An Inflight Coveral jacket worn by astronaut Buzz Aldrin when he flew on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon's surface in 1969 was auctioned off to an anonymous bidder for almost $2.8 million.
The winning bidder did not immediately reveal their identity and participated in the auction by phone, which was facilitated by Sotheby's auction house.
The $2,772,500 paid for the jacket made it “the most valuable American space-flown artifact ever sold at auction,” an auctioneer said, according to the New York Times.
92-year-old Aldrin put a list of other items from his career up for auction. Some of the items date back to his time as a student at the United States Military Academy. They include the Eagle lunar module's circuit breaker switch, which broke during the mission and could have caused Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to become stuck on the Moon.
Aldrin said, "I hope that this collection offers some insight into what it has been like to be Buzz Aldrin."
Sotheby's called the list of items "among the most significant and valuable space exploration artifacts ever offered at auction."
Aldrin said in a press statement, "After deep consideration, the time felt right to share these items with the world, which for many are symbols of a historical moment, but for me have always remained personal mementos of a life dedicated to science and exploration."
One of the items put up for auction is an old brushed aluminum black felt-tipped ink pen. It was flown to the Moon and used in that mission. It is credited with saving Aldrin and his fellow astronaut after that circuit breaker switch was broken.
When the accident happened, Aldrin is recorded as calling back to NASA to say, "Houston, Tranquility. Do you have a way of showing the configuration of the engine arm circuit breaker? Over. The reason I'm asking is because the end of it appears to be broken off. I think we can push it back in again. I'm not sure we could pull it out if we pushed it in, though. Over.”