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  Space Cover 132: Captain's Covers for First U.S. Orbital Flights

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 132: Captain's Covers for First U.S. Orbital Flights
Bob M
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Posts: 1367
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-21-2011 12:32 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 132 (October 23, 2011)

Space Cover #132, Captain's Covers for the First Two Mercury Manned Orbital Flights

Featured this week are two classic early US manned spaceflight covers that are from two of our hobby's pioneer collectors and prominent cover/cachet makers: Harry Gordon and Donald Schultz

The top cover is a Prime Recovery Ship Captain's Cover for John Glenn's Mercury-Atlas 6 flight, with the standard USS Randolph's label cachet and authentically autographed by the ship's captain and Glenn.

The USS Noa was the first on the scene and picked up both Glenn and the spacecraft. But then Glenn was flown by recovery helicopter to the Randolph, while the Noa delivered the Friendship 7 spacecraft to port.

The second cover for Scott Carpenter's Mercury-Atlas 7 flight, is also a Prime Recovery Ship Captain's Cover and has the USS Intrepid's special recovery cachet and is autographed by Carpenter.

These two ships, involved in the first two US manned Earth orbital missions, share a fairly unusual distinction. The Intrepid, like the Randolph, were not the first ships on the scene of the spacecraft splashdowns, but had the astronauts flown to them while other ships took care of recovering the spacecraft. The unusual result is that there were two ships involved in each of the two end-of-mission recoveries that can be called Prime Recovery Ships.

The USS Randolph PRS cover was acquired in a 1986 Space Unit auction for the fairly high price (for back then) of $110, while the USS Intrepid PRS cover was acquired from early collector Dr. E.V. Smith in 1980 for $50.

Ross
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Posts: 373
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 10-22-2011 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Below is a slightly different version of the Mercury 7 Captain's cover. It has the Captain's signed corner card and, as such, is slightly more desireable. Also it appears to exist in at least equal quantities to the non-signed version.

DChudwin
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Posts: 972
From: Lincolnshire IL USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-22-2011 02:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob, the Harry Gordon U.S.S. Randolph cover for the Glenn recovery is a particularly nice example. On many of those covers the glue used to apply the ship's label cachet has yellowed with age. Your cover appears from the scan to have minimal yellowing.

Collectors looking to add this paticular cover to their collection would do well to find a copy that has not had glue yellowing.

With the passage of nearly 50 years since the Project Mercury missions, some covers from that era are starting to show the effects of the decades. Those envelopes made with so-called rag content and without gum on the flap have held up the best. The cheap "drugstore envelopes" are showing signs of deterioration due to higher acidic content and gum on the back flap.

I always urge new collectors to use the best possible quality envelopes for preparing new covers. While they are a few cents more, the better quality envelopes will hold up better in the longrun.

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

posted 10-23-2011 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great covers and topic Bob. This is a great captain's cover signed by the CO, astronaut Scott Carpenter, and the prime helo pilot Cdr. J.M. Wondergrem.

The second cover is not a captain's cover but a rare USS Pierce recovery cover on a Goldey cachet. The USS Pierce recovered the capsule.

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

posted 10-23-2011 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boy, I was thinking about posting a cover or two on this thread. However, Bob, Dave, Ross, and Tim's material left me in the dust!!! Great covers, guys!!!

Bob M
Member

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

posted 10-24-2011 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DChudwin:
Bob, the Harry Gordon U.S.S. Randolph cover for the Glenn recovery is a particularly nice example. On many of those covers the glue used to apply the ship's label cachet has yellowed with age. Your cover appears from the scan to have minimal yellowing.

I was fortunate to acquire this cover with, actually, no yellowing or glue staining to the label, which from what I've seen through the years is fairly common with these covers.

Perhaps poor storage might have caused the problem on most other covers, with heat and humidity the cause? It is a shame that so many of these very special covers were badly affected by the staining problem.

Ross
Member

Posts: 373
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 10-26-2011 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A great USS John R. Pierce cover from Tim. Below is what might be the rarest of the USS Pierce covers, a Morris Beck cover! This was one of his first attempts at Recovery ship covers and was not available to the general public. So few have survived that I've only ever seen this B/W copy in Ray Cartier's handbook. If anyone has an actual cover I would love to see a higher resolution colour scan.

All times are CT (US)

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