With Christmas approaching, sales of moon acreage increase
This Christmas, shoppers can dazzle their loved ones with a truly heavenly gift Ježíšek is unlikely to fit under the tree.
For as little as 999 Kč ($56), they can buy an acre of land on the moon — or at least a certificate that lays claim to the parcel.
More than 8,000 Czechs have bought lunar real estate so far, says Filip Rajchart, spokesman for the Lunar Embassy of the Czech Republic.
“We see an increased demand for our products before any holiday — Christmas, Easter, etc.,” Rajchart says. “I think it can be a very unique present and also a good joke.”
That ‘joke’ can cost as much as 25,000 Kč for a 2-acre plot in exclusive lunar neighborhoods, such as the Elite Beverly Hills Moon district, which lies near the space base.
Rajchart also sells 1-acre plots on Mars and Venus for 999 Kč. A 2-acre parcel, ownership of which includes a framed certificate, is 1,790 Kč.
The “embassy,” located in Anděl and staffed by two administrative employees, opened in October 2006 under the auspices of parent organization Lunar Embassy USA, a self-recognized group that claims ownership of the moon and is led by Dennis Hope, a man who calls himself the “Head Cheese” of the Nevada-based embassy.
“Hope … would like to have a branch on the moon,” Rajchart says. “Only the future will show whether our ideas have a real basis.”
What is real is the money that Hope is raking in — he claims to have sold 3.5 million pieces of interplanetary and lunar real estate so far.
“Two former U.S. presidents and several very prominent stars own their lunar property already,” he states on his Web site, www.lunarembassy.com. Moon plots range from $20 for 1 acre to $1,155,427 for 888,790 acres (called a “quadrant property”), and all major credit cards are accepted.
A man with a plan
Hope founded the Lunar Embassy in 1980, and now has German, Japanese, French, Latvian, Russian and Czech counterparts. The embassy also offers land on Venus, Mars, Mercury and Io, one of Jupiter’s moons, with plans for other planets in the works.
“We know that the Internet contains several joke sites,” the Web site concedes. “We would like to reassure you that this is not such a site.” How? By providing “written reassurance.”
Hope maintains that his right to sell off the moon is real because, well, nobody has challenged it.
“The U.S. government has had several years to contest such a claim. They never did. Neither did the United Nations nor the Russian government,” Hope’s site states.
If readers still doubt his claim to the moon, they can check out Hope’s 2003 National Leadership Award from the National Republican Congressional Committee (signed by former U.S. Congressman Tom Delay), which he replicates on the site.
Hope avoids accusations of fraud by labeling his deeds as novelty gifts. “You should know that this does not diminish the value of the property that you purchase in any way, as every deed is recorded and registered in the Lunar Embassy’s registration database,” Hope says by way of assurance.
No Czech lunar landowners responded to a request for an interview for this article.
Lunar Czech Republic can be found online at Lunarniambasada.cz.
— Naďa Černá contributed to this report.