The lunar samples originally belonged to Nina Ivanovna Korolyova, a widow of the former Soviet director of the space program
Three fragments of rocks, extracted from the moon by the Soviet space mission in 1970, were sold for $ 855,000 at an auction in New York on Thursday.
Sotheby's auction house says the "moon rocks" are the only known documented lunar in private hands. They were offered for sale by an unidentified private American collector who bought them at auction in 1993 for $ 442,500.
Sotheby said the buyer on Thursday was still a private American collector, but the name was not disclosed.
At the auction house, before the sale, it is said that the fragments, in size from .079 inches x .079 inches (2 x 2mm) to .039 inch x .039 inches (1 x 1mm), can reach up to $ 1 million.
Lunar samples originally belonged to Nina Ivanovna Koroleva, the widow of former Soviet space program director Sergei Korolev. They were presented as a gift on behalf of the Soviet Union in recognizing her husband's contribution to the program, Sotheby said.
The particles were discovered in September 1970 by the unmanned Luna-16, which drilled a hole in the surface to a depth of 35 cm and extracted from the core sample, the auction house said in a statement.
Most other well-known samples taken from the moon remain with the two entities that have gathered: the United States during the missions of Apollo 11-17 and the Soviet Union through drones Luna-16, Luna-20 and Luna-24.
Collectors pay huge sums for space exploration artefacts. Last year, Sotheby sold a moped-sealed bag with the word "Monthly Returns," decorated with moon dust, which Neil Armstrong used for the first mission of the moon mission in 1969 for $ 1.8 million.