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Original NASA Apollo 11 moon landing tapes set to fetch $1 million

For Apollo 11's 50th anniversary, Sotheby's is auctioning first-generation NASA footage of the big event.

This story is part of To the Moon, a series exploring humanity's first journey to the lunar surface and our future living and working on the moon.

The tapes run a total of 2 hours and 24 minutes and capture moments including Neil Armstrong declaring, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." 

Sotheby's

Got a player for 2-inch Quadruplex videotapes sitting around? You could view original NASA recordings of the Apollo 11 moon landing in your living room.

Sotheby's is auctioning off three first-generation tapes of the historic touchdown as part of its July 20 auction of space exploration artifacts set to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing

The tapes run a total of 2 hours and 24 minutes and capture moments including Neil Armstrong declaring, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Also on the tapes are the "long-distance phone call" with President Richard Nixon and the planting of the American flag on the lunar surface. 

Now playing: Watch this: Apollo 11 moon landing highlights from CBS News
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Sotheby's is calling the videotapes the only surviving first-generation recordings of the historic moon walk. They're sharper and more distinct than the few tapes that have survived from the contemporary network TV broadcasts. All those endured some loss of video and audio quality with each successive transmission from microwave tower to microwave tower. 

Gary George, an engineering student and NASA intern, purchased the tapes for $217.77 at a government surplus auction in 1976. It's estimated they'll sell for at least a $1 million at the Sotheby's event.   

The auction is already open for public exhibition. Other items on the block include an original flight plan sheet signed by Buzz Aldrin, a pre-flight X-ray of the cover layer boots from Armstrong's spacesuit and signed NASA portraits of the Apollo crew

Originally published July 15, 11:42 a.m. PT.