Collectibles expert fears lander's fate

Dave Vorhees
Staff Writer

A former NASA special agent, who has worked to recover space artifacts, fears the thief who stole the gold replica moon lander will likely melt it down.
Joseph R. Gutheinz, Jr told the Wapakoneta Daily News in a phone interview Sunday from his home in Texas, that there is a market for collectibles like the 18-karat gold replica lander, but he believes the thief might find a sale difficult.
"To the collectibles market, there would have been other items that would have been even more valuable,” Guntheinz said. “However, if the thief does try to sell it as is then it would be best to get it out of the country and sell it.”
Still, Gutheinz hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a sale within the U.S.
“People have done things in the past and put stolen items on the Internet and tried to sell them in that fashion,” Gutheinz said. “It’s always possible, but the best way to sell those items is out of the United States."
According to Gutheinz, if the thief was able to smuggle the item out of the United States the artifact could sell for millions of dollars, depending on the buyer.
The two places that are the wild west for collectibles, according to Gutheinz, are the Middle East and Russia.
"Those people have money, they spend a lot of money and if you wanted to get away with the theft that would be the best way to do it," Gutheinz said.
According to Gutheinz there were far more valuable items, such as the space suits and the moon rock from the Apollo 11 mission, in the museum that if a person was breaking into it to steal collectibles those items would be the ones they most likely would have gone after. Guntheinz fears that because this item was made of 18 Karat gold that the thief will most likely melt it down for the quick payday.
In regard to the moon rocks...

For the rest of this story and more, pick up Monday's edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.