The Apollo 16 Moon Rock Manifest


Representing the first-generation handwritten record, completed on the Moon,
for one-quarter of all the Apollo moon rocks ever returned to Earth

A first-generation Apollo moon rock manifest, coated with lunar dust,
representing the earliest record for some of the first geological samples returned from the Moon.
This item represents one of the most important original source documents of the space program,
and indeed the entire pantheon of human exploration.


During the six Apollo manned lunar landings, a total of 842 pounds of lunar rocks and soil were collected.
Of this total, 213 pounds were collected during Apollo 16.
A total of three moonwalks were conducted by astronauts John W. Young and Charles M. Duke, Jr.
during their seventy-two hour stay on the Moon.
Each Apollo 16 moonwalk involved gathering samples of lunar rock and soil,
and then returning them to the lunar module "Orion".
Once safely inside, the samples were then weighed on a special scale that was calibrated
to work within the one-sixth gravity environment of the "Orion".
Once the samples were weighed, the total collection weight for that particular "EVA"
was then written down on the accompanying moon rock manifest.
As you can see by referring to this manifest, this process occurred three times after each "EVA".


During the repeated handing of this document by Young and Duke during three days on the Moon,
some of the lunar dust coating their hands was inadvertently transferred onto the manifest.
It is a wondrous and surreal experience to see a portion of the Moon's surface clearly coating
an original Apollo manifest for none other then moon rocks and soil!
When one considers that it is illegal to own any of the actual Apollo moon rocks themselves,
the original manifest for many of those rocks is likely the next best obtainable item!


As this document represents one of the most important official records of the space program,
astronaut Charles M. Duke, Jr. has elected to personally flight-certify it.


It is well known that any object returned from the lunar surface is of the highest rarity.
What is not as commonly appreciated is the fact that the majority of items housed within a
lunar module remained stowed during their stay on the Moon.
As such, many of the items returned from the lunar surface are in fairly clean condition,
for lack of "hands-on" use on the Moon.
However, the Apollo 16 Moon Rock Manifest is a notable exception!
As you can see, the manifest exhibits considerable signs of "wear and tear" from its
repeated handling on the lunar surface during its three-day stay.
In the rarified world of space collecting, excessive "wear and tear" on an artifact is extremely desirable,
as it demonstrates actual use during the mission.
The manifest has been sonically-sealed in a special archival enclosure which has, in turn,
been encapsulated with the flight-certification certificate within a custom housing.


As stated earlier, a total of 213 pounds of lunar rocks were collected on Apollo 16.
However, if you add together the manifest's three column totals (56 + 97 + 118 pounds),
you arrive at a total combined weight of 271 pounds, not 213 pounds:
This deviation is addressed in the following clarification letter from astronaut Charles M. Duke, Jr.,
which accompanies the manifest package:


We believe that this particular manifest represents the only Apollo moon rock manifest in private hands,
and that it is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.
Let me explain why.
This manifest originated from one of the Apollo 16 checklists,
the balance of which will be kept together to preserve its historical integrity.
I recently conducted an in-person examination of the corresponding Apollo 11 checklist,
and found that it did not contain a moon rock manifest.
This makes logical sense, for in the case of Apollo 11, I suspect that a moon rock manifest
was not needed for the crew's single two-hour rock-gathering EVA.
This is in contrast to Apollo 16's three rock-gathering expeditions, spread over several days.
The Apollo 12 Moon Rock Manifest, if it exists, is believed to be a part of the holdings
of the Ft. Worth Museum of Science.
Likewise, the Apollo 14 Moon Rock Manifest is believed to be a part of the holdings
of the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Florida.
The Apollo 15 Moon Rock Manifest was likely jettisoned with the Lunar Module "Falcon",
and sent crashing back into the Moon.
Finally, the Apollo 17 Moon Rock Manifest is held by an entity that is extremely unlikely
to either separate it from its surrounding checklist, or sell it at all.


During the past seven years, I have been privileged to catalog and appraise tens of thousands
of flown and unflown American space artifacts from virtually every mission.
However, in all that time, this particular artifact has stood out in my mind as potentially
one of the most significant.
This item is instantly recognizable to everyone once it is identified as a moon rock manifest,
because few other artifacts command the universal appeal of moon rocks.
After all, the layperson knows we went to the Moon to collect rocks, and here is one of only two
lunar manifests in private hands to prove that we actually did so.
Secondly, one of the most important and best known official records in the history of the
American space program is the 842 pounds of rocks returned from the Moon.
Here is a unique opportunity to acquire the original source document for one-quarter of that total,
complete with a portion of the Moon's surface to go with it!


The Charles M. Duke, Jr. Space Collection