Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that a treasured piece at the Dutch national museum — a supposed moon rock from the first manned lunar landing given to former Prime Minister Willem Drees during a goodwill tour by the three Apollo-11 astronauts shortly after their moon mission in 1969 — has been revealed as nothing more than petrified wood, curators say. A jagged fist-size stone with reddish tints, it was mounted and placed above a plaque that said, 'With the compliments of the Ambassador of the United States of America... to commemorate the visit to The Netherlands of the Apollo-11 astronauts.' The plaque does not specify that the rock came from the moon's surface. Researchers from Amsterdam's Free University said they could see at a glance the rock was probably not from the moon. They followed the initial appraisal up with extensive testing. 'It's a nondescript, pretty-much-worthless stone,' wrote Geologist Frank Beunk in an article published by the museum. Beunk says the rock, which the museum at one point insured for more than half a million dollars, was worth no more than $70. The 'rock' had originally been been vetted through a phone call to NASA. As the US Embassy in the Hague said it was investigating the matter, the Rijksmuseum says it will keep the piece as a curiosity."
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