Space Cover #170: X-15 Cover Cachets (Including the Boy Scout Cachet)
It seems like every time that I write up an X-15 cover for Space Cover of the Week, I get an email question about "What's a Boy Scout Cachet?" And I even get those from non-space, Boy Scout memorabilia collectors, who have apparently googled "Boy Scout" and wonder what-the-heck is up! So let's take a look at some of the cachets used on X-15 event covers.
For those of you who aren't hardcore philatelists, the "cachet" is artwork that is usually added on the left side of a postmarked envelope (known as a "cover") to help describe the significance of the postmark.
The X-15 flew 199 missions from 1959 to 1968, so there are a lot of covers postmarked on X-15 flight dates, with a number of different cachets. At the upper right is the cachet produced by Howard Farley for the March 10, 1959 (actually the cover and cachet mistakenly have March 11 on them) first captive flight for the X-15.
There is a Flick Cachet for the first powered flight of the X-15 on Sept 17, 1959 that I do not own. If any of you have it, please post a scan!
On the upper left is another early X-15 cachet, the Air Force Office of Information Cachet. This rubber stamped silhouette of the X-15 was applied by Sgt. Edmonds of the Office of Information at Edwards in either red or black colors. He usually added some typed information on the flight (as shown here) or the typed Office of Information corner card. These are seen on X-15 flights during 1960.
In 1959 and 1960, classic space cover cachet maker George Goldey made a printed X-15 flight cachet as shown on the lower right (this one is red, other colors known are blue and orange). He used a rubber stamp to put in flight specific information in the box at the bottom of the cachet. I like to refer to this as the Goldey Type I Cachet.
Starting with the March 31, 1960 flight of the X-15, Goldey introduced a silkscreened or embossed cachet that I like to refer to as the Goldey Type II Cachet. This one is in blue. Subsequent cachets were in blue, red, gray-blue, olive drab, brown, green, and pink. This was used up through 1964 (as far as I know - if you have a later usage, please post it!).
Okay, so what about the Boy Scout Cachet that I played-up earlier? Look on the upper right of the image above! The Boy Scout Cachet was the most common cachet of the X-15 program, applied by the Edwards AFB Boy Scout Troop 141 as a public service. It consisted of the circular "X-15 Air Force-NASA-Navy-Edwards AFB Calif" rubber stamp with some flight-specific info either added by rubber stamp (early in the program) or hand-writing (later in the program). The earliest application that I have is 9/10/60 (if you have an earlier application of this cachet, please post it!), and continued through the end of the X-15 program in 1968. The most common colors of this rubber-stamped cachet seen were dark blue, red, and black. Other colors seen were light blue (shown), gray-blue, gray, turquoise-green, and green.
On the upper left is the Zaso printed cachet, first used for the April 11, 1963 X-15 flight (if any of you have one of these postmarked earlier, please post it!). The most common usage is the April 11, 1963 flight, but examples have been found throughout the life of the X-15 program.
On the bottom right is the Sokolsky Printed Cachet in purple, used for a while in 1964, and then it seemed to go away. If any of you have examples of an X-15 Sokolsky Cachet outside of 1964, please post!
And lower left is a stumper! This black rubber stamped cachet seemed to first appear on September 2, 1965 (if you have an earlier usage, please post!) and was used sporadically through the end of the program. Anyone know who did this cachet? It looks like Swanson's style, but lacks the typical "Swanson" notation in the artwork...
In future Space Covers of the Week, we will talk about cachets for the lifting body rocketplanes (including their Boy Scout Cachets...)!