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Opinion

Dollar appreciation: Buy me to the moon

 

How can the dollar rise in value? By sending it to the moon. Rich Jurek, a former PR executive at Northern Trust, has launched a virtual museum of $2 bills that have been flown into space – with some of those bills valued in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars at auction. Astronauts and cosmonauts often took the rare $2 bills on their space voyages for good luck. At Jurek’s Jefferson Space Museum, named after the president that appears on the notes, there are eight such bills. The most valuable is one once owned by Gene Cernan, who travelled with the bill on three space journeys, including a moon landing with Apollo 17 in 1972.

Heightened nostalgic interest in space travel has boosted the value of all space-related artefacts, and next year will be the 40th anniversary of the last Apollo moon-landing flights.

"Only 12 people have walked on the moon, and with the US space programme grounded, coupled with the debate around the privatization of Nasa, it is unclear when man might be there again," says Jurek.

Most recently, an operational flight manual, called a checklist, of astronaut Jim Lovell was sold for $388,000 at auction. Such a book would have sold for $10,000 to $15,000 a few years ago.

Will the increasing value of space-related currency lead to a second space race? Jurek says the Apollo 15 mission to the moon took $2 and $20 bills, and some notes were left there. "The sky is the limit when it comes to the value of those notes," he says.

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