A Hasselblad Electric Data Camera was brought back to Earth by astronaut Jim Irwin in 1971, after the Apollo 15 mission, to become part of Space History.

Jim Irwin's Hasselblad Moon camera was auctioned March 22, 2014 by the WestLicht Gallery in Austria for a record-breaking price of 660,000 euros (almost one million US dollars).

In Vienna, the lot the camera was in opened for sale at 80,000 euros (about US$ 110,000), and reached 660,000 euros (about US$ 1 million) after a long battle between bidders from all over the world.

On March 23, accounts of this auction sale appeared widely on Facebook, Twitter, TV shows and newspapers.
These accounts relayed what is most likely one of the first in a long series of record-breaking auction prices for Hasselblad Space collectibles.

All this was made possible thanks to WestLicht Gallery and Alain Lazzarini, former owner and consignor of the camera. Mr Lazzarini is a long time collector of Hasselblad cameras and author of the reference book "Hasselblad and the Moon".

Jim Irwin's Hasselblad Moon camera
Credits : WestLicht Gallery

"Enter Space History" by Alain Lazzarini

How a few people at collectspace spread rumors and tried to sabotage this sale.

A few days after WestLicht Gallery auctions catalogs went online (February 27, 2014)  I was contacted by someone claiming to be collectspace's editor. Let's call this person RP. I had already been in touch with many potential buyers from Japan, USA, Russia, France, Italy and other countries and readily answered their questions.

Using Hasselblad cameras, American astronauts took photographs of the surface of the Moon which will forever remain the most famous photographs of the 20th century. That is History.

And as it is the case with most major historical events, there are some unanswered questions.
The one I am interested in today is: how many Hasselblad cameras did NASA used during Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions ?

The very first Hasselblad space camera

It is quite difficult to answer that question because there are no accurate data available from either Hasselbald or NASA. So I have made my own estimations based on serial numbers on cameras used by NASA.

The first one was a 500C bought by astronaut Schirra in a Houston store in 1962. It was later used during the Mercury flight in October 1962 and the results were so good NASA technicians decided that from this moment on they would use Hasselblad cameras during all space flights.

The first 500C used were modified by NASA then by Cine Mechanics in Los Angeles. Cine Mechanics made more professionnal 500C and they created a new magazine that could hold 70 photographs.

There is such a camera on Hasselblad website in category "Space cameras". Overall, nearly 30 500C were used since Gemini 9 in 1966.

NASA also used SWC customized by Cine Mechanics combined with the 70 magazine.

From Spring 1967, a strong partnership led NASA and Hassleblad to build the camera that would be used to take photographs on the Moon.