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Author Topic:   History behind the NASA astronaut pin
Gordon Reade
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Posts: 334
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 09-12-2008 07:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gordon Reade     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dose anyone know know how the tradition of the gold and silver NASA astronaut pin started?

Whose idea was it? When were the first astronaut pins made? Have any been sold at auction and if so how much did they sell for? Thanks!

JWoytach
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Posts: 61
From: North Ridgeville
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 07-01-2009 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JWoytach   Click Here to Email JWoytach     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a memory of it being designed by Wally Schirra but I cannot find anything to support that memory.

sts205cdr
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Posts: 649
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Jun 2001

posted 07-01-2009 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My memory says Alan Shepard, but I don't know where that's coming from, either.

JWoytach
Member

Posts: 61
From: North Ridgeville
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 08-06-2009 11:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JWoytach   Click Here to Email JWoytach     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I sent a request ot the NASA History Office about the genesis of the symbol. Here is their reply:
Take a look at the Manned Spacecraft Center's Roundup, May 13, 1964, page 8. I'm not entirely sure Schirra designed it but, the article says he sparked the meeting.

You'll have to use the Zoom function to blow up the tiny writing.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 43013
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-06-2009 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For ease of reference, here is the text of the artice:
Astronaut's New Emblem Symbolizes Unity of Mercury-Gemini-Apollo Teams

NASA's twenty-nine astronauts are wearing a new emblem, unofficially signifying the unity of the Mercury-Gemini-Apollo flight teams.

The design shows a trio of trajectories merging in infinite space, capped by a bright shining star and encircled by an el|iptlcal wreath denoting orbital flight. They are either gold or silver. Gold emblems are worn by those who have flown in space

Military version of the astronaut emblem are emblazoned over conventional pilots wings - silver for Air Force and gold for Navy space fliers.

The device was adopted late in 1963 by the astronaut team when it was evident that the Mercury "7" lapel pin, awarded to Mercury pilots, excluded new astronaut team members. A get together was held, sparked by Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, and the pilots decided on one emblem for all present and future members of the team.

Astronaut M. Scott Carpenter recently presented a gold pin to John Glenn, the first of America's astronauts to orbit the Earth.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 43013
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-06-2020 12:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
'Pin'-nacle achievement: The story behind NASA's astronaut pin

They have completed their basic training and have qualified for mission assignments, but before NASA's newest group of space men and women can call themselves astronauts, they need one more thing — a small lapel pin with a long history.

NASA will graduate its 22nd astronaut candidate class on Friday (Jan. 10). The 11 American and two Canadian trainees will each receive an astronaut pin, signifying their eligibility for future flights to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the moon and, perhaps, journeys to Mars.

p51
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Posts: 1643
From: Olympia, WA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 01-06-2020 06:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was very surprised to read in Mike Mullane's excellent "Riding Rockets" book that astronauts had to buy their gold pins and them have them awarded after their first flights.

I later confirmed with Al Worden (Apollo 15) that they didn't have to pay for theirs.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 43013
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-07-2020 09:37 AM     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 Gordon Reade:
Have any been sold at auction...
While researching the above article, I came across several sale listings for genuine astronaut pins.
  • Ed White's gold pin was sold in 1999 by Superior Galleries for $13,500.

  • Dick Gordon's silver pin was sold in 2009 by Goldberg Coins and Collectibles for $8,607.

  • Deke Slayton's diamond-studded gold pin was offered in 2010 by Bonhams for $80,000 to $120,000 but went unsold. Two years later, it was donated to The Museum of Flight in Seattle, where it is on display today.

  • Al Worden's silver pin was sold in 2015 by RR Auction for $5,000.

Larry McGlynn
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Posts: 1258
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 01-07-2020 08:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I bought Al's silver pin at RR Auction from Leon Ford's collection in 2015.

It was later used in the Space Dealers TV Show where I retrieved the pin for a customer, Gerhard Daum, who presented it back to Al for his birthday. I found the pin in three days!

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