Want to bid on the first photo of the Earth taken from the moon? It could be yours for $8,000

First photo of the earth taken from the moon
(Image credit: Press Bonhams)

The very first photo of the Earth taken from the moon is part of Bonham’s upcoming Space History auction. Captured on August 23 1966, the print measures over 5ft wide and is expected to go for between $6,000 - $8,000. 

This monumental image was taken during NASA’a Lunar Orbiter program which sent a series of probes to photograph the surface of the moon to determine an appropriate landing site for the Apollo missions. It's made up of eight gelatin print photographs which join to create a stunning panorama measuring (469 x 1595 mm). It's an image that changed our perception of planet Earth and in the era of the James-Webb Telescope serves as a remarkable reminder of how far space travel and image-making technology have come. 

• Check out the best cameras for astrophotography and take stunning photos of the night sky

Alongside this key image in space photography is a series of signed photos featuring the astronauts who took part in the Apollo space missions. From a large format photo of the Apollo 1 crew in training, which is expected to sell for $8,000 to $12,000, to an image of Buzz Aldrin descending the ladder of the LM ladder on July 20 1969 which could fetch anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000.

Signed photo of Mercury Seven astronauts

The Mercury Seven photograph signed by all 7 astronauts. Silver gelatin print photograph, 1959, approximately 8 x 10 inches (Image credit: Press Bonhams)

These images mark some of the defining moments in space exploration and, for space enthusiasts, this is an opportunity to own a slice of history. Other items included in the auction are fragments of various spacecraft, an Omega Speedmaster watch worn on two spacewalks, a pair of 4000 series EVA glove assemblies which were part of the Space Suit Extravehicular Mobility Unit, and even a letter signed by Neil Armstrong which was sent a month and a half before the Apollo 11 mission.

Photos from NASA's archives have historically sold rather well – in November 2020 a series of photos, including one of Neil Armstrong on the moon, sold for a whopping $2,165,004 (roughly £1,564,876 / AU$3,251,463), and in October 2022 a Leica camera used in NASA Skylab missions sold for €500,000! ($550k/£428k/AU$825k)

If you're a space fanatic with some spare cash and looking for the perfect photo to fill a blank space in your home, the Bonhams Space History auction will start on July 18 at 12:00 PDT. The online-only auction is already open for registration and in total there are over 200 items up for grabs. 

If you've already got a decent camera, have a look at the best telescopes for astrophotography so you can shoot the cosmos close up.

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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.