very rare, so is the value of this auction. In total, all six American Apollo missions returned only 842 pounds of Lunar Samples with Soviet missions by sending back 10.6 ounces.