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
  Patches & Pins
  When NASA wanted to outlaw patch collecting

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

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   When NASA wanted to outlaw patch collecting
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30057
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-18-2014 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was a time 45 years ago when NASA wanted to restrict the use of mission patches and "make unauthorized possession of souvenir Apollo flight patches a federal offense."

The Washington Post wrote about the situation in November 1969 (reproduced here in The Milwaukee Journal, via the Facebook group Space Hipsters):

America's astronauts, it appears, feel strongly that they should be the only ones generally entitled to give out the patches.

"They sort of feel it's a personal thing," says Julian Sheer, associate NASA administrator for public affairs.

Patch manufacturers and distributors, including AB Emblem, reported that FBI agents had contacted them to insist they stop producing the patches for public sale.

The astronauts' concerns aside, the issue, apparently, wasn't so much the patches themselves but the deluge of items bearing the insignias. Marketers wanted to use the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 emblems on products ranging from beer cartons to gas service station handouts. Scheer explained:

"We don't want to be arbiters of what's in good taste and what's not in good taste."
The astronauts' desire to keep the patches for themselves might help explain why there were crew-specific versions of the emblems, as has been discovered by collectors over the past several years (and documented by CrewPatches.com).

mode1charlie
Member

Posts: 645
From: Honolulu, HI, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 07-18-2014 07:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting. (And weird.)

David C
Member

Posts: 201
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 07-19-2014 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Entirely understandable attitude, and one that we had to certain Navy patches that you had to earn rather than buy. However, personally, I'm glad that it didn't work out that way. MGA astronauts are so few in number that I can't see availability of patches causing any confusion.

p51
Member

Posts: 1072
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 07-21-2014 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Military collectors have had to deal with stuff like this for decades.

It never fails that some military unit will come out with some manner of "you have to earn this" patch and ten minutes later, the collectors are asking patch owners how much they wanna sell them for.

Early on, I think the military realized how silly this was. They outlawed the owning or selling of any Medal of Honor as a Federal crime, but I was offered one by an owner two weeks ago anyway (I declined as that's not my collecting shtick).

You never have to look far to see how outlawing the ownership of something (especially when it's not harmful at all) never seems to work all that well.

There will always be a secondary market for stuff, and now that the same astronauts who supported banning public ownership of those patches are in their later years and selling the stuff, I bet they're all glad that law never passed!

Heck, the President of the United States came to my Army post when I was still in, and gave his personal 'challenge' coins to some soldiers. That afternoon, you could buy them in the surplus places outside the main gate, all sold for maybe enough to buy a few cans of beer.

David C
Member

Posts: 201
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 07-21-2014 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah, guys get sucked into thinking they've earned a badge, patch, etc., hence the hoopla about wings. What they really earned was the qualification to solo the jet, fly to the moon, land on the boat at night, etc. That's what counts, not a patch.

Bill Nelson
Member

Posts: 81
From: Lakewood, Colorado U.S.A.
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 07-23-2014 08:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bill Nelson   Click Here to Email Bill Nelson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The comparison of a mission patch to the medal of honor is not a good comparison. The two things are vastly different.

A medal of honor is an honor award, a medal awarded to someone for service beyond the line of duty. A mission patch is not a special honor or award. It is simply the logo that symbolizes a national mission. It is not given out as a demonstration of individual achievement.

The patch represents a mission that hundreds of thousands of people worked together to accomplish, and it can properly be seen by all of those people as their patch. Since it is a national mission, the public should have access to them also.

It is totally silly to try to ban the ownership of mission patches. In ways it's not silly at all to ban owning a medal of honor that was not presented to you, or your close relative.

The better comparison to a medal of honor would be something such as the Silver Snoopy award, or the NASA distinguished service medal. Those are awards given out for individual accomplishment of one person.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30057
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-23-2014 08:50 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 Bill Nelson:
The patch represents a mission that hundreds of thousands of people worked together to accomplish...
Keep in mind though, that wasn't the original intent of the crew patches.

Gordon Cooper proposed a mission patch in place of the astronauts no longer being able to name their spacecraft during the Gemini program. The patch then was to specifically represent the crew members, in the same way "Faith 7" was personal to Cooper on Mercury.

Of course, the patches came to represent more than that, underscored by Apollo 11 foregoing he crew's names on the insignia, but that doesn't necessarily mean the astronauts were in favor of their art being used to market beer and gas stations.

As for the patches being honorary badges or mementos, while the crew patches never served an honorary role (they were created by the astronauts, not awarded to them), there are NASA patches that serve as symbols of merit, e.g. the Mach 25 and 100 Days in Orbit emblems. These are patches that NASA has restricted reproduction of and perhaps rightfully so.

p51
Member

Posts: 1072
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 07-23-2014 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bill Nelson:
The comparison of a mission patch to the medal of honor is not a good comparison. The two things are vastly different.
I compared them in the context of the medal being banned for sale, YET someone recently tried to sell me one. Hence, the silliness of trying to ban something non-harmful.

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