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  Space Cover 88: Apollo Insurance Covers

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 88: Apollo Insurance Covers
Bob M
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Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 12-20-2010 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 88 (December 18, 2010)




Space Cover #88, Apollo Insurance Covers

Perhaps the most popular and well-known of all the many space covers are the so-called Apollo insurance covers. They are called insurance covers because they were created to provide a type of "life insurance" for the families of the astronauts while making their perilous journeys to the moon. The concept was if the crew was lost, the insurance covers would become valuable and could be sold to provide funds for the families. Of course, no crews were lost, and after serving their purpose, most of the covers were distributed and sold, with space enthusiasts' collections their new homes.

Apollo insurance covers were created for six flights and crews: Apollos 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. There were three types for Apollo 11; one type for Apollo 12; two types for Apollos 13, 14 and 15; and one type for Apollo 16. The Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club (MSCSC) printed the 3 types used for Apollo 11 and continued with Apollos 13,14 and 15. Beginning with Apollo 12, so-called "Astronaut-insignia" covers were also used as insurance covers for Apollos 12,13, 14, 15 and 16.

Shortly before each flight to the moon, the three Apollo crew members would take time from their training to sign each cover. While no official numbers and records are known, only a few hundred were created for each flight, with perhaps 100 to 300 covers done for each of the three astronaut's families and held by them until the flights ended safely.

Presented here are eight Apollo insurance covers: three for Apollo 11 and one each for the other five flights. The three Apollo 11 insurance covers were produced by the MSCSC of Houston, TX, while the Astronaut-insignia covers, shown here for Apollos 12,13, 14, 15 and 16, were produced and printed on Florida's Space Coast.

bobslittlebro
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Posts: 94
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 12-20-2010 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Outstanding covers Bob!!!

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

posted 12-20-2010 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob, a great assembly there, however, we must include the MSCSC-printed cachet covers from Apollo 15 as part of this "exclusive club" of crew insurance covers.

Because of recent developments, perhaps the record should be revised in determining the #1 insurance type for Apollo 15.

It should be the MSCSC-cachet types as Col. Worden only remembers signing this cover variety before their launch to the moon.

Bishop has said beforehand that his special crew printed covers also made their way into the hands of crewmembers and were signed before launch.

Should we consider a Bishop cover as a possible #2 crew insurance type?

Irwin did in fact have in his possession, along with his High Flight ministry, a large number of MSCSC pre-launch crew signed covers. But he also had a few of the Bishop signed covers as well.

randyc
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Posts: 599
From: Highlands Ranch, CO USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 12-20-2010 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randyc   Click Here to Email randyc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's also interesting is that the Apollo 15 Insurance cover with the Astronaut wings has the Antarctic treaty stamp (like the MSCSC Insurance cover), and not the red, white and blue American Bicentennial stamp like the one that's on the Apollo 15 Insurance cover that Al Worden sent me. Somewhere I read (or thought I read) that Dave Scott specifically chose the American Bicentennial stamp for the insurance covers with the Astronaut wings because of the patriotic colors and because it commemorated America.

Has anyone else recall hearing or reading a similar story?

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

posted 12-20-2010 09:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, Randy, the Bishop covers with astronaut wings contained both stamp issues affixed to them; Antarctic treaty and the American Bicentennial.

I believe most, if perhaps not all, of the crew-type MSCSC cachets only had the first class 8-cent Antarctic stamps applied to them.

It has always been my understanding that Col. Scott requested both stamp varieties on their personal covers.

The American Bicentennial issue in 1971 not only was patiotic, as you pointed out, but also because the stamp colors were the same as the Apollo 15 mission insignia; red, white, and blue!

The Scott-chosen Antarctic design, another 8-cent first class issue that was available at the time of the lunar voyage, was an appropriate theme--it was thought--for space cover uses.

Even though the stamp commemorated a ten year treaty, there was an "exploration" sort-of "look" to it; also, it contained red, white, and blue colors.

yeknom-ecaps
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Posts: 458
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 12-20-2010 10:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wasn't there an Orbit cachet for the Antarctic stamp FDC which showed a picture of Scott at the South Pole station? If so, this could also be why he chose the stamp.

Ken Havekotte
Member

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

posted 12-21-2010 05:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for clarification purposes, as stated above, the MSC Stamp Club (MSCSC) only produced and had printed 1 of the 3 insurance type covers that were used by the Apollo 11 crew.

The crew insignia covers for the first manned lunar landing mission were produced by the NASA Exchange Council here at Kennedy Space Center.

Apollo 11's Dow-Unicover cachets were designed by a KSC graphic design worker and were printed in the Orlando, FL, area.

NASA Exchange cachet covers were first produced for Apollo 8's lunar orbital mission in 1968 and continue on today with similar cachet cover productions for every human spaceflight along with other major events and special occasions.

The Dow-Unicovers are pewrhaps some of my all-time favorite Apollo-era designed cachet envelopes. They started, "sort of," with the first manned Apollo flight in 1968 (Apollo 7)and ended with the last lunar voyage in 1972 (Apollo 17), however, the Dow name was never indicated on all of their other Apollo mission cachets, except for Apollo 11.

