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  Space Cover 06: Apollo 10 Recovery

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 06: Apollo 10 Recovery

Posts: 1239
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 05-24-2009 04:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 6 (May 24, 2009)

Space Cover #6, Apollo 10 Recovery

Forty years ago this week Apollo 10, the "dress-rehearsal" for the first moon landing, splashed down in the Pacific and was recovered by the aircraft carrier USS Princeton. This week's cover(s) of the week celebrate that splashdown and give us a chance to explain the different types of recovery ship covers available.

These covers were all postmarked onboard the prime recovery ship, the USS Princeton, on May 26, 1969, the day of the Apollo 10 recovery. There were a number of other ships standing by to recover Apollo 10 (known as secondary recovery ships) that also postmarked covers that day, but we will just look at the prime ship today.

The far left cover (with the magenta rubber-stamped cachet) is known as a Navy Cachet or as a Beck Rubber Stamped Cachet (Beck RSC). Morris Beck designed a unique rubber stamp for each flight, and often different rubber stamps for the Atlantic and Pacific recovery fleets. He sent these rubber stamps out to the ships, and the postal clerks onboard the ships used the rubber stamps to cachet the thousands of covers sent in for postmarking on recovery day. Since this cachet was applied at the postal facility, it is often considered an official postal marking in some circles (this should fuel some discussion! lol).

The middle cover (green printed cachet) is known as a Beck Printed Cachet. Mr. Beck also printed up a few hundred cacheted covers using the same design as his rubber stamp. These can be most easily identified by the "BXXX" number underneath the cachet. Collecting of Beck's cachets (he did many more than just the recoveries too) is a collecting niche all of its own. For more info on the Beck cachets, please refer to Owen Murray's excellent website.

The upper crust of prime recovery ship covers are the Captain's Covers. Often the ship's captain had a unique cachet printed up for his use (in some cases) or the crew's use (in other cases). The Apollo 10 USS Princeton Captain's Cover is the far right cover in our three. The numbers of Captain's Covers produced for different flights are unknown. Some are plentiful (like Gemini 4 USS Wasp) while others are very hard to come by (like the Apollo 10 Princeton).


Posts: 373
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 05-25-2009 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A topic close to my heart. One can also mention the possible existence of a Beck 'crew' cover. As well as producing several hundred printed cacheted covers (these were numbered as part of a long running sequence of covers, the USS Princeton being B787), Morris Beck also produced approximately 25 unnumbered printed cacheted covers which he donated to each ship as a thank you for postmarking his covers. These were most given to crew members and few have survived. While none are known from the USS Princeton for Apollo 10, crew covers have survived for some other ships and missions. Therefore, a USS Princeton crew cover could still be out there, just waiting to be discovered.

The other USS Princeton cover worth looking out for is one with a hand cancel. These are exceedingly rare and worth a significant premium.

For anyone interested in seeing what other Recovery Ship covers were produced for Apollo 10 (and any other mission) see Recovery Ship Cover and Postmark Varieties.

All times are CT (US)

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