Only photo of Neil Armstrong on the moon expected to sell for $30,000

(Image credit: Bonhams / NASA)

The only full-body photo of Neil Armstrong on the moon has just been put up for auction. Despite being the first man to have ever walked on the moon, it was believed that no photos existed of him – until now. Taken by fellow Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the photo is expected to sell for $30,000 at the Bonhams Space Photography Auction.

Serious money can be made from selling NASA camera equipment and photos taken on some of its most famous missions. Recently, a replica of a Leica camera used in the Skylab missions fetched $500,000 at auction and earlier this year iconic vintage photos from various NASA missions between 1965 and 1984 were receiving bids as high as $26,000. 

This rare 70mm photo of Neil Armstrong was taken on a Hasselblad camera as he packed samples from the moon onto the Modularize Equipment Stowage Assembly during the first-ever lunar extravehicular activity. Confusion arose about who took the photo due to a conversation between Brian Duff, the head of Public Affairs at the Johnson Space Center and Armstrong himself. When Duffy asked Armstrong when he gave the camera to Buzz, he simply replied “I never did” and for years it was assumed that Buzz never used the camera. 

A very similar-looking photo sold at Christie's auction as part of the Voyage to Another World: The Iuctor Martin-Malburet Photograph Collection for an impressive $52,000 – considerably more than the 70mm Hasselblad photo is expected to go for. It was sold as part of a lot of more than 500 images, which altogether made over £1.5 million. 

To own what is arguably one of the most important photos of space history, head to the Bonhams auction site, which is accepting bids up until December 1 2022 at 13:00 PST. This 8 x 10 chromogenic color photograph photo was taken on July 21, 1969, and currently has a starting bid of $10,000, but judging by previous auctions we could see it go for much more than the estimated price. 

Check out the best cameras for astrophotography and shoot deep space images from the comfort of Earth.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.