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  STS-51L crew-issued and flown mission patches

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Author Topic:   STS-51L crew-issued and flown mission patches
Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 11-12-2012 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For the first time (as far as I know), the family of a member of the ill fated STS-51L Challenger crew has sold (eBay 221152392987) three examples (out of the seven) of the pre-flight crew issued mission patches they had. It was the family of Judy Resnik.

These patches differ from the common souvenir versions of this patch by the fact that AB Emblem used a 'white' twill backing instead of the common 'grey' twill one.

The main body of these patches has a 'grey' twill backing, but the sew on tab has a 'white' twill backing.

The only known example of a totally 'white' twill backing is from a patch recovered from the 'Official Flight Kit' container along with a 'flown' U.S. flag. These now make up a presentation piece which can be seen at the Smithsonian Inst. museum in Washington DC.

garyd2831
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Posts: 521
From: Syracuse, New York, USA
Registered: Oct 2009

posted 11-12-2012 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would have love to have added one to my STS-51L collection.

I have a STS-51L patch that is signed by Greg Jarvis.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 31031
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-12-2012 02:12 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 Kevin T. Randall:
...the family of a member of the ill fated STS-51L Challenger crew has sold
Did a family member sell them or was it a friend of a family member? The description says:
These patches were given to my brother by the Resnik family...
Just asking if perhaps you learned more through your e-mail contact with the seller.

Kevin T. Randall
Member

Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 11-12-2012 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes Robert, I spent over four hours e-mailing with the seller trying to establish what these patches were, and whether they are all identical or not. I still don't know for sure even now.

Yes, the seller is related to the family through marriage and came by these three patches (plus another which he is keeping), through the death of another family member, his brother, who was married to Judy's sister. He only came by four patches, the other three are with another family member who is not very happy that the patches were even listed, let alone sold for the prices I bought them for. (This sale has caused a family problem.)

garyd2831
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From: Syracuse, New York, USA
Registered: Oct 2009

posted 11-13-2012 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garyd2831   Click Here to Email garyd2831     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is the any record to as to how many patches and flags that were flown on STS-51L and how many were recovered?

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-13-2012 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To the best of my knowledge, most, if not all, of the STS-51L Official Flight Kit and personal preference kits were recovered intact, still inside the lockers where they were stowed. The patches, like most of the individual items were sealed in plastic pouches.

NASA said it would return the OFK items to their respective organizations and that the PPK contents would be given to the family members. The agency also said that each state would be presented with a patch and flag that was stowed on Challenger for its ill-fated flight.

There were at least 1,000 patches and more than 2,000 flags aboard.

If I recall correctly, at least one package of 25 crew patches did separate from the cabin and was later found floating off the shore in New England. The patches were recovered, still sealed in plastic, and returned to NASA.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 31031
From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-13-2012 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are STS-51L flown flag and patch displays around the nation, including one at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas. I believe another is on display in the Reagan Library in California.

On edit: Here's another, Ohio's display as exhibited at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. And New York's is on display at the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-13-2012 02:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Exploring this a bit through Google, I've accounted for the following STS-51L flown patch and flag displays:
  • California: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley
  • New Mexico: Museum of Space History, Alamogordo
  • New York: Cradle of Aviation, Garden City
  • South Carolina: State Museum, Columbia
  • Texas: Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas
  • Smithsonian: National Air and Space Museum
  • Onizuka Air Force Station, Calif. (a flown STS-51L patch, Air Force Satellite Control Facility patch and a large U.S. flag were on presented by NASA to the base and displayed there until its closure in 2010; current location, unknown.)
I'll add to this as I or others find additional displays...

spaced out
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Posts: 2754
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 11-14-2012 01:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kevin T. Randall:
These patches differ from the common souvenir versions of this patch by the fact that AB Emblem used a 'white' twill backing instead of the common 'grey' twill one.
I should point out that right now we don't know if more than one of these three patches is actually of the scarce white backing cloth variety.

We've seen examples of STS-51L patches that came from crew members in the past (Dick Scobee's patches) although these appear to have been gray backing cloth versions. I don't believe that all the white versions went into the OFK so it wouldn't be surprising to see crew family/friend examples of this patch.

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 11-17-2012 03:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I now have very good images of these three STS-51L 'Resnik' pre-flight issued patches, both the fronts and backs.

All three patches are basically the same, with a 'grey' twill main body, and a 'white' twill sew on tab. (Though the top patch has a thicker, whiter plastic coated back, and a slightly different coloured grey border).

Kevin T. Randall
Member

Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 12-17-2012 01:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The fourth one of these patches has sold $250.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 10-14-2013 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I note that a white-tabbed patch was sold on eBay (360764028281) in original KSC packaging. This shows that at least some examples of this 'hybrid' were sold commercially.

Kevin T. Randall
Member

Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-14-2013 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like two were sold from the same seller. The other one was 221297115269.

Kevin T. Randall
Member

Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-14-2013 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also saw that AB Emblem STS-51L patch in the KSC packet.

Interesting to see the date on the KSC packet is February 1988, two years after the event. So it looks like AB Emblem was using up older stock at that point in time.

Liembo
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Posts: 181
From: Bothell, WA, USA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 10-17-2013 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just received the patch today. Here are scans of the item. The 2-88 date was a surprise as well.

The backing seems to match the top one of Kevin's scan above, with the thicker "waffle" backing.

