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NASA's original moon landing tapes sell for $1.82 million

Sotheby's auctioned off the three best surviving Apollo 11 recordings.

The 2-inch Quadruplex videotapes are unrestored, unenhanced and unremastered. 
Courtesy of Sotheby's

Three original NASA recordings of the first moon landing have been sold for $1.82 million. That's more than 8,000 times the price they were last sold for at a government surplus auction in 1976, according to Sotheby's. The latest auction coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on July 20.

The 2-inch Quadruplex videotapes are unrestored, unenhanced and unremastered, the auction house said. They run a total of 2 hours and 24 minutes and capture moments including Neil Armstrong's "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" declaration, as well as the "long-distance phone call" with President Richard Nixon and the planting of the American flag on the lunar surface. The auction house didn't reveal who bought the tapes. 

Now playing: Watch this: Apollo 11 moon landing highlights from CBS News

"The present videotapes are the only surviving first-generation recordings of the historic moon walk, and are sharper and more distinct than the few tapes that have survived from the contemporary network television broadcasts, all of which endured some loss of video and audio quality with each successive transmission from microwave tower to microwave tower," Sotheby's said. 

Also sold at the auction were items from Buzz Aldrin's personal collection for $739,375, including the first and last pages of the Apollo 11 flight plan for $175,000 and $131,250, respectively; a collection of 20 original Apollo Firing Room Control Panels from the Kennedy Space Center Firing Room 1 for $212,500; and a collage of Apollo 11 memorabilia for $225,000.