'Houston, We Have A $388,375 Fortune'

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I’m sure the last thing on Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell’s mind when he was running through a checklist to turn his lunar lander into a lifeboat was how much his notebook would be worth someday.

More pressing after an explosion tore apart the Apollo 13 service module and damaged the crew compartment was if he and his crew would even have a future.

But innovation and luck prevailed, and this week, fortune as well. Lovell’s Lunar Module Activation Checklist sold for $388,375 at an auction in Dallas. The buyer was not identified.

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Space history buff Robert Pearlman reports on his website that more than a dozen collectors bid for the 70-page, three-ring binder, which was featured in the 1995 movie adaptation of the mission starring Tom Hanks.

Lovell, now 83, told Reuters he was cleaning out a bookcase and found the notebook.

“I decided to put this put this up for auction so that someone who is really interested in this piece of history can enjoy it,” Lovell told Reuters.

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The auction of space memorabilia also included an American flag flown on Apollo 11, which fetched $33,460, and a training jacket owned by Apollo and shuttle astronaut John Young, which sold for $17,925.

Image: Notebook belonging to Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell sold for $388,375 at auction this week. Credit: Heritage Galleries via CollectSpace.com