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  Space Cover 137: Autographed KSC VIP Cards

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 137: Autographed KSC VIP Cards
Bob M
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Posts: 1512
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-26-2011 12:44 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 137 (November 27, 2011)

Space Cover #137: Astronaut Autographed NASA/KSC VIP Cards

Starting with Apollo 7, continuing through Apollo 17, and ending with the first manned Skylab mission, NASA/KSC produced special postal cards, typically referred to as KSC "VIP Cards," and were distributed to NASA guests, VIP's, at the time of the launches. These cards are relatively scarce and are prized by many collectors. Putting together a complete set would be quite interesting and challenging.

VIP Cards are a worthy collectible, but often they are found hand addressed and also many uncanceled. But many were both canceled and unaddressed and, as such, are quite useful and appropriate for autographs.

Shown here are VIP cards for Apollos 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17, with each autographed by a crew member, along with an SL-2 VIP card autographed by the entire crew.

Twenty-five years after KSC's last VIP Card for SL-2, KSC again issued an official VIP card and it was for John Glenn's STS-95 flight in 1998.

Ray Cartier created an excellent study of NASA/KSC VIP Cards for the Space Unit, which shows all types, including fakes.

spaceman1953
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Posts: 945
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 11-26-2011 06:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So without having seen Ray Cartier's publication, did any astronauts (suppose this is a really dumb question!) ever send these out to people signed and just sent through the mail to them before the flight, meaning that they would make them up, sign them, and make sure they were mailed postmarked on their launch day?

What a thrill that would be, to get a signed VIP card from a crew member during the flight in the mail?!?

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 2112
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 11-26-2011 07:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not to my knowledge as the VIP cards were usually first issued on launch day to invited guests. Most, if not all of them, were signed by crews after their return from space.

I've got a VIP card collection signed by most of the Apollo crews, however, I do not have cards signed by the full crews of Apollos 8 and 11, if I recall offhand.
If anyone has either crew, or both, let me hear from you. I would love to complete my own VIP card collection in this special way.

Thanks, Bob, for the VIP card topic here as we astrophilatelists seldom hear about the VIP cards these days.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 930
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 11-28-2011 10:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found an Apollo 11 VIP card (unsigned) postmarked on launch day many years ago in the $1.00 box at a stamp show; had to suppress my grin as I bought it!

cvrlvr99
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Posts: 45
From: Arlington, TX USA
Registered: Aug 2014

posted 05-07-2015 11:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cvrlvr99   Click Here to Email cvrlvr99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been trying to get VIP Cards for years that were sent by people at the VIP site to friends, as opposed to those that are unaddressed. I still lack an Apollo 15 and an Skylab 1 and my Apollo 8 card has a typed address and no message. These are really difficult to locate.

I'm exhibiting a single frame VIP Card exhibit in Oklahoma in June and have a few other needs plus some to trade.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 930
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 05-07-2015 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have also seen VIP-like cards (privately printed) for STS-1 and STS-4 come up on eBay, with a KSC machine cancel on the launch date. The cards have an address in Germany, so I would assume they were printed there as were many of the Apollo and Skylab-era 'suspect'/counterfeit cards?

There may have been more done for STS-2 and -3, but I am unaware of any more beyond the shuttle OFT missions.

cvrlvr99
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Posts: 45
From: Arlington, TX USA
Registered: Aug 2014

posted 05-09-2015 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cvrlvr99   Click Here to Email cvrlvr99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
VIP-like cards are not suspect nor fakes if they are made with cachets that do not match what the KSC Officials had.

For SL-3 the Skylab II (second manned flight) the letters "S.P.P.S." for Space Port Philatelic Society, show the crew patch with Da Vinci. A parody for the crew's wives that shows a woman's image in lieu of the male image is a funny tribute.

For SL-4 the SPPS is shown with the SL-3 patch. An Apollo Soyuz patch with an SPPS also exists for that mission.

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 2112
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 06-02-2015 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Besides the well-known NASA printed VIP launch cards, there were other "VIP-card types" that were printed and distributed throughout the Apollo lunar landing program, all Skylabs, and for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP)!

Other postal-type cards, though not printed by a federal agency (NASA), were produced and distributed on space center grounds throughout 1969-75.

The two-sided printed cards, measuring 4 1/4" x 6", were provided by one of NASA's biggest and wealthiest space fan supporters — Dr. James R. Maxfield, Jr. of the Maxfield Radiological Center in Dallas, TX.

Thousands of his cards, starting with Apollo 11 in 1969, were produced and freely distributed to VIP launch attendees with others finding their way throughout the Florida Space Coast area during a big space shot.

Dr. Maxfield, a famous and pioneering radiology cancer treatment doctor, would fill-up a 747 jetliner from Dallas to Orlando, FL, with space fan family members, friends, associates, and others aboard for the 3 to 4 day stay in Florida.

It was his own privately-rented airplane flight for an exclusive KSC-tour/launch viewing opportunity for his entire "flown in" party of guests, with many people aboard VIPs themselves in some way or another.

On the front-side of the cards featured the designated mission patch-logo design. On the back or reverse side of the cards — let's take Apollo 11 in this instance — with the text copy reading, "WHY SHOULD WE GO TO THE MOON? We are here at Cape Kennedy to watch Apollo XI rise from its earth pad and head for the moon..."

Many of the cards from Apollo 11 to Apollo-Soyuz contain KSC-launch day postal cancels, however, many others do not. Of those with postmarks on them, most are addressed, while others are not.

If anyone out there is interested in seeing copy scans of the cards, post it here, and I'll do my best to get some of them (or maybe a complete set) depicted here on cS.

Joel Katzowitz
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Posts: 546
From: Marietta GA USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 06-03-2015 07:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joel Katzowitz   Click Here to Email Joel Katzowitz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken, I seem to remember that you produced some "VIP" type cards for a shuttle mission. I don't recall the details but I believe you gave one to me, does that ring a bell?

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 2112
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 06-03-2015 08:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, Joel, it certainly does and I believe that Ray Cartier did include the shuttle card in his official VIP card study guide.

In early Sept. 1998, NASA/DNPS placed an order with my firm for an initial 5,000 "Special VIP Launch Cards" at 10-cents each. The order was placed for the upcoming Mission STS-95 with Space Shuttle Discovery set to liftoff in late Oct. 1998. It was John Glenn's return to orbit and a much anticipated flight for the Florida Space Coast.

The postal-type cards were almost identical in design and inks than in comparison to the earlier NASA-issued Apollo-era VIP launch cards.

Many were distributed, but were limited, at no charge to invited launch attendees at the main VIP viewing areas and at the shuttle press site. But in the early afternoon hours on launch day, I had been told by spaceport officials, some of the cards were put up for sale at the viewing sites by DNPS of Spaceport, Inc., as the majority of my provided firm's STS-95 cachet covers, were almost sold out even before Discovery's liftoff!

As a side bar here, NASA/DNPS also ordered (first time review) from SpaceCoast Cover Service about 55,000 printed cachet covers for the Discovery flight, of which there were 3 different types available. With such worldwide attention focused on the "Glenn return flight," of course (and for Joel), we had to provide a special pictorial postmark in commemoration of the 92nd shuttle mission. Authorized USPS and certain NASA officials had welcomed and supported the suggestion. Next step; design it!

That's when our good buddy Joel Katzowitz contributed his superb shuttle cancel design for the Glenn return to orbital spaceflight. Thanks again Joel!

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