The Dutch national museum said Thursday that one of its prized possessions, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon by U.S. astronauts, is just a piece of petrified wood.
Rijksmuseum spokeswoman Xandra van Gelder, who oversaw the investigation that proved the piece was a fake, said the museum will keep it anyway as a curiosity.
"It's a good story, with some questions that are still unanswered," she said. "We can laugh about it," reports San Jose Mercury News.
It was given to former Prime Minister Willem Drees during a goodwill tour by the three Apollo-11 astronauts shortly after their moon mission in 1969.
When Mr Drees died, the rock went on display at the Amsterdam museum.
At one point it was insured for around $500,000 (£308,000), but tests have proved it was not the genuine article, BBC News informs.
Mr Middendorf told how the rock came from the U.S. State Department, but couldn't recall the exact details.
'Apparently no one thought to doubt it, since it came from the prime minister's collection,' Ms Van Gelder said.
The rock is not usually on display at the museum, which is primarily known for fine art by masters including Rembrandt.
'It's a nondescript, pretty-much-worthless stone,' said Geologist Frank Beunk from Amsterdam's Free University. He said he could see at a glance the rock was not from the moon, Daily Mail informs.
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