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  Space Cover 170: X-15 (incl. Boy Scout cachet)

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 170: X-15 (incl. Boy Scout cachet)

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

posted 07-15-2012 06:24 AM     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 170 (July 15, 2012)

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...)!

Bob M

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

posted 07-15-2012 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well done, Dennis, and I've been hoping that one of us would display the many different cachets used in the X-15 Program - and you have done that excellently.

And we'll be looking forward to a similar presentation of the cachets used in the NASA Lifting Body Program.


Posts: 203
From: Fairfax, VA USA
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 07-15-2012 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DOX32   Click Here to Email DOX32     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay Dennis, is the name Howard Farley or Howard Flick? What is a Flick cachet?

I have a number of covers with the HF design on early space covers (not House of Farnum).

Who actually designed these?


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

posted 07-15-2012 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Woody, the HF denotes Howard Farley (like the top image, top right cachet above). Flick was a different guy with a similar style. He usually had his return address on the back of the cover. Here's an image of an image of a Flick Cachet for the 9/17/59 flight:


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

posted 07-15-2012 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good job Dennis! I really liked seeing all of these different cachets.


Posts: 164
From: millersville, maryland, usa
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 07-15-2012 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevedd841   Click Here to Email stevedd841     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dennis, great overview of X-15 cachet covers. Thank you for presenting it. I would like to add two additional cover scans to the X-15 discussion. See below.

The first cover scan is a Ted Holden printed cachet cover for the first powered X-15 flight by Scott Crossfield, September 17, 1959, at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. Holden would be a very prolific cover servicer in this period for rocket covers, but only a few Holden X-15 covers are known including this one for first powered flight.

The second cover scan is more utilitarian in that it was the BSA cachet oversized cover in which a collector's X-15 covers were mailed back by Boy Scout Troop 141 after an X-15 flight.

The cover scan above has been reduced in size to show the full appearance and overall large size of the cover. This particular oversized cover is noteworthy in that the oversized cover was canceled on the flight date of test pilot Joe Walker's X-15 flight, August 14, 1962, X-15 flight number 67, and then, the cover became an X-15 flight cover in its own right. Surprisingly, most of these oversized mailers, even though some were canceled on test flight dates, were discarded by collectors, who would keep the canceled X-15 covers inside the envelope that were normal size and throw away the oversized one that now is very desirable to find and collect.


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

posted 07-15-2012 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too funny, Steve! For this SCOTW, I was looking for the #10 cover that was used to send a collector his covers, and couldn't find it! Must have traded it to you!!!

And I might note that Steve's Holden cover is the only one I have seen postmarked for an X-15 flight. Holden mostly cacheted Vandenberg AFB launch covers.


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

posted 07-15-2012 09:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are a couple more...

The top cover has a sticker cachet by Harry Gordon. This is the only cover I seen with a Harry Gordon sticker. Anyone else have one? bobslittlebro do you recognize this one - your Monroe MI address is on the back flap!

Already mentioned is a Howard Farley cover for the first captive flight... the bottom cover has both the Boy Scout cachet and a Howard Farley cachet for the first X-15 flight with the XLR 99 engine. The cover has a label address to Farley.

Pooz - don't forget the Sarzin covers with no flights associated with them! Such as

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