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  Space Cover 160: Mercury-Atlas 7 USS Pierce

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 160: Mercury-Atlas 7 USS Pierce
micropooz
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From: Washington, DC, USA
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posted 05-06-2012 06:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space Cover of the Week, Week 160 (May 6, 2012)

Space Cover #160: MA-7 USS Pierce

The 50th anniversary of Mercury-Atlas 7 (aka - Aurora 7) with Scott Carpenter onboard, is right around the corner! So let's take a look at a cover from that flight. Most of you know that Aurora 7 landed 402 km downrange from the planned splashdown point, and took quite a while to recover. Carpenter was picked up by helicopters from the planned prime recovery ship, the USS Intrepid. The closest ship to the splashdown was the destroyer USS Farragut, however, it did not have the proper boat and aircraft crane to hoist Aurora 7 out of the water. About 6 hours after the landing, the destroyer USS John R Pierce successfully recovered Aurora 7. Since the Pierce was planned to be a secondary recovery ship, few covers were postmarked onboard the Pierce for the capsule recovery. Couple that with the demand for covers postmarked onboard a ship that actually recovered a capsule, and one finds that USS Pierce covers for the recovery are scarce. My current USS John R. Pierce cover is shown above.

How many covers were actually postmarked onboard the Pierce? Nobody seems to know for sure, and I've even heard speculation that there could not have been more than ten. This is the third Pierce that I have owned (the previous two can be seen here and here). Since I've had three different ones in my collecting life, I'd tend to think that there must be more than ten Pierces out there.

So, let's do a census! Who else has a Pierce (or more)? Please respond if you do, and even post images if you can. And if yours is one of my previous two Pierces (I don't remember who those went to), please note that as well, so we don't double account those. This obviously won't be a complete census, but could give us an order-of-magnitude estimate. Thanks gang!

Eddie Bizub
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From: Kissimmee, FL USA
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posted 05-06-2012 08:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Eddie Bizub   Click Here to Email Eddie Bizub     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have one Dennis. Don't have it here so I can't scan it. Front has no cachet and the back has just a hint of their cachet.

I do also have a USS Farragut cover. No cachet at all.

Jane Beville also had a Pierce. We sold her the one that Dick Learn had owned. Not sure where that ended up.

yeknom-ecaps
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From: Northville MI USA
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posted 05-06-2012 09:37 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 Goldcraft Cachet for USS John R. Pierce. I know of two of the GCC covers and would assume there are more out there.

I also have one like Eddie - no cachet on front, faded ship cachet on the back.

Ross
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From: Australia
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posted 05-07-2012 08:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have two covers. The first appears to be Dennis's old cover that has since been signed by Carpenter. I bought this at a RR auction. The second has a plain front with quite a prominent ship's cachet on the back.

So far that makes at least 8 and possibly 9 so the so called 10 is definitely short of the mark.

So far Eddie's USS Farragut is the only one that I've seen. Does anyone else have one.

This mission was also significant for us collectors as it was the first mission for which covers were available from most of the Recovery ships, not to mention several that were not involved.

yeknom-ecaps
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From: Northville MI USA
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posted 05-07-2012 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ross, I have a USS Farragut cover as well - addressed to the same person as Eddie's and has the same overcancel.

cosmos-walter
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From: Salzburg, Austria
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posted 05-07-2012 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dennis, I have two USS John R. Pierce covers postmarked on 5/24/1962. One is addressed to Capt. H. F. Rommel. The other one has a stamped address label of Jerri Chaivoe from New York. Both are franked with a Mercury stamp and have the printed cachet on their back.Probably It would pay to send one of them to a Scott Carpenter signing.

micropooz
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From: Washington, DC, USA
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posted 05-10-2012 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is great, guys! Keep those Pierce sightings coming!

And Ross - yes, I had that cover signed by Carpenter at the 2005 autograph show in New Jersey. Glad it went to a good home!

stevedd841
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Posts: 200
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 05-12-2012 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Plain Jane USS John R. Pierce cover, unaddressed, with PM hand cancel on astronaut Scott Carpenter's mission recovery date, May 24, 1962. A USS John R. Pierce black rubber stamped cachet is centered on reverse of the cover as shown in the next scan.

Reverse of the Plain Jane cover pictured above has a centered ship's black rubber stamped cachet. The same black ship's cachet is applied to the Goldey cover that follows.

A George Goldey cachet cover for USS John R. Pierce, signed by astronaut Scott Carpenter, is shown on his mission recovery date, May 24, 1962. The ship's rubber stamped black cachet pictured above is also on the reverse of this cover. Note, USS John R. Pierce did not recover Carpenter but did recovery his spacecraft, Aurora 7, thus becoming the Primary Recovery Ship for his MA-7 flight. USS Intrepid's recovery helo recovered Carpenter on the recovery.

Two more covers are shown for Dennis' USS John R. Pierce cover census for Scott Carpenter's mission recovery. Best regards, fellow anchor clankers, Steve.

micropooz
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From: Washington, DC, USA
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posted 05-12-2012 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay, I've put together a spreadsheet of the responses so far. We have 11 Pierce covers recorded, so that blows the "less than ten" theory. There are likely more out there than the eleven we have here. If any of you want the spreadsheet in native format (Excel), please e-mail me. I will update the spreadsheet if any more responses come in.

Looks like we have two Goldey cachets (do you guys really think that Goldey just sent two to the Pierce, or more?).

