The record-setting auction of a checklist used during the ill-fated 1970 Apollo 13 mission has run into trouble, reports Robert Z. Pearlman of collectSPACE.com. Greg Rohan, president of Heritage Auctions in Dallas, said NASA has filed a claim stating that astronaut James Lovell did not have title to the artifact, which sold for $388,375 to an unidentified “east coast collector” after a bidding war Nov. 30.
NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs responded that NASA hasn’t filed a claim against the checklist, but said, “What we have done is notify the auction house that we are seeking proof of ownership of the artifact. In conjunction with that, we’ve also notified the office of the Inspector General, which would be responsible for any investigation.”
The 70-page, ring-bound book drew the highest price for a mission-used document in part because it was featured in the 1995 film “Apollo 13” starring Tom Hanks as Lovell. Lovell said he found the checklist while cleaning out a bookshelf.
“Mr. Lovell, a national hero with an excellent reputation, warranted in writing to Heritage when he consigned the checklist, that he had clear title to the checklist and that it was his to sell,” Rohan said.