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  Apollo 15 insurance covers: only one type

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Author Topic:   Apollo 15 insurance covers: only one type
lunareagle
Member

Posts: 377
From: Michigan
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-03-2010 09:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunareagle   Click Here to Email lunareagle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those who have an interest in and/or collect the Apollo insurance covers, the following information is important. As I have been working on my collection of them I have been motivated to conduct some additional research in an effort to answer a few remaining questions I had.

As part of this effort I have received a response from Apollo 15 crew member Al Worden in answer to a question about the Apollo 15 insurance covers. I was seeking a definitive explanation about the two types of reported Apollo 15 insurance covers from one of the few indisputable sources, one of the crew members.

The response goes to tell that there was only one type of Apollo 15 insurance cover, the "Official Commemorative Cover" produced by "NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club," which is marked as such on the cover obverse.

It has long been reported that there was also another type which featured the gold propeller and wings below the mission emblem.

Here are edited excerpts from a couple of the responses from Col. Worden -

I do not agree with the collecting community about the covers. The only insurance covers from Apollo 15 are like the one you have. They were produced by the stamp club at MSC and are all exactly like the one you have. All others to the best of my memory, were signed after the flight, and were therefore not insurance covers. I do not know how this has gotten so confused. We each had a number of the actual insurance covers. The covers with the propeller and wings were never insurance covers, although some in the collecting business would have them as insurance covers. They might be ones that Al Bishop had printed. They were, as far as I know, all signed after the flight.
In my opinion, this should be the final word and I will go forward with the knowledge that there was just one type of Apollo 15 insurance cover.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 11-04-2010 07:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having discussed the issue on a few occasions with Col. Worden, I am quite aware and can certainly appreciate his stand about the MSCSC and Bishop cover productions. After all, Al was there!

In my mind, though, there is some confusion as to "when" the Bishop special insignia covers were "in use" by the Apollo 15 crew.

In trying to piece everything together, however, Bishop informed me that his insignia covers were given to crewmembers before their lunar voyage in early July 1971.

Worden tells me he only can recall the MSCSC-cover variety that his crew had signed before their launch to the moon.

It has long been my understanding that the MSCSC-printed envelopes were the first mission cachet covers the Apollo 15 crew had access to, as with other Apollo crews.

Down-the-line, usually within 3-4 weeks before a lunar launch, the Bishop covers were back from the printers at Brevard Printing Co. in Cocoa, FL, as they were provided to crew quarters here at Kennedy.

Both Worden and Irwin had in their collections many of the MSCSC cover types that were indeed signed as crew insurance issues, therefore, perhaps MSCSC should be indicated as the primary or #1 type of insurance cover.

All the Bishop produced crew covers, starting with Apollo 12 and ending with Apollo 16, were intended for exclusive crew usages. Included was the possibility of some being flown/carried to the moon in addition to the majority of them kept behind as a crew insurance cover type.

To the best of my knowledge, Apollo 15 was no exception to this observation.

It was Bishop that also designed and handled the flown insignia and wing-propeller cachet envelopes that went to the moon with the Apollo 15 crew.

They were provided to the crew after Bishop had received a phone call from crew quarters requesting a special light-weight envelope.

Just earlier, Eiermann had received in the mail from Germany's stamp dealer Sieger a bundle of more than a hundred specially printed cachet covers that were intended for a lunar trip.

The envelopes that were originally produced in Germany were rejected in favor of a light-weight and different cachet-designed envelope that Bishop had provided.

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-04-2010 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is surprising information to me. To illustrate the two types of Apollo 15 insurance covers, I have shown here the two types from my collection, both obtained years ago from Ken Havekotte. The MSCSC cover, type 1 or type 2, take your pick, came originally from Jim Irwin's High Flight Foundation.

In my opinion, it is entirely possible that the MSCSC covers, since they were available before the wings/insignia type, were the only type signed pre-flight and are the only "official" insurance covers for Apollo 15. This appears very possible after Col. Worden's response about them.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1823
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 11-05-2010 06:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let me add a few comments about the man behind "the Bishop covers" as there appears to be some confusion about his key role with many of the Apollo crews.

In Walt Cunningham's first book, "The All-American Boys," published in 1977, the Apollo 7 space flier writes about Bishop;

From (Apollo missions) Twelve through Sixteen they (Apollo cachet envelopes) had been obtained through Al Bishop, then working for the Howard Hughes organization. They (the covers he produced) were limited orders of only a few hundred, featuring the crew emblems in the left corner and were the nearest thing to an "official" cover.
Cunningham goes on to say about his friend,
Al was trusted. That's why many of us imposed on him with our problems, special requests, and sometimes matters which we would not share with NASA, like my doctor's appointment four days before launch. In that respect, we often took advantage of him.

Tom
Member

Posts: 1275
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 01-02-2011 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Havekotte:
All the Bishop produced crew covers, starting with Apollo 12 and ending with Apollo 16, were intended for exclusive crew usages. Included was the possibility of some being flown/carried to the moon in addition to the majority of them kept behind as a crew insurance cover type.
Is it possible that "a few" of the (now) type 2 insurance covers (with astronaut wings and propeller) may have actually flown aboard Apollo 15?

If that is the case, would there be any way of determining which ones did in fact fly to the Moon?

David Carey
Member

Posts: 287
From:
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 01-03-2011 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was fortunate enough to pick up a Type 1 (MSCSC issued) A15 crew-signed cover at what seemed a relative bargain, particularly now that it can be declared an insurance cover with seeming authority.

DOX32
Member

Posts: 203
From: Fairfax, VA USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 01-03-2011 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DOX32   Click Here to Email DOX32     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also have a Apollo 15 NMSCS dated July 26 1971 that included a COA from James B Irwin II, cover 33 of 70, OCT 17,1991.

Are these considered Insurance covers?

David Carey
Member

Posts: 287
From:
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 01-03-2011 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Carey   Click Here to Email David Carey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'll of course defer to the experts here (I'm not one) but assuming your example is vintage signed by all three crew members it sounds like it would be an Insurance Cover, and in your case with the strongest of provenance.

divemaster
Member

Posts: 1341
From: ridgefield, ct
Registered: May 2002

posted 09-16-2011 06:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Be advised that Al Worden will be selling his remaining Apollo 15 insurance covers in the very near future. Please keep an eye on his website for information.

Tom
Member

Posts: 1275
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 10-01-2011 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Based on Col. Worden's comments, are the Apollo 15 "Bishop covers" with astronaut pin and propellar still considered insurance covers?

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-01-2011 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alas, it appears that the Apollo 15 crew signed "Bishop" covers have been dropped from the family of Apollo insurance covers. Of course, this isn't quite official, but as Col. Worden has stated, his memory is that he didn't sign any of the Bishop covers before the flight.

It is a shame, as the Bishop covers are superb and well-designed and fit right in with the other similar covers that Al Bishop provided the crews (Apollo 12, 13, 14 and 16).

Sadly, Jim Irwin isn't available for his input on this and on one occasion when Dave Scott was asked about his recollection about the crew's insurance covers, he was unresponsive.

GregoryJChase
Member

Posts: 20
From: Grand Island, NY, USA
Registered: Apr 2013

posted 04-09-2013 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GregoryJChase   Click Here to Email GregoryJChase     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am curious as to the total number of insurance covers that were made for Apollo 15?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-09-2013 05:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To quote Space Flown Artifacts:
Numbers? Who knows? Probably at least 500+ for each mission would be in the ballpark. But some flights had fewer done, with probably... Apollo 15 covers the most...

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