Friday, May 30, 2014 3:39 pm
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – A toothbrush used by one of the American astronauts who flew to the Moon was sold at auction for nearly $12,000, or triple the starting bid, the auction house said Friday.
The clear Oral B-40 toothbrush was used by command module pilot Jack Swigert during the 1970 Apollo 13 mission and sold for $11,974, said the Nate D. Sanders auction house, which did not reveal the buyer.
Swigert was played by actor Kevin Bacon in the 1995 movie, “Apollo 13,” which also starred Tom Hanks.
The mission was meant to be the seventh manned journey to land on the lunar surface, but the touchdown was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded 55 hours into the trip.
Swigert and his two crew mates managed to convert their lunar module, Aquarius, “into a effective lifeboat” and returned safely to Earth, NASA said.
Swigert was one of 24 American astronauts to fly around the Moon as part of the Apollo program, but was not among the dozen who walked on the surface.
He died in 1982 of bone cancer at age 51.
The auction of personal items from his estate fetched a total of $224,940, the auction house said.
The most expensive item was a silver Robbins medal that Swigert was given for the Apollo 17 flight, the final lunar landing of the program, which sold for $56,250.
A still-working silver mechanical pencil that Swigert used on Apollo 13 mission sold for $10,313.
An Apollo-13 flown flag sold for $18,291, while an earpiece Swigert wore in space sold for more than $6,000.
Last week, a joystick controller from the fourth US manned lunar landing, Apollo 15, sold at a Massachusetts auction for $610,063.
That was believed to be the most ever paid at auction for a piece from a NASA spacecraft, experts said.