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Moon NASA The Almighty Buck

Apollo 11 Flag Swatch Goes Unsold At L.A. Auction 120

Posted by timothy
from the now-how-much-would-you-pay dept.
According to an Associated Press report, a "strip of fabric shorn from the flag planted on the moon by the Apollo 11 astronauts pulled in a top bid of $60000 at a Los Angeles auction, but didn't meet a minimum price so it won't be sold." Another $35,000 would have nabbed it, but — caveat emptor — the strip of fabric under discussion is one that never went to the moon itself, but rather was snipped off before the rest of the flag was stuffed into a tube for the mission.
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Apollo 11 Flag Swatch Goes Unsold At L.A. Auction

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  • Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by utkonos (2104836) on Monday July 11, 2011 @01:07AM (#36717478)
    If it didn't go to the moon, who cares that it even went to auction?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2011 @01:12AM (#36717508)

      It seems this swatch of fabric hasn't done at least two notable things. It would be interesting to keep track of the things it doesn't do in the future, too.

      • It's the Ken Mattingly of cloth.

      • Why would you want to own The most underachieving part of the flag
        It's like being proud of the child that never left home.
        • by c0lo (1497653)

          Why would you want to own The most underachieving part of the flag
          It's like being proud of the child that never left home.

          If is the only child that is still alive... would this change your perspective? (you know, nylon isn't quite renowned for sustaining UV and cosmic radiation + over 100 degrees variation of temperature. I expect that the flag now on the moon is just dust now).

          • umm no. it wouldn't.
            I'd rather have the dust of the flag that went to the moon, then a piece of flag that never did.
            The eternal question. Is it better to live life or just survive it?
            • by c0lo (1497653)

              umm no. it wouldn't.
              I'd rather have the dust of the flag that went to the moon, then a piece of flag that never did.
              The eternal question. Is it better to live life or just survive it?

              Now, here I can see a good reason for not wishing to have either of them. If you choose to live your life and unless you are one of the 3 that landed on the Moon, owning any of them doesn't bring any plus to your living. If you just survive through your life, owning any of them won't help you.

              I guess owning memorabilia is for the inbetweeners (which have they vanity living for them).

            • by Ambvai (1106941)

              Do I get to stay in whatever I consider my physical and mental prime if I survive my life, or do I get to live the life of a struldbrug?

              • by TheLink (130905)
                Keep in mind that eternity is a very long time even if you're magically always in your physical and mental prime.

                If you're unlucky and the universe density parameter is less than or equal to 1, when the light from the last stars (long dead) stops reaching you, it will be very dark, cold, boring and lonely.

                Who knows maybe eventually something might still happen - eternity is after all a very very long time. You might even tear chunks of flesh from yourself to form a new planet/star (assuming you regenerate
          • by Rogerborg (306625)

            nylon isn't quite renowned for sustaining UV and cosmic radiation + over 100 degrees variation of temperature

            Neither is photographic film, and yet some sheeple still believe all those moon pictures are real. [gets into flame-proof suit]

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I have an old flag in the garage that did not go to the moon. I wonder how much it is worth? Heck, I am not sure, but I suspect it has not been to Mars as well. Time to call the auction house!
    • If it didn't go to the moon, who cares that it even went to auction?

      The summary conveniently fails to mention that it comes with an autograph of the first man to set foot on the moon, one of the men who actually raised the flag on the moon. The autograph is on a photo of the flag raising so the flag scrap seems to be something to enhance the signature.

      • by toastar (573882)

        The summary conveniently fails to mention that it comes with an autograph of the first man to set foot on the moon, one of the men who actually raised the flag on the moon. The autograph is on a photo of the flag raising so the flag scrap seems to be something to enhance the signature.

        so.... for 100K you don't just get some fabric, you also get some ink on a piece of paper?

        • I guess. You can get lunar astronaut's signatures for far less. I think I saw a photo of Eagle on the moon, with Buzz Aldrin's signature on it, available for $1700.

          • FWIW, a wiki search shows Neil Armstrong autographs going for as much as $27,000.
          • by Morty (32057)

            Neil's Armstrong's autograph is worth more than Buzz Aldrin's autograph. Two reasons: Armstrong is much more reclusive (i.e. he stopped signing in the 1990s, so there is less supply), and Armstrong stepped on the moon first (so he is more of a celebrity, and there is more demand.)

        • by TheLink (130905)
          A valid cheque for a million dollars is also some ink on a piece of paper.

          Heck nowadays a billion dollars is a bunch of electrons in some computer or some magnetic stuff on spinning disks.
      • by strack (1051390)
        if im gonna pay 100 grand for a piece of something, it better have fucking gone to the moon. accept no substitute.
    • Who cares if it did go to the moon? Who cares if it was kissed by King Tut, worn as a hat by Isaac Newton, and served as a swaddling cloth for the young Abe Lincoln?

      Unless there are unanswered scientific or historical questions the artifact may shed light on, it doesn't have any real value apart from our own invented sentimentalism. A sheerly practical person may then not care about it. But I don't particularly see why a strip of the flag that went to the moon would be more valuable for having been taken

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by SuricouRaven (1897204)
        It's practical value is nothing. It's economic value is what someone will pay for it. Thus it's worth $60,000.
    • by poena.dare (306891) on Monday July 11, 2011 @03:12AM (#36717896)

      Sheer lunacy!

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Even if it did go to the moon, I don't see why anyone would care. Placing a value on objects simply because of who owned them or where they were at a point in history is just as absurd as placing a value on someone's "autograph". Unless a signature is attached to a fat check directly cashable to me, then I don't see what the hell I care about some ink on a piece of paper.

      I met Buzz Aldrin when I was a kid. That was awesome. It wouldn't have been made more awesome by getting an autograph from him or by plant

      • by m50d (797211)
        Good for you. But there are people who do like having these autographs (I'm guessing it's the same thing people supposedly get out of photographs, an aid to memory, and a physical connection to that thing that happened), they seem to enjoy possessing them, and since supply is limited simple economics comes into play.
  • Somebody wouldn't settle for less than $100K for a scrap of cloth that almost was sent to the moon?

    I'll settle for a much more reasonable $10K for a scrap of cloth from underwear resembling the underwear worn by Neil Armstrong.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Somebody wouldn't settle for less than $100K for a scrap of cloth that almost was sent to the moon?

      I'll settle for a much more reasonable $10K for a scrap of cloth from underwear resembling the underwear worn by Neil Armstrong.

      Just make sure is is authentically autographed before and you may find buyers.

      A quote from the NY times [nytimes.com] FA:

      “They were throwing it all in the trash,” Mr. Moser recalled of the remnants in a recent interview, “so I picked it up out of the trash can, mounted it and had Neil Armstrong sign it.

      • Give me a second....yeah, it's signed.

        I can also rub it in some trash too. Hell, for $15K, I'll even fly down to Cape Canaveral and rub it in some trash from NASA.

      • by scdeimos (632778)
        Yay for consistency in the media. NPR reports [npr.org] that bit of the story as:

        "It was put in the trash can and I just took it out and said, `I'm going to keep that,'" he said.

        Moser said he had Neil Armstrong sign a photo of the flag planted on the moon when the astronaut returned to Earth and he kept the picture and his rescued scrap of flag together in his NASA office until he retired in 1990.

  • by srussia (884021) on Monday July 11, 2011 @01:26AM (#36717576)
    for the rest of the flag the "did" go to the moon (wink, wink...) and was shown on TV.
  • by toygeek (473120) on Monday July 11, 2011 @01:28AM (#36717588) Homepage Journal

    For Sale: Lady Gaga's Underwear
    Condition: Slightly unused
    Description: These underwear were owned by Gaga herself but never worn. It is not clear if she actually ever touched them or even knew she bought them. But they were hers for sure.

    Bidding starts at $1000

  • the rest of the flag went to Studio #2 in Hollywood.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Geeze, not this shit again.

      It was not in Hollywood, it was in Groom Lake, Nevada! How many more times does it have to be said?

      • by qwak23 (1862090)
        Yes, but if people THINK it happened in Hollywood, no one will be looking for a studio in Nevada! It's all part of the bigger picture man! Now where the hell did I put my non-stick foil hat?
  • by NtwoO (517588) on Monday July 11, 2011 @02:15AM (#36717714) Homepage
    that came off the same roll of fabric. This little bit is also just a bit of that roll that stayed behind. Sure, it has a sig, but it could just as well be another flag that was signed. Guess it is worth what a fool will pay for it.
    • by perpenso (1613749) on Monday July 11, 2011 @02:31AM (#36717758)

      Just like the 1000's of flags that came off the same roll of fabric. This little bit is also just a bit of that roll that stayed behind. Sure, it has a sig, but it could just as well be another flag that was signed. Guess it is worth what a fool will pay for it.

      Actually this scrap comes from the guy who was in charge of creating the moon flag apparatus. So the scrap does have a pretty good paper trail as coming from the flag that made it to the moon.

      "Mr. Moser, then a 30-year-old mechanical engineer, was put in charge of designing a flag mechanism that could not only fit into the lunar module and survive the flight, but also make the flag appear to fly on the windless moon. His solution involved two sections of a staff, a telescoping tube and a nylon flag bought at a local housing goods store (Sears, he thinks). But in order for the flag to fit the staff, its edges needed to be trimmed. “They were throwing it all in the trash,” Mr. Moser recalled of the remnants in a recent interview, “so I picked it up out of the trash can, mounted it and had Neil Armstrong sign it.” Forty-two years later, Mr. Moser is auctioning off those flag remnants."
      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/science/space/10moon.html [nytimes.com]

  • I suppose every time something historically grand is about to take place, people scramble to make sure that pieces of that history is kept for posterity (or fetch bucket-loads of cash at auctions in 50 years time). A part of this is sickening and the other is endearing.

    If this was a chunk of the Berlin-wall, it might fetch a different price for starters, but would probably be sold due to the amount of frantic collectors for cold war memorabilia. This might just show us that, at this point in time, we just
    • by Alex Belits (437) *

      Maybe in another 50 years that strip of flag will fetch (equivalent of the time) a couple of million dollars (or whatever currency is in use at the time).

      Oh it will. Oh yes, it will. When sold as scrap nylon.

      (just look at inflation).

    • by Seumas (6865)

      If it was a chunk of the Berlin Wall, it'd be fucking worthless. The Berlin Wall was an extremely large thing and was broken into many pieces that are sold all over the world. Unless it's a very large piece of the wall (like, at least the size of a person) and it is covered with some of the known graffiti that was popular on the wall, then a chunk of the Berlin Wall is worth about as much as a chunk of any other rock laying around. The only market for pieces of the Berlin Wall today are in selling to sucker

  • by michelcolman (1208008) on Monday July 11, 2011 @02:42AM (#36717794)
    Another piece of cloth that was made from material that was grown on the same field as the one that produced the material for the flag! Bid starts at $10000
    • by cyp43r (945301)
      I have here a genuine one-hundred-percent authentic flag with the exact same design as the flag that went to the moon! Heck, it's at all sorts of places - the UN, Washington D.C., embassies across the world! Now you might be thinking to yourself, what would I want for this incredible flag experience? Ten thousand dollars? Nine thousand dollars? No! It could be yours for the bargain price of only $8999! Act now, supplies are limited!
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Another piece of cloth that was made from material that was grown on the same field as the one that produced the material for the flag! Bid starts at $10000

      Do they grow nylon in the fields now?

      • Yes, it makes a perfect combination with spaghetti [youtube.com], alternating between the two.
        • by c0lo (1497653)
          Doh, the american Sicilians, they forgot the millennial tradition [youtube.com] of growing the spaghetti in the vast plantations of Po valley, to be further processed at a tremendous scale by Italian industry. Of course, the fact they haven't paid attention to vacheval [jokeroo.com] education didn't help them either (and caused the current AGW situation).
  • by MacTO (1161105) on Monday July 11, 2011 @03:01AM (#36717854)

    If I could afford it, hell, why not?

    This is a piece of the flag that went up for the first moon landing. I don't care if it is the flag of another nation. I find it presumptuous to devalue the remnant because it never went to the moon. Heck, it's presumptuous to think that many people will ever own anything that actually went to the moon. It is even more absurd to assume that someone would buy it for its future selling price. The fact remains that it was part of humanities first foray to another planet. (And the Earth-Moon system is essentially a double planet system.) It is an important piece of history that says more about our future than almost any artifact dug out of the soil of our home planet.

