Gagarin’s report on his flight sold for $171 thousand. Is the deal illicit?

It will be recalled that an anonymous American buyer paid $171 thousand at an auction in New York for the original of Yury Gagarin's report about his space flight. The typewritten document on three pages was signed by the cosmonaut on April 15, 1961, three days after his historic flight. Gagarin's report became, undoubtedly, the lot that attracted most attention at the specialized auction named "Space Exploration" and conducted under the code-name Sputnik. In all, 354 lots were set out, and all of them were associated with space exploration. Meanwhile, Vladimir Kozlov, the head of Federal Archives Service of Russia, has said that it is unknown how could Gagarin’s report get to the auction. “Archives service does not have complete information about this document. But it is a real report by Gagarin. A few copies were printed. There is evidence that at least five printed copies exist and that the sold one was really signed by Gagarin”, Kozlov told journalists. According to him, “if the report of the first cosmonaut, i.e. a very important document, is really concerned, when its selling is illicit. Export of state documents is banned by Russian legislation”. To all appearances, the report was “stolen from some file, kept in some department, but not in the state archives”, Kozlov said. However it has been announced before that not a real document, but a copy of Gagarin’s space diary was concerned. It has been said that immediately after the flight Gagarin made a report, which was copied three times, and Gagarin sighed each of the copies. And, according to unconfirmed information, the original is kept in archives.

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