Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Hardware & Flown Items
  Astronauts inscribing flown flag presentations

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Astronauts inscribing flown flag presentations
gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3159
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-22-2008 08:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've never liked flown flags where the astronaut has signed on the flag as the ink always runs after a period of time (for some reason beta-cloth seems to be more stable).

A recently observed signing had me wondering: if you had an Apollo flown flag, attached to the usual certificate, with one or more autopen signatures on the certificate, would YOU have one of the astronauts sign ON the flag as well? If not, why not?

Having recently acquired an Appollo 13 flown flag with original Swigert and Lovell signatures on the certificate (not the flag) but Haise autopen, the thought of getting Haise to sign in-person never even entered my head - for fear of altering the item.

mjanovec
Member

Posts: 3627
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 11-22-2008 11:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think there's a common misconception out there that all flown flags must be written on, certifying their flown status. My opinion is that when you have a flown flag attached to an official presentation, the official presentation acts as the certification of authenticity that the flag was flown.

We've also seen the flown flags sold at Heritage often coming with a separate COA from the astronaut, further certifying the flown status of the flag. Add all of that together and there is no reason to have the flag written upon... especially when you run the risk of the ink bleeding into the fabric and creating one big mess (which we've seen before). Also, I tend to think the flags just look a lot nicer when the are not written upon... and the "vintage" nature of the presentation isn't altered.

The only circumstance when writing on the flag makes sense is when you have a loose flag or a flag that is not part of an official presentation. Even then I would be tempted to create a new presentation where the astronaut signs the presentation, not the flag itself.

That's just my opinion... I'm sure others will feel differently.

Podge
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 11-22-2008 12:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Podge   Click Here to Email Podge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've got an Apollo 15, surface flown Al Worden inscribed US state flag. It's a right mess!!

Larry McGlynn used the term "feathered" to describe the way the ink had run, that was a very good description.

Apparently it was due to a roller ball type pen that was used by Worden. Maybe a different type of pen may be more stable for use with flags?

The flag was not physically attached to any sort of presentation or COA, so I was happier having a messy inscription than none at all (although it really does detract from the aesthetics of the item).

If you've already got original Swigert and Lovell inscriptions on your Apollo 13 flag, I would personally try and get Haise to complete it, but not with roller ball (or fountain pen!) I'm not too bothered about the aesthetics of an item, more bothered about provenance, so that would be my choice.

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3159
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 11-22-2008 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Feathered" is used where someone has brushed the not-yet-dry signature. This has "bled", presumably a chemical reaction between ink and material. However, as you say, yours is not attached to a certificate so, with the right choice of pen, writing on the flag is more appropriate. Sorry that yours has bled like this as it's a neat inscription.

I wasn't quite clear in my original post. Lovell and Swigert have signed the certificate, not the flag. There's no way I'd even think of having anyone sign a flag already attached and certificated... for the very reasons cited by Mark.

StarDome
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 11-22-2008 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for StarDome   Click Here to Email StarDome     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've got a Union Jack Silk Flag that flew to the moon on Apollo 15 that I got from Al Worden. He has signed on the flag "Flown To The Moon On Apollo 15 Al Worden Apollo 15 CMP" in black felt pen.

I got him to add the mission dates in black ball point at Autographia when he last visted.

The flag is one of 3, 2 good ones including mine, and the other bled into the flag causing a mess so I'm happy I got one of the 2 good ones.

It also comes with a seperate COA.

andrewcli
Member

Posts: 328
From: La Jolla, CA, USA
Registered: Jul 2007

posted 11-22-2008 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcli   Click Here to Email andrewcli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm actually thinking of having Gene Cernan sign a flown flag for me.

It sounds like markers, felt, and rollerball pens would make things messy. I think a ball point pen, such as a Bic, is the way to go.

StarDome
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 11-22-2008 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for StarDome   Click Here to Email StarDome     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Make sure you hold all four corners down and as tight as possible as he signs it, otherwise it may move and smudge. Sounds like a nice item you have there.

