Wednesday, April 04, 2007

FBI halts this medal's orbit on eBay

By Josh Noel
Tribune staff reporter

The eBay posting promised a one-of-a-kind, and sure enough it was: a Presidential Medal of Freedom made for James Lovell, commander of the nearly disastrous Apollo 13 space mission.

After two days of bidding in mid-January, the price was at $5,000 and still likely to soar.

"This really belongs in a museum for many to see," the seller wrote. "YOU WILL NOT FIND ANOTHER ... EVER."

The seller, a woman who frequently sells on eBay, found a taker: the FBI.

The red, white and blue decoration, highlighted by a five-pointed star and etched with the name "James Arthur Lovell Jr." on its back, is in the FBI's Chicago office, and agents are trying to solve the mystery of how it slipped away from the government.

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