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  Apollo Beta cloth mission patches: Color variants

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Author Topic:   Apollo Beta cloth mission patches: Color variants
moonnut
Member

Posts: 25
From: Andover, MN
Registered: Apr 2013

posted 09-28-2013 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moonnut   Click Here to Email moonnut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have two Apollo 16 Beta cloth patches that have a difference. One the eagle's wings are dark brown and the other the wings are light brown, like the colors where reversed. I don't know if this is an error or a variant of some kind.

I have researched and found only the dark brown winged eagle everywhere. Does anybody know what the light brown winged one is? An error? Variant? Flown? Unflown? Thanks everyone!

mode1charlie
Member

Posts: 471
From: Honolulu, HI, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 09-28-2013 06:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have found a similar issue with a couple of Apollo 17 beta cloth patches. Though not as striking as the difference in moonut's Apollo 16 patch, note the different shade of the outer ring (with "Apollo XVII - Cernan - Evans - Schmitt"). "A" is grey, while "B" has a definite bluer tint. "B" also has notably crisper edges to Saturn and yet less detail/definition (ex. to the galaxy).

I understand that these were silk-screened and thus subject to a lot of variation due to the inherent nature of the process. However, the difference here is more than the typical differences one sees between patches of the same mission, and I find it somewhat troubling.

I bought A from Donnis Willis, and am thus confident in its authenticity. I bought B from an eBay seller. I have been intending to raise the question whether or not there might be someone out there producing fakes (though using genuine beta cloth). Note that I have no evidence to support this suspicion other than the evidence shown here. It's just a hunch.

spaced out
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Posts: 2617
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 09-29-2013 03:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wouldn't be too surprised to see occasional color swaps as in the Apollo 16 example but the Apollo 17 examples above are indeed more troubling.

Those show clear differences in the design beyond simple variations in ink application. This would imply the designs having been re-done at some stage between production runs of beta cloth patches or, as mode1charlie mentions, the possibility that someone has had replicas printed in modern times.

We've seen rolls of unused beta cloth sold at some space auctions in the past so the raw material is out there.

A year or two ago the prices of beta cloths climbed sky high but there has been a very strong supply of patches more recently that has brought the prices back down. Hopefully that extra supply wasn't actually produced in order to take advantage of the demand.

It would be nice to see if anyone has examples of the second style of Apollo 17 patch shown above, and if so, where they came from (e.g. old collections or recent eBay acquisitions).

moonnut
Member

Posts: 25
From: Andover, MN
Registered: Apr 2013

posted 09-29-2013 07:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moonnut   Click Here to Email moonnut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just checked out my Apollo 17 beta that I have and it looks like the one on the right in your pic.

And it was part of a collection of memoribilia I purchased on eBay last May. Most of the stuff I received came with Novaspace COAs.

Besixdouze
Member

Posts: 154
From: Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 09-30-2013 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Besixdouze   Click Here to Email Besixdouze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tricky one this. If you take the beta patches sold by Heritage, and still in their original PPK, as the definite article, I'd be happy with the one on the left. The one in my own collection matches that.

However, if we are to assume the other is of dubious integrity, then they've been around for a while. Goldberg sold three autopen signed Apollo 17 betas in 2008 (sale 49, lots 111, 112 and 158) one matching the patch on the left and the other two resembling the patch on the right.

Of the last five sold on ebay, two match the patch on the left and three the patch on the right.

It strikes me that the Apollo 17 beta seems to show the most variation in print probably because the design is the most intricate and, as a consequence, the most difficult to register. There seems to have been at least 10 inks used in the printing process.

Would your magic 'Black Light' be of any assistance here Chris?

mode1charlie
Member

Posts: 471
From: Honolulu, HI, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 09-30-2013 05:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It may also be instructive to note that NASA has noted the tendency of betacloth to darken with UV exposure (even if most are kept in dark conditions, as are mine), and that patch B is whiter than A.

I don't know of the "black light method", but am interested to learn more.

Jfoust
New Member

Posts: 9
From: Bloomington, IN, USA
Registered: Aug 2006

posted 10-04-2013 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jfoust   Click Here to Email Jfoust     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I’ve wondered about some of these issues with Beta patches for a while now.

I’ve been a screen printer for nearly 15 years now. I was asking some people around the shop what they thought about this. Our general manager, who has been in the business since the 80’s, doesn’t think multi head auto presses were in use then, neither were flash units. My supervisor and I, who have had a lot of experience with manual presses, tend to agree they were done from two different art sources.

I think 8 colors are present. I think I’m seeing stars in different positions in the two. The color difference in the outer ring, could be due to a difference in ink batches. We don’t know how the screens were made, or exposed, there could be a difference in the screens shot or cut for different presses, as I’m sure more than one was utilized for a big one time run for these things.

That being said, we use modern plastisol inks almost exclusively. The GM had never heard of questral inks. We have no idea of how questral inks behave when printed or how they are cured. That can have a huge effect on the finished look of the ink. Were they having to cure the ink between colors, and then reregister? I’ve noticed the registration on a LOT of these is not great. Even the ones that were flown sometimes look like something that wouldn’t leave our shop. Sometimes, ink can dry in the screen through the course of a run, changing the contours of the fill areas. If the questrals were air dry inks, this would be quite possible.

Also, I just noticed on Chris’ site on the Beta cloth page, that Corning did a later run of the entire series, and as I think I recall from an earlier thread, some were made up for “From the Earth to the Moon”, but I can’t recall if we confirmed HOW authentically those were made.

I’d be interested to see a superimposition of a scan of the two patches.

mode1charlie
Member

Posts: 471
From: Honolulu, HI, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 10-05-2013 09:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your comments and observations. I have scanned patches A and B, and now another one, C (which I'm also reasonably confident in, but would have to go into my dB to find out who I purchased it from). Unfortunately I don't know how to do superimpositions, so if someone wants to take that on that would be great.

Btw, all the actual insignias are the same size (though the cloth areas are different sizes). The apparent size difference is an artifact of the scanner only.

J.L
Member

Posts: 416
From: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 10-05-2013 11:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jfoust:
I've wondered about some of these issues with Beta patches for a while now.
I am sure glad I got mine back in the 1980's. This reproduction stuff can get real complicated...

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