This could be your once in a lifetime opportunity to buy a piece of historic glass that could simultaneously boost your hipster and geek street cred out of the stratosphere.
The Zeiss Tele-Tessar 500mm f/8 lens by Carl Zeiss AG, produced especially for the Hasselblad Electric Data Camera (HDC), is a shiny silver gem. But the particular sample RR Auction is planning to offer on April 14 is a piece of history in the truest sense. This lens has been to the moon, after all.
Used by NASA Astronaut David Scott during the Apollo 15 mission, this lens is 12 inches long and is engraved near the mount with NASA part numbers. According to a release by RR Auction, special tabs were fitted to the rotational segments in the center of the lens used to adjust focus and aperture for ease of use with the pressurized gloves of a space suit.
“The holy grail of space collectibles are those that have made it to the moon,” said Robert Livingston, RR Auction executive vice president, in a press release. “This is a quintessential piece of photographic equipment used extensively on the lunar surface, making it a truly remarkable flown artifact from Apollo 15.” The moon lens is listed as having an estimated value of between $400,000 and $600,000.
According to RR Auction:
The silver finish was chosen for the camera and lens to maintain more uniform internal temperatures in the extreme heat of the lunar surface. The body of the lens bears several affixed Velcro tabs, and the lens cap and rear are covered in duct tape, which is signed on the rear in felt tip: 'D. R. Scott.'
Altogether, there were 293 photographs taken during Apollo 15 using this lens. The lens has expected scuffs and wear from extensive use in space, including a tumble Scott had while walking on the Moon; the tape is believed to be from a roll flown on the mission and retains some lunar dust.
If this can't satisfy you gear lust, nothing will. Heck, you can even grab Dave Scott's Apollo 15 Lunar Orbit Flown Photography Chart if the lens isn't enough for you!