MrSpace86
Member

Posts: 1402
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 11-22-2008 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I acquired an Apollo 13 presentation with a flown flag and patch and an Apollo 16 flown flag presentation. The mattes and presentations were in horrible shape. Lovell's signature was pretty much faded and it seemed that someone must have spilled coffee or something on part of the presentation. The Apollo 16 had warped and had bents and only the signatures were basically gone. I took it upon myself to remove them and made my own presentations. It killed the authenticity and value, but I know that they are legitimately flown and I I won't be getting rid of them anytime soon.

To answer the post, I do wish they would have signed the actual flag instead of the matted presentations. It keeps the authenticity with the item at all times. And I would definitely complete a crew if I ever had the chance. I just completed an Apollo 8 that had a Lovell autopen and I don't regret it. I just find a creative way to cover the autopen.

Podge
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 11-23-2008 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Podge   Click Here to Email Podge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Podge:
I've got an Apollo 15, surface flown Al Worden inscribed US state flag. It's a right mess!!
It is interesting to note that the parts of the inscription that read "onboard 1971... Al... August 7" have fared better than the rest of the lettering, with very little bleeding.

Why could that be? (I assume it was all done at the same time and with the same pen.)

andrewcli
Member

Posts: 328
From: La Jolla, CA, USA
Registered: Jul 2007

posted 11-23-2008 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcli   Click Here to Email andrewcli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't tell from the low magnification, but it looks like it was written with a roller ball pen, it's thicker and denser than a ball point pen. Plus the flag might have been exposed to high humidity or water and bled through at the center of the flag over time.

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 818
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 07-13-2010 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Last night's "Pawn Stars" show reminded me of why I have all my flags inscribed by the astronaut. As I explained in that thread, without Duke's inscription, it would appear that my display was the same and my Apollo 16 flown flag would have been assumed to be lunar orbit.

I have all flown flags in my collection inscribed directly on the flag. I figure presentation display flags can be switched or swapped, since there is no bounds to which a fraudulent person won't stoop.

Here is a link to the Apollo flags.

Charlie Duke was the one that turned me on to the practice when he signed my Apollo 16 flags display. I have had every astronaut do it since then.

Every one of my Apollo flown flags is signed by the member of the crew who I procured it from. I use ball point pen, so it doesn't bleed or feather. The auction houses have told me that they love inscribed flags, since the inscriptions generate more interest in a flag as an auction lot.

MrSpace86
Member

Posts: 1402
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 07-13-2010 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Larry, but the problem is that not all astronauts like to sign them. I have Apollo 13 and 16 flown flags that came with terrible matte displays (they were turning brown and looked moldy) so I created my own presentation. Problem is that there is no way an astronaut (in this case, Lovell, Haise, Young, or Duke) would sign such a flag to secure their 'flown' status. I was not very bright a few years ago when I first obtained them to take a pic of the presentations or do something to authenticate them. Any help with this guys?

Second, I have tried to get my STS-1 through STS-4 flags signed and every single astronaut would only sign the matte or presentation, not the flag. Quite a shame.

On edit: The Apollo 13 presentation also had a flown patch: would an astronaut or authenticator know (just by looking at them and examining them) that they were indeed flown? I believe I have pieces of the Apollo 13 presentation somewhere but I know for a fact the Apollo 16 one is long gone. I did keep the picture that came with it (it looked identical to Larry's Apollo 16 presentation) except mine was John Young's jumping salute pic. Would that help?

4allmankind
Member

Posts: 773
From: NJ
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 07-14-2010 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Larry, I enjoyed reading your flag blog again after two and a half years! Led by your suggestion back then, I now always get my flags certified directly on the flag itself.

(You don't look one day older today than you do in the photo of you and Duke from 1999. )

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-14-2010 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MrSpace86:
I have Apollo 13 and 16 flown flags that came with terrible matte displays (they were turning brown and looked moldy) so I created my own presentation.
Even if photos of the original presentation existed, even if the original presentation was intact, unless you obtained the flag directly from the astronauts' collections, I wouldn't expect them to further certify it as flown.