Seven are no-cachet (with varying resolution of the ship's rubber stamped cachet on the reverse).

One has the Ship's Cachet applied to the front of the cover (obverse side) as opposed to the reverse.

One has a typed cachet (the one I highlighted in the article above).

Eddie Bizub, I think the Jane Beville Pierce cover may have been my second Pierce cover, but I cannot remember for sure. Look familiar to you?

yeknom-ecaps
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From: Northville MI USA
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posted 05-12-2012 06:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pooz the second Goldcraft I know of wasn't Steve's so there are three known Goldcraft - and I do bet more.

Eddie Bizub
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From: Kissimmee, FL USA
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posted 05-12-2012 07:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Eddie Bizub   Click Here to Email Eddie Bizub     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dennis I do not remember the cover we sold Jane but it came out of Dick Learn's collection. Honestly I do not think that was her cover. Jane always collected the most pristine covers and would not have purchased a cover with the toning that your cover has...no matter how rare the cover was.

NAAmodel#240
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From: Charleston, SC USA
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posted 06-15-2012 08:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NAAmodel#240   Click Here to Email NAAmodel#240     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have three Pierce (one is a Goldey) and a Farragut. Also a Pierce return to port and a Riser fake.

yeknom-ecaps
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From: Northville MI USA
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posted 06-15-2012 08:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by NAAmodel#240:
I have ... a Farragut.

David - is yours addressed to the same person as Eddie's and mine? Same overcancel?

micropooz
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posted 06-16-2012 05:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks David! Are your other non-Goldey Pierce's no-cachet or ship's-cachet? I'll add them to the census.

NAAmodel#240
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posted 06-16-2012 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NAAmodel#240   Click Here to Email NAAmodel#240     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom, the Farragut has a JAX MC dated May 31 in the HC. It is autographed by the astronaut pilot and was addressed to a M E_____ in Ridgewood, NY. A Flag stamp was placed over the address so I can't make out the rubber stamped name. The back (in pencil) says "Elkins" with an address in Monroe, Mich.

Dennis, my Goldey was autographed about 5 years ago while researching my book. You can see it on pg 145 of American Astrophilately. The other two are addressed to S C Steinberg. One has a copy of the ship artwork as a glued add-on. The other is a green variant of a Swanson cachet (see Figure 477 in Cranford) that says "US in space" instead of "satellite launch".

yeknom-ecaps
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From: Northville MI USA
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posted 06-16-2012 08:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
David - would be interested in seeing scans of the USS Farragut and Swanson variant for the USS Pierce.

astrobock
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posted 05-24-2014 08:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astrobock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On this first anniversary of Scott Carpenter's flight since his passing, I wanted to share another picture of a postal cover commemorating the recovery of the Aurora 7 capsule postmarked on the USS John Pierce and signed by Carpenter in Feb. 2013.

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

posted 07-02-2014 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
UPDATE!

Esteemed new member Ray Cartier has pointed out that I missed all four of the Pierce's in his ground-breaking book, Primary Recovery Ship Cover Handbook, published in 1992. So those have been added to the Pierce census, resulting in 16 known Pierce covers out there!

Plus Ray solved the mystery on where one of the already-known covers ended up - in his award winning exhibit!

If any of you want the updated Pierce census spreadsheet, please email me. Glad to help out...

cosmos-walter
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posted 07-06-2014 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my collection I have another nice USS John R. Pierce cover, which seems to be flown on board pick-up helicopter.

bobslittlebro
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From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
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posted 07-06-2014 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A Flown USS Pierce? Gotta see that!

cosmos-walter
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posted 07-06-2014 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

bobslittlebro
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posted 07-06-2014 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Outstanding Flown USS Pierce cover!

cosmos-walter
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posted 07-06-2014 12:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you Bob. When I saw it first time, I was convinced it most likely is a flown one. Unfortunately Scott Carpenter was any longer not alive when I purchased it.

bobslittlebro
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From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
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posted 07-06-2014 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes...Having Carpenter to sign it would have been a big plus but still a Great cover!!!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-06-2014 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those less familiar (myself included), what indicates that this cover flew on the helo?

cosmos-walter
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posted 07-06-2014 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, you are right: There is no proof, it actually flew on a helo. However, as far as I remember, USS Pierce was not a member of recovery fleet. However, she arrived at Carpenter's landing site before any of the scheduled recovery vessels. Obviously the cover was prepared to be flown on a helicopter from/to USS Intrepid. The postmark of USS Pierce matches with the pilot's notations.

micropooz
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posted 07-06-2014 03:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regardless whether it was flown or not, Walter, this looks like a Pierce cancel that you found after I did the census (I had you down for two, both addressed). Can I enter this as cosmos-walter/3 for the census?

cosmos-walter
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posted 07-06-2014 04:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dennis, gladly you can enter it ot the census. Please, let you know whenever you need a scan of one of my covers.

Ross
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From: Australia
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posted 07-07-2014 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A truly great cover. First one I've seen for that mission. I would certainly classify if as flown. The main elements of a flown cover are some indication of the helicopter, the date and the signature of the pilot and/or crew.

Walter, if it is OK with you I would like to add it to my Recover Ship Cover site.

Dennis, can you send me your updated list of USS Pierce covers?

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

posted 07-07-2014 05:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Done and done!

cosmos-walter
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From: Salzburg, Austria
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posted 07-07-2014 06:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All my 3 Carpenter USS Pierce covers have the ship's cachet on the reverse.

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