CHICAGO-- A Medal of Freedom missing since 1970 and originally intended for astronaut James Lovell has been recovered after being found for sale on eBay, the FBI announced recently announced. Agents recovered the medal late last month, the FBI said in a news release. The matter remains under investigation and no arrests have been made or charges filed.
The medal was produced in 1970 to be presented to Captain Lovell, commander of the Apollo 13 space mission. It had a slight defect, however, and Lovell received a replacement instead. The original medal was supposed to be destroyed but somehow ended up with a private collector in Pennsylvania, according to the FBI. Lovell learned of its sale on eBay earlier this year and contacted his lawyer, who, in turn, called the FBI in Chicago.
In a public statement, Lovell said he was happy about the medal's recovery. "I am grateful to the FBI for their quick response and proud to be a recipient of our nation's highest civilian award," he said in the statement.
Lovell's leadership of the Apollo 13 was portrayed in the movie of the same name starring Tom Hanks. Lovell and his family run a restaurant, Lovells of Lake Forest, in north suburban Chicago.