Kevin T. Randall
Member

Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-18-2013 01:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very nice Liem! That's the fifth example of this 'crew variant' or 'hybrid' patch to be found. So a few were sold to the public, and are out there somewhere.

Liembo
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From: Bothell, WA, USA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 10-22-2013 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like another one has appeared on eBay: 111196348212

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-23-2013 03:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes Liem, I spotted this one too. It will be very interesting to see what this one (No.6) fetches in an open auction?

Liembo
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From: Bothell, WA, USA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 10-23-2013 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I sent the seller an e-mail. He indicated that, "I acquired it from a 30 year air force veteran who collected patches from all his duty stations and travels around the world. I bought his collection of over 1200 patches. Mostly squadron patches, only a few NASA patches."

Liembo
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Posts: 181
From: Bothell, WA, USA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 10-24-2013 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I picked up an STS-51L patch in a newer KSC packet last month I call the "mock white tab":

From the front the patch appears to be a common gray/gray unit, yet at first glance, the back appears to be a white tab/gray body unit, however closer inspection reveals that tab has a thin plastic veneer over the gray twill on the tab. An interesting curiosity if anything.

Kevin T. Randall
Member

Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-24-2013 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also that patch has the missing star too, and has a very shiny plastic coated backing to the main body of the patch.

Liembo
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Posts: 181
From: Bothell, WA, USA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 11-24-2013 06:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A "mock white tail/missing star" version is on eBay, item 111225231471.

It has the more modern dark border thread.

Kevin T. Randall
Member

Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 12-10-2013 01:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A 7th example of the STS-51L 'Crew Issued Hybrid' patch with the 'white' sew on tab, has just been sold in a mixed lot of mostly Swissartex Shuttle patches in KSC packets. Lot No.161166108890.

Liem, can you post the images you sent me here to show this example maybe a variant patch, many thanks.

Liembo
Member

Posts: 181
From: Bothell, WA, USA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 12-10-2013 09:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suspected it was the hybrid based on the light edge of the tab and asked the seller for a backside photo, which he abliged. The photo he sent me is the top left photo:

I suggested he'd get better traction with his auction if he posted the backside photo to his auction, but very much to Kevin's good luck, he did not!

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 31031
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-10-2013 09:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So what does this mean for the rarity of the "hybrid" patch? Previously it was thought to be limited to the crew only, and now we have examples showing up in private collections and even packaged for retail sale.

Was too much assumed by the few Resnik-family sourced examples? Could they have been retail patches that she or her family were given (or even bought)?

Clearly, the hybrid is rarer than the standard gray-backed-tab souvenir, but could that just be a factor of the many more years the souvenir has been in production?

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 12-10-2013 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is only the 7th example of this 'Hybrid' patch that I know about to come onto the secondary market. It was just this time last year that 3 of the 4 'Resnik' family examples were put up for sale, the 4th was in January this year. The 5th was found in amongst a collection from an USAF Officer who was linked to the Shuttle Program. The 6th was found in a sealed KSC retail packet dated February 1988. And the 7th was from an accumulation which may well have come from the Kennedy Space Center Souvenir Shop.

I have a feeling that the 6th and 7th were probably remains of the original production run made by AB Emblem for the crew of the Challenger, and were simply left-overs found and put into KSC packets to make up an order to sell at the Kennedy Space Center.

I still think this 'Hybrid' version of the STS-51L patch is still an early rare limited production run of maybe 50 or 100 patches. I have a feeling now that we know what to look for, more will turn up over the next few years.

I'm still looking very hard for the 'Full White' twill version, like the ones found in the presentation pieces made up after the recovery of the Official Flight Kit. I am hoping one or two of these will turn up in similar circumstances to these last two 'Hybrid' patches.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31031
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-10-2013 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the full-white-backed patches were indeed limited to the OFK, then any examples that turn up could be stolen from the debris. At least one package of the patches, still sealed in plastic, was recovered from the water after it floated up the East Coast to New England, if I recall correctly. The package was ultimately turned over to NASA, but I don't recall reading if the full contents of the OFK were recovered.

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 12-10-2013 12:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I feel a few, what we call 'production over-runs', or a spare pack or two not used for the OFK, will of been put into KSC retail packets to complete an order from the Kennedy Space Center visitors shop, (like the 'Hybrid' patch found sealed in the KSC packet dated February 1988).

Liembo
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Posts: 181
From: Bothell, WA, USA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 02-08-2014 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have purchased another hybrid patch in an auction on ebay in a mixed lot of other random STS/Apollo common/coated patches, I believe that makes for 8 known articles.

Kevin T. Randall
Member

Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 10-31-2014 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kevin T. Randall:
(like the 'Hybrid' patch found sealed in the KSC packet dated February 1988).
Another one of these STS-51L 'Hybrid' patches has turn up sealed in another 'type 2' KSC packet, (eBay 251697537492). [No.9].

Update: 23rd Nov 2014.
A third example of this 'Hybrid' STS-51L patch in a sealed 'type 2' KSC packet has just been sold for $153.50, (eBay 361120610894). [No.10].

Kevin T. Randall
Member

Posts: 534
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 11-26-2014 08:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yet another example of this STS-51L 'Hybrid' patch has just been sold as part of a lot of five mostly Shuttle patches on eBay 121491638424. [No.11].

Unfortunately this example had some brown splash stains across the lower half of the patch and tab, so this lot of five patches only sold for $32.75, with 7 bids from 4 bidders.

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