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The only camera to make it to the moon and back sells at auction for $910,000

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(Galerie WestLicht)

Terukazu Fujisawa, founder of Japan's Yodobashi Camera retail chain, is the proud new owner of a unique piece of photographic history: a Hasselblad 500 camera that was used on the moon during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971. The Japanese collector won a hotly contested auction with a bid of 550,000 euros, which together with a premium for the auctioneers' expenses brings its total price to 660,000 euros or just over $910,000.

Though it isn't the first Hasselblad to reach the moon — Neil Armstrong had one with him on the first manned lunar mission in 1969 — this auction item is special in the fact that it's returned to Earth. As Hasselblad's website explains, the other cameras used on the surface of the moon have been left there due to their bulk and weight, with the Apollo astronauts keeping only the film magazines.

Out of this world and back again

The auction for the historic camera started at 80,000 euros and was expected to close at somewhere around 200,000 euros, making the eventual price paid something of a surprise. It illustrates a flourishing enthusiasm for photographic collectibles, which was reiterated by the 102,000 euros paid for a 1950s print of Wanda Wulz's "Io + Gatto" double exposure, one of the earliest and most famous selfies ever taken.

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