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  Space Cover 105: US Space Covers with Only Foreign Postage

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 105: US Space Covers with Only Foreign Postage
Bob M
Member

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

posted 04-16-2011 04:16 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 105 (April 17, 2011)

Space Cover #105, Foreign Postage Stamps (only) on US Space Covers

While it's not too unusual to find US space covers with foreign (non-US) space stamps added along with US postage, it is unusual to see only foreign space stamps on US space event covers.

With the joint US/Soviet Apollo/Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) approaching in 1975, I decided to try to create some unusual space covers for that big international space event.

I was able to acquire a few relevant foreign space stamps prior to ASTP. The Soviet Union issued a stamp picturing a painting of the planned Apollo-Soyuz spacecraft linkup by cosmonaut-artist Alexei Leonov (top cover), and East Germany had issued a stamp in 1965 picturing Leonov and commemorating his Voskhod 2 flight (second cover). Both covers were cacheted and canceled at KSC for the Apollo launch.

The third and fourth covers have only Soviet postage affixed and were canceled at KSC for the September 16, 1975 ASTP crew awards ceremony. The Soviet stamp on the 3rd cover pictures the five US and Soviet ASTP crew members, and the fourth cover has a Soviet ASTP linkup stamp that is very similar to the U.S. ASTP linkup stamp.

About two years later, on the occasion of the first Enterprise Approach and Landing Test (ALT) free flight, a West German Spacelab stamp was affixed to a cover and canceled for this early Space Shuttle event (fifth cover). The sixth and bottom cover also has a West German Spacelab stamp and was machine canceled at KSC for the second Spacelab flight on STS-61A.

How were these unusual covers created? US postage stamps were affixed to peelable labels cut to the same size and then applied to the covers below the foreign stamps. After the covers returned through the mail, the US stamps were easily removed leaving only the foreign space stamps canceled on the covers (While this practice is certainly frowned upon by the USPS, the uncanceled US stamps were destroyed).

Ross
Member

Posts: 373
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 04-17-2011 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some very inventive and interesting covers. On checking my covers I found a couple of recovery ship covers with foreign postage only. It is highly unlikely that either of these covers was contrived. It seems that the Postal Officer aboard each ship was very generous because of the importance of the event.

bobslittlebro
Member

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

posted 04-17-2011 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ross, if I'm not mistaken, when the recovery ships were in international waters they would cancel covers with foreign postage.

By the way, great covers Bob.

Ross
Member

Posts: 373
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 04-17-2011 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've heard that too. I think Ray Cartier may have stated it in his handbook. However, I've never seen any evidence to support the statement. Also, discussions with other recovery ship cover collectors, have led me to conclude that it is highly unlikely to be true. Ships in International waters are considered to be an extension of the country that owns the ship. I would assume that applies to postal regulations as well.

If anyone has evidence to the contrary I will be happy to change my opinion.

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 458
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 04-17-2011 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ross - agree with you. The post office aboard the US Navy ship is basically a "contract" post office of the US Postal Office/USPS thus follows all the normal regulations. Based on the special event and number of covers sent for cancels the postal clerk(s) probably didn't even look at the stamp but just cancelled the envelope - also, for some ships with small crews I would assume some "non-postal" personnel were asked to help out to get through the volume and don't know the regulations (if it has a stamp it must be good!).

May have also been a "soft touch" to the "I live in xxx and don't have access to US stamps so please cancel."

Bob - nice creativity on getting your covers!

Bob M
Member

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

posted 04-20-2011 03:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A hit...and a miss.

Here are two more of my covers that I put US stamps on peelable labels to be removed after receiving cancels.

The top cover is a miss, as the cover, with a 10 cent US flag stamp still affixed to the peelable label after 36 years, and with an unintended and unwanted KSC hand cancel applied instead of a machine cancel - which canceled both stamps.

The bottom cover is as intended, but instead of a foreign stamp, has a US 18 cent stamp canceled for the STS-31 Space Shuttle launch, that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope. The postage rate at that time was 25 cents, but the future space telescope stamp (from the block of 8 Space Achievement stamps of 1981), is an 18 cent stamp and pictures a space telescope very similar to the actual HST deployed 9 years later. I applied a ten cent stamp on a peelable label on the cover that was later removed, resulting in a cover with a cachet and stamp of very similar designs.

These unusual covers were fun to create and usually worked out as intended - but not always .

All times are CT (US)

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