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

posted 12-21-2010 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I expected some controversy concerning the Apollo 15 "Astronaut-insignia" cover I presented along with the others. Until very recently, the Al Bishop/Astronaut-insignia covers were accepted as the main, type 1, Apollo 15 insurance cover. There is no better authority than Col. Worden on this, but his memory of the covers is based on what happened about 40 years ago.

In my display of the 8 Apollo insurance covers, I decided to show the Apollo 15 Astronaut-insignia cover in place of the MSCSC cover mainly because of uniformity and consistancy, as it fits in nicely with the similar designed and appearing covers for Apollos 12 thru 16 (and in my opinion, it hasn't been officially demoted to type 2 status yet).

Below I have shown both the Apollo 15 Astronaut-insignia and the MSCSC insurance covers.

And I plan to edit my original post to correct my error concerning the production of the Apollo 11 "crew insignia/emblem" and Dow-Unicover insurance covers.

Later I plan to show examples of Apollo 13 and 14 type 2 insurance covers (could use some help with Apollo 14).

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

posted 12-21-2010 04:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob, the reason why I have suggested a change in the insurance cover rating for Apollo 15 is two-fold; mainly, as Worden reports, he can't recall the Bishop cover types being crew signed before launch.

Another reason, that I think we have to take into consideration, is the higher quantities of known insurance covers from Apollo 15 that are of the MSCSC type.

Overall, in my opinion, it would seem to somewhat support the basis that we're seeing more crew-signed MSCSC cover varieties instead of the Bishop crew-signed printed cachets.

Worden and Irwin seemed to favor, or have in their own possessions, Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club issues more than the Bishop designs.

While Worden can't recall any of the Bishop covers signed before launch, I know Irwin did have a few that I personally saw during a visit to his Colorado Springs office and home in 1990.

Scott, on the other hand, when recently asked by Worden and myself about the MSCSC/Bishop cover productions in possible use as personal crew covers prior to his moon-bound trip, he simply had no comment or recollection whatsoever about them.

But as Bob pointed out in the above post, the Apollo 15 Bishop astronaut insignia covers do fit in "uniformity and consistency" with all the others (Apollos 12-16) that were issued by Bishop for the crew's own personal usages.

As I explained to Worden, and again last month, why would Apollo 15 be the only exception to such an observation?

There is possibly a reason(s) for this, however, there is absolutely nothing to support anything that I may be thinking about to help explain why we don't see more of the pre-signed Bishop covers from the crew itself. Therefore, at the moment, I feel it would be best not to mention it.

yeknom-ecaps
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Posts: 458
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 12-24-2010 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a scan of an Orbit FDC for the Antarctic stamp which pictures astronaut Dave Scott in the Antarctic - he is in the far right of the photo. This may be why he picked the Antactic stamp for the insurance covers.

Ross
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From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 09-29-2011 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's one aspect of these covers that I've just noticed and that is that they were obviously signed in batches at quite different times. One can see that in the different pens that were used. For example see Scott's signature on the two Apollo 15 covers. One is in black ink and one blue. An even clearer example can be seen on the Internet if you compare the Apollo 16 cover on the moonpans site with the one on Bob McLeod's site (you need to choose the Apollo 16 Insurance Cover from the left side menu to get a good view of the cover). At least two of the pens use a different coloured ink. Now, who wants to document all the discernible variations ?

SpaceSteve
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Posts: 330
From: San Antonio TX, USA
Registered: Apr 2004

posted 09-29-2011 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceSteve   Click Here to Email SpaceSteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the post Bob.

To pick up on Ross' post above, I've also seen Apollo 16 covers (I presume insurance covers) where John Young signed in blue ink in the upper left corner.

I was also wondering about the Apollo 13 covers. Are there any insurance covers signed by Swigert, or are all of them signed by Mattingly?

yeknom-ecaps
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Posts: 458
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 09-30-2011 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With "Manned Spacecraft Center" covers produced in quantity and collectors acquiring them sending for (and receiving) crew autographs on them after the flights how would anyone know if a crew signed "Manned Spacecraft Center" cover is an insurance cover or not?

The Bishop covers were much more limitied in use/distribution but do they potentially have the same issue?

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

posted 10-01-2011 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Concerning Apollo 13 insurance covers, it is accepted that Jack Swigert didn't sign any before the flight and any with his signature were signed by him after the flight. Of course, it is a nice bonus (and resulting in a complete crew signed cover) to have Swigert's autograph added to those of Lovell, Mattingly, and Haise.

Several years ago, Walt Cunningham had several Apollo 13 insurance covers for sale, with Swigert's autograph, for $900. That was a great opportunity that many of us missed - including me.

It is a problem separating actual insurance covers from those signed after the flight, as they can be quite similar. Col. Al Worden has signed and verified on the back of his Apollo 15 insurance covers he is now selling that they came from his collection, which guarantees that they are actual insurance covers. Several other astronauts have done the same, such as Pete Conrad and Charlie Duke. These should be of special collector interest.

All times are CT (US)

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