The "lunar Bible" taken to the moon in the 1970's was sold at a Dallas auction this week for $15,000 above its estimated auction price, rounding out at $75,000.
The postage stamp-sized Bible sold at an auction for space memorabilia in Dallas, Texas, on Wednesday. The relic was estimated to fetch upwards of $60,000. The "Microform Holy Bible," which can be read using a microscope, traveled around the moon on the Apollo 13 trip in 1970, and landed on the moon with Astronaut Edgar Mitchell in 1971 as part of the Apollo 14 voyage.
"This tiny microform contains the complete Bible, all 1,245 pages of the King James Bible, both Old and New Testaments," Michael Riley, senior historian for Heritage Auctions, the group that organized Wednesday's space-themed auction, said in a press release.
According to the Heritage Auctions press release, the microform Bible is especially rare because when it did visit the moon in 1971, it was exposed "directly to the lunar environment each time the hatch was opened for moonwalks" during the three days Apollo 14 sat on the moon's surface.
The Bible auctioned Wednesday was one of hundreds of miniature Bibles of its type created by the Apollo Prayer League, a group of NASA employees that wanted to create the small Holy Books to accompany the Apollo 13 visit in 1970.
Jim Lovell, commander of the Apollo 13 mission, carried 512 of the microform Bibles during the 1970's moon landing attempt. After the Apollo 13 spacecraft experienced an oxygen tank explosion, the mission was forced to abort and landed in the Pacific Ocean. Then, in 1971, astronaut Edgar Mitchell took 100 of the miniature Bibles with him on the Apollo 14 mission, which successfully landed on the moon.
While many of the small Holy Books have been cut up over the years and distributed to dignitaries, the sample that was auctioned off Wednesday is one of the last remaining 12 copies of the microform Bibles.
Another "lunar Bible" is currently on display at the Vatican through June 22 as part of "The Museum of the Bible" exhibit. The small Bible is one of three artifacts headlining the exhibit, along with fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Codex Vaticanus.