The astronauts have no way of knowing if the flag and/or patch actually flew and there are no physical characteristics that can be used to establish that they did.

Many have erred in my opinion in thinking that the original mounting is not also itself part of the artifact, but without it, there exists no means of establishing that its parts flew. The act of removing the flag and/or patch effectively destroys the provenance supporting the flight status.

quote:
Second, I have tried to get my STS-1 through STS-4 flags signed and every single astronaut would only sign the matte or presentation, not the flag.
Why would they sign the flag? It is one thing for an astronaut to certify a flag coming from his collection as being flown, such as in Larry's case, but the STS-1 through STS-4 displays were NASA presentations using flags flown in the Official Flight Kit. The astronauts had no contact with the flags.

Again, the presentation to which the shuttle flags are attached are their provenance. Personally, I would advise against further altering them, even adding signatures to the certificates.

MrSpace86
Member

Posts: 1402
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 07-14-2010 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the reply Robert. I guess you are right, but because of my experiences with the 13 and 16 flags, I always thought that the astronauts adding their signature to the actual flag on the STS presentations would be like a "backup" in case those presentations were ever damaged as in the case of the Apollo ones I purchased.

I guess while I bought the Apollo ones at an excellent price, ultimately it destroyed their true value. But as stated, these presentations were at the end of their life and removing the flag while it was still possible to me, was at the time, the best thing to do.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-14-2010 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At one time, I thought that adding astronauts autographs and "flown on" inscriptions to artifacts was a good idea, especially for items such as flags that had no physical characteristics separating them from unflown examples.

In the scheme of things, flags and other PPK/OFK carried items are not so much artifacts as they are mementos, so there should be and is less concern over their modification.

But personally, I have come to appreciate unaltered pieces more so than I have those that have been "collector-altered" (as a piece I once owned was described in a legal proceeding). Given the choice of adding an astronaut's inscription or not, I personally would pass. I would prefer a letter and photo of the astronaut holding the item.

I emphasize though, that is my personal preference and I am not passing judgment. Earlier, when I held a different view, I added inscriptions and autographs to several items, even items that went beyond the category of mementos, and though I don't necessarily regret those decisions, I would not do the same if presented the choice today.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1970
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 07-14-2010 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, I can certainly appreciate your above comments regarding unaltered pieces.

My Duke flown lunar surface flag -- the actual flag itself -- made reference to here in a related topic is not signed, altered, or modified in anyway on it.

As Robert pointed out, I too, have reconsidered similar practices, but not all, that pertain to mementos from official/personal flight kits.

As with my Duke surface flag, there are many other ways to help support and document that such a flag was flown to the moon's surface with documentating letters, appropriate COAs, pictures, and so on.

Yes, though, it can be replaced with an unflown flag, etc. that has always been a real concern for me after I am long gone from this world. What do other cS-members think about this?

I've also had a thing about not "touching" an American flag with any sort of writing or add-on of anything else. Perhaps something similar to what Armstrong feels about signing his name or an inscription over the flag on his spacesuit portrait; he never has done it!

To each his own, of course, but I think the majority of my flown US flags from various missions are not written on.

MrSpace86
Member

Posts: 1402
From: Gardner, KS, USA
Registered: Feb 2003

posted 07-14-2010 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken and Robert, thanks for the comments.

And yes, I agree. I was offered a Gemini acrylic heat shield that was signed by Gene Cernan (which I think is now on sale at MoonPans) and I think that totally defaced it. But like Ken, my concern has always been to not be able to certify it in the future (my fears with the STS flag). The main difference is that the flags in the STS-1 through STS-4 presentations and the Apollo ones is how they are mounted. I think it is almost impossible to remove the flags from the STS pieces unless you destroy the presentation and harm the flag itself. With the Apollo presentations (and I think the condition they were in aided this effort) it was quite simple removing them.

I agree with Robert though; I truly wish these presentations would have been intact. I have seen what they look like 'intact' and they look spectacular.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2014 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement