NEW YORK - A navigational chart used by Apollo 11 astronauts became the unexpected star of an auction on Thursday marking the 40th anniversary of man's first lunar landing.
The circular lunar surface chart, which is 9 inches in diameter and consists of two sheets of plastic, sold for a stellar $218,000, according to Bonhams New York.
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin used the circular lunar surface star chart to determine their exact position on the moon after landing on the planet's surface on July 20, 1969, according to the auction catalog.
The device shows the Earth, sun, planets and constellations on one sheet; a transparent overlay is imprinted with six overlapping circles.
"This star chart was the most critical navigational device we used while on the Moon," read a letter accompanying the chart and signed by Aldrin.
The tool had been expected to bring in $70,000 to $90,000, according to the auction house. Bonhams New York did not identify the buyer.
Among the other highlights of the auction were three checklists from the descent sequence of the landing. Signed by Aldrin, the lot had been estimated to fetch $125,000 to $175,000. But the checklists failed to sell.
In another surprise, an Apollo 11 emblem 3 1/2 inches in diameter, printed with an eagle in flight above the moon's surface, sold for $61,000. It had been estimated to sell at up to $35,000.
The auction contained about 350 more items from various space missions, mostly acquired from the astronauts or from their personal collections. Besides the Apollo 11 mission, items were offered from the Apollo missions 14, 15, and 16.
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