|A Hasselblad camera described as the one used on the moon by Apollo 15 astronaut Jim Irwin was auctioned March 22, 2014 by WestLicht in Austria. (WestLicht)|
A Hasselblad camera claimed to have been used by U.S. astronauts on the moon sold on at auction in Vienna for nearly $1 million, despite questions as to the veracity of its travels.
WestLicht Photographica Auction in Austria reported the camera, a Hasselblad Electronic Data Camera, sold for €550,000 (€660,000 with the buyer’s premium which is about $909,150) and was won by Japanese businessman Terukazu Fujisawa.
The auction house claims the camera was used on the Apollo 15 mission and was one of at least four Hasselblads to have been brought back from the surface of the moon. Most equipment was left on the moon to provide more room for mineral samples from the surface.
As the website collectSPACE.com notes, the history of this camera is highly suspect as it has already been auctioned once previously (with a different lens and magazine) without being cited as having been on the surface of the moon. WestLicht claims that an engraved number '38' inside the camera corresponds to images known to have been taken on the moon's surface. However, some researchers say the number doesn’t line up to the images in NASA’s collection. It's also not known how this camera, which was being sold by a private collector, came to the auction as it would have been property of the federal government.
It seems clear the camera was at least in space, though likely it only was used in the orbital command module. Despite these concerns, the auction closed well above its expected price of around $200,000.