Monthly samples originally belonged to Nina Ivanovova Korolev, widow of the former Soviet cosmic program director
Three fragments of rocks, which were obtained from the Soviet space mission in 1970, were sold at $ 855,000 on Thursday at an auction in New York.
Sotheby's Southeastern House reported that "Moon Rocks" are the only known documented moon mass in private hands. They were offered for sale to an unknown private American collector who bought them at an auction in 1993 for $ 442,500.
Sotheby's said the buyer on Thursday was another private American collector but the name was not published.
The Auction House said before selling that fragments that range in size from 0.79 inches x 0.079 inches (2 x 2 mm) to 0.039 inches x 0.39 inches (1 x 1 mm) could bring up to $ 1 million .
Monthly samples originally featured Nina Ivanovna's Korolev, widow of the former Soviet programmer of the space program, Sergei Pavlovich Korolev. It was presented to her as a gift on behalf of the Soviet Union as recognition of the husband's contributions to the program, Sotheby's said.
The particles were obtained in September 1970 by the unmanned Luna-16, which bore a hole in the surface to a depth of 35.8 cm (35.8 cm) and pulled out a core sample, the auction house said in a statement.
Most of the other known samples taken from the month remain with the two entities that collected them: the United States during the Apollo 11-17 missions and the Soviet Union through Luna-16, Luna-20 and Luna-24 missions.
Collectors have paid huge amounts of artifacts for space exploration. Last year, Sotheby's sold a zip bag labeled "Lunar Sample Return" with moon dust used by Neil Armstrong for the first crew on the Moon in 1969 for $ 1.8 million.