    To the nay-sayer's: just stuff it. You clearly have no appreciation of how important this achievement was. And it was unbelievably important since, within a few decades of achieving heavier than air flight, we managed to reach another world!

    • by fortunato (106228)

      I don't know about anyone else, but I find it amusing that you apparently find it absurd to devalue the garbage related to the moon shot. If someone finds Neil Armstrong's discarded urine from his physical testing prior to the flight, should we value that too? I mean "it was part of humanities first foray to another planet. [sic]" Think of how much was wasted by letting booster stages burn up in the atmosphere! We should sue someone for letting those incredible pieces of history burn up! OMG!

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Going to the moon was an amazing achievement. Being a flag is not.

    • by taktoa (1995544)

      To the neigh-sayer's: just stuff it. You clearly have no appreciation of how important this achievement was. And it was unbelievably important since, within a few decades of achieving heavier than air flight, we managed to reach another world!

      FTFY.

  • On an objective scale, nothing bigger than a subatomic particle has any intrinsic value.

    Going to the moon was essentially pointless, frivolous and meaningless.

    And yet millions of people around the world watched it, and wept for joy because for one brief moment, our reach did not exceed our grasp, and we touched the heavens.

    If the thought of having a connection to that astonishing moment - and the men involved in it, the frail apes who walked on another planet - doesn't embiggen your soul, then honestl

    • by ledow (319597)

      Sorry, I don't worship celebrities, I worship the science.

      The science that's had its funding cut so it can't even replicate what was achieved over 40 years ago, and won't be able to do it again for decades. I think $100,000 would be better spent on something like the X-Prize or just donating it to a scientific project than owning something vaguely (very vaguely) associated with the past glories of a single nation.

      It's why I'm much happier now that ESA is actually starting to lead the game rather than NASA

    • by Seumas (6865)

      So to have a connection to a stunning event, I need to own a piece of material that was present for it. Uh. Okay.

  • Some have it, some don't have it... the Real Stuff it takes to have been on the Moon. This piece of fabric clearly didn't, and was consequently left behind.
  • Posting as AC just in case there is a double secret statute of limitations which has not run out.... In 1969-1970, NASA put the Apollo 11 command module and some other items into a trailer and took them on a tour of the state capitols. When it came to my state, my family went to have a look. I remember walking down the aisle in the trailer. The command module was separated from the walkway by a small rope - nothing else - and was only a couple feet away. I was in my early teens, so naturally I leaned over t
  • I personally think it's more interesting that somebody was offered $60,000 for it and they declined.
  • How much for a swatch of the MTV flag they planted on the moon?

    (It's been seen more times on TV.)

  • If it never made it to the moon it is just another worthless scrap piece of fabric; the whole point of owning space memorabilia is to have something that actually went into space or came from space; and not some discarded scrap of fabric that they cut out because the flag did not fit on the flag holding apparatus. Honestly it sounds like the guys who has this scrap fabric spin a snake oil salesman tale about it an try to get some dumba$$ to buy it.

  • This guy was a US Government employee at the time, right? And the flag was paid for by NASA, right?

    So what the HELL is he doing with it? Oh ... yeah, he stole it. Right, I missed that part, doh.

    So he's selling stolen US Gummint property? That's clever of him.

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      This guy was a US Government employee at the time, right? And the flag was paid for by NASA, right?

      So what the HELL is he doing with it? Oh ... yeah, he stole it. Right, I missed that part, doh.

      So he's selling stolen US Gummint property? That's clever of him.

      Perfectly legal - the statute of limitations is LONG over. So yes, it IS clever of him.

  • So somebody desecrated the flag and wants to profit from it? The worst part is that the flag flying on the moon is a desecrated one! WTF?

    • by Raptoer (984438)

      They had to trim it to get it to fit in the lunar lander...

    • by Spykk (823586)
      The only true American flags are the ones that have not been altered from the pristine state they were in when they left the factory in China.

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