Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Stamps & Covers
  Space Cover 108: First US Man in Space 50th Anniversary

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Space Cover 108: First US Man in Space 50th Anniversary
yeknom-ecaps
Member

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

posted 05-09-2011 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 108 (May 9, 2011)


USS Lake Champlain postcard from cremember


USS Lake Champlain cover
Space Cover #108, First US Man in Space 50th Anniversary

Fifty years ago Alan Shepard was launched into space aboard the Redstone rocket on his 150 mile sub-orbital flight. Upon his splashdown he was recovered by the USS Lake Champlain. The USS Lake Champlain cover is not hard to find as at least one seems to appear in all the major auctions each year.

Why are there seemingly so many available when it is reported that around 44 exist? The dropping of a single word makes a big difference! Don Schultz reported in his book on Project Mercury that 44 PHILATELIC covers were cancelled for Shepard's recovery. What is not in that total is all of the sailors mail that was generated that day that obviously also received the word cachet and splashdown cancel. One of the sailors on the ship that day recounted an announcement over the ship's PA system to "come down to the ship post office to get envelopes cancelled to mark the spaceship recovery" - he had gone to the ship's post office and had two cancelled on the USS Lake Champlain printed envelopes.

Over the years the word "philatelic" got dropped and "44 covers cancelled" became the phrase in many exhibits showing the USS Lake Champlain cover. The number really cancelled that day and are in collections is unknown but certainly a lot more than 44. Several years ago the Space Unit did a census of USS Lake Champlain covers that has turned up about 50 with many others out there but not counted such as the ones by the sailor above that are in collector hands but not photoed in the census.

The scans above show a USS Lake Champlain postcard mailed by a crewmember - in the collection of Steve Durst - and a USS Lake Champlain cover with one of the best cancels I have seen - currently for sale on Florian Noller's web site.

The West End, Bahamas cover pictured above (also thanks to Florian's site) is another extremely rare cover for Shepard's flight. George Goldey of Goldcraft Cachets created 25 of these covers for the landing point of Shepard's flight. This Goldcraft Cachet is the only Bahama cover I have ever seen for the flight. Goldey was the dealer who had the most coverage of this flight with two versions of his covers from Port Canaveral and one from Patrick AFB for the launch, the West End, Bahama cover for the landing and several post flight events such as Shepard's visit with President Kennedy at the White House and the Shepard hometown slogan cancel. So if you found any of these...

micropooz
Member

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

posted 05-09-2011 07:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Neat thread Tom! There were also a fair amount of covers postmarked using the ship's cachet, which was available in the ship's store to the crew:

Some of the literature call these "Captain's Covers". But I think the conservative stance is that these were covers mailed by the crew, since they were generally available to the crew, and were not franked by the Captain.

Thoughts, anyone?

yeknom-ecaps
Member

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

posted 05-09-2011 08:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Correct (as always) Pooz...

These were the envelopes mentioned by the sailor in my post... they were available in the ship's store for 5 cents each! So they are the ship's stationary produced as needed by the ship's print shop and thus have nothing specifically to do with the mission and/or ship's captain so should not be called "captain's covers" though as you state is done many times in error.

Ross
Member

Posts: 373
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 05-10-2011 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you at the above covers you might notice something else. There are two different hand cancels. One with U.S.S. in the postmark and one with USS.

The latest count is (info from Steve Durst)

13 with dots
37 with no dots
2 Machine cancels

for a total of 52 examples.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement