Cathleen Lewis, curator of the Russian and Soviet Space collection at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., said experts believe Moscow originally made four back-up Sputniks. Yet far more than four Sputniks are now in circulation. The original 183-pound Sputnik burned up when it re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.
"There is so little documentation and accountability. We just don't know what it is," she said of the latest sale. [...]
The Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum displays one Sputnik; several Russian museums also claim original Sputniks. The Museum of Flight in Seattle spent more than $100,000 two years ago to buy a Sputnik with documentation from Moscow's Museum of Cosmonautics. [...]
George Stauffer, a vintage car dealer in Wisconsin, says he has two original Sputniks, making him the largest collector of the distinct space memorabilia. In an interview, he said he has documentation from Moscow's Museum of Technical Achievements. [...] He is now offering one of the two for sale on his web site for $39,000.
The Sputnik I mentioned last week has been mysteriously deleted from eBay! But apparently there was some doubt about it anyway:
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