Space Cover #53, Apollo 13 Covers
To continue our month-long tribute to Apollo 13 on its 40th anniversary, I have chosen four Apollo 13 covers for this week's Space Cover of the Week presentation.
The Apollo Program was the pinnacle of space cover/cachet production and collecting and there were many cover servicers and cachet designers active during that time. Many of us are familiar with Carl Swanson's Spacecraft covers; Ronson's "Orbit" covers; and Robert Rank's Space Voyage covers; but there were many others.
To give a sampling of some of the more popular covers produced for Apollo and, of course for Apollo 13, I have displayed four examples above.
The top cover is an "Orbit" cacheted cover and is canceled at Cape Canaveral to mark the launch of Apollo 13 on April 11, 1970. The mono-colored cachet pictures the original crew, with a small additional cachet picturing replacement crew member Jack Swigart.
The next cover is a NASA VIP card issued officially by NASA and distributed to NASA invited guests. NASA issued these handsome and popular VIP cards for manned flights starting with Apollo 7 and continued through the Apollo Program. This one for Apollo 13 is autographed by the flight crew and is from Walt Cunningham's collection.
The third cover is a nice Heritage Craft cacheted cover. These handsome covers typically pictured the crew and included the mission's crew patch insignia. Like the "Orbit" cover, this cover also had a cachet picturing Swigart added later. For NASA manned launches and events, most collectors preferred KSC cancels, but this particular Apollo 13 cover instead had a Titusville, FL/Astronaut Trail Sta. hand cancel applied for the day of the Service Module explosion.
The bottom cover is one of the mission insignia/emblem cacheted covers issued by the NASA/KSC Exchange and is canceled at KSC on April 17 to mark the successful recovery of capsule and crew. Such mission insignia cacheted covers began with Apollo 8 and continue to this day, including all the Space Shuttle flights.