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  Space Cover 212: Heritage Craft Apollo Covers

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 212: Heritage Craft Apollo Covers
Bob M
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Posts: 1404
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-04-2013 07:25 AM     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 212 (May 5, 2013)

Space Cover #212: Heritage Craft Apollo Space Covers

In our weekly Space Cover of the Week series we've presented many well-known space cover types, such as the popular Swanson SpaceCraft covers; Morris Beck's Prime Recovery Ship covers; Robert Rank's Space Voyage covers; George Goldey's covers; etc., but another lesser-known type, issued only for Apollo 7 through Apollo 17, deserves notice.

Dave Ouelette worked for the Bendix Corp. at KSC during the Apollo Program and created the well-done Heritage Craft space covers. His cover production only included the eleven Apollo manned missions, but during that four-year period, provided collectors with some very impressive covers.

His Heritage Craft cacheted covers typically have three small portraits of the crew members at the top and the mission emblem cachet below. He also issued covers with the usual 3-portraits, but below that a space scene relating to the flight.

Donald E. Wilkes, also a Bendix employee, is said to be the artist who designed the Heritage Craft cachets for Mr. Ouelette, along with the cachets for the Bendix covers and the Dow-Unicovers.

Surprisingly, for Apollo 11 only, Ouelette didn't do his standard covers, but instead did covers with black and white cachets picturing Wernher von Braun, along with a quote from him. Also for Apollo 11, he and Bendix were involved in producing blue and red cacheted covers picturing John Kennedy with a quote from him. These JFK covers have no reference to Heritage Craft and should be considered Bendix covers.

The covers at the top show an Apollo 7 Heritage cover, with the usual 3-heads and a space scene relating to Apollo 7, and below is a typical Heritage Craft 3-head and mission emblem cacheted cover for Apollo 13. Other Apollo 13 Heritage Craft covers had a small portrait of Jack Swigert added to the right of the cachet.

The top cover is an Apollo 14 Heritage Craft cover, with an official NASA/KSC rubber stamnp cachet added, and pictures Alan Shepard and pays tribute to Freedom 7 and Apollo 14. The bottom cover is a typical 3-head and space scene (with Lunar Rover) Heritage Craft cover for Apollo 15.

These final two Heritage Craft covers are an Apollo 17 3-head/mission emblem cover at top, and below, a cover also for Apollo 17, with a B&W cachet picturing Wernher von Braun that was originally issued for Apollo 11.

Many consider Heritage Craft covers among the best Apollo covers. A complete collection would be impressive and many of these covers can be found at Joe Frasketi's website here.

bobslittlebro
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Posts: 115
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 05-04-2013 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great subject Bob! Heritage Craft covers have always been some of my favorite Apollo covers. They used good quality envelopes and the printing was bright and not too over done on their graphics. Shown are two of my favorites.

The first is an Apollo 12 KSC red meter postmark for their moon landing 11/19/69. These are a bit rarer. The second cover is an Apollo 14 KSC launch cover and what I like about this cover is that an AMVET label/stamp was added next to the Apollo 8 stamp. It shows the Mercury Redstone in launch phase which was a great tie in with Al Shepard being the Commander on Apollo 14.

Most of my Heritage Craft covers I bought over the years from Joe Frasketi who has always been a great source for covers.

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

posted 05-05-2013 09:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great post about these covers! And I recently added an Apollo 12 Heritage cover (un cancelled) to my collection, signed by Conrad and Gordon, purchased thru a cS member.

bobslittlebro
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Posts: 115
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 05-05-2013 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After some searching I found the Apollo 13 cover that added Jack Sweigert to the cachet that you mentioned Bob. The second is a great Apollo 15 USS Okinawa PRS. This is the only one I have seen although I have seen one for Apollo 16 PRS USS Ticonderoga.

spaceman1953
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Posts: 942
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 05-05-2013 10:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These Heritage Crafts were quite impressive and available unserviced so we could post them wherever we wanted to. The filler cards were next to perfect too.

Dave Oulette, a name from the past for me. I had forgotten that he was the maker. The first one I saw was for Apollo 8. I never saw the "fixed" or added picture one for Apollo 13 and never owned any, to be sure.

So, ditto-ing others here, a great post to be sure! Thanks!

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 1970
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-06-2013 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great post, Bob, in salute to Heritage Crafts, owner/producer Dave Ouelette, and graphics artist Don Wilkes.

Recently I was able to purchase from an estate of the Ouelette family hundreds of the Heritage Crafts Apollo-era covers in 3-4 cover shoeboxes.

Altogether, considering every different type of cachet produced by the cover firm, I would say there were 18 different productions from Apollo 7 in 1968 through
Apollo 17 in 1972 that I am aware of.

For Apollo 13, the Ouelette/Wilkes team created three different cachet designs, one of which includes the Swigert imprint.

In commemoration of Apollo 15 in 1971, the team designed three cachets, which included a separate cachet design for the "United States In Space...A Decade of Achievement" 8-cent twin-stamp first day cover issue.

The JFK design, which I've always considered more of an Ouelette/Heritage production, was actually done in two versions that included an imprint, which is rarely seen, celebrating the 10th anniversary of manned spaceflight.

Keep in mind there is another Apollo cachet production series, by KSC's Bendix Launch Support Division, that included the cachet artwork of Wilkes, a Bendix worker, along with his fellow-Bendix buddy Ouelette.

The official Bendix cover series started in 1967 with "Saluting NASA on its Ninth Anniversary" cancelled with the new "Gemini-twins" 5-cent stamps for the first day issue on Sept. 29, 1967. This "first" cover is rarely seen these days.

Their next space cover was issued five weeks later for the AS-501/Apollo 4 launch, the nation's first Saturn V moon rocket test flight, from Kennedy's Launch Complex 39A.

The entire series from Bendix would be a total of 15 different cachet covers from 1967-72.

Many of the earlier covers inside had a copy of a letter from Bendix general manager, Frank Vaughn, at the time. Later issues contained special informative insert card-folders from Bendix Launch Support Division.

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

posted 05-06-2013 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is another Apollo 13 design showing two astronauts drilling on the moon which was not to be for Apollo 13. Also a very nice design for Apollo 10.

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 1970
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-06-2013 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a side note here, when examining and acquiring space collections from authorized personnel that have worked full-time within the astronaut office, or better known as crew quarters here at Kennedy, such collections did contain early Apollo crew-signed Heritage Crafts covers.

I do know for fact, though, while visiting with Dave Ouelette back in the mid-1970s, he showed me a complete collection of his cachet-produced Apollo launch-day covers from 7-17, all crew-signed! It completely floored me when seeing them all together like this.

During that same visit with him, he told me that most, if not all, of the Apollo crews
while in training here did receive a number of his Heritage cachet covers at no cost. In return, each crew would sign and return back to him 3-6 of the same cover types.

Perhaps speaking completely "unofficial," I've only see a few of the Heritage signed
"crew quarters" early Apollo mission covers and got a few myself.

Their "official status" if any?

Bob M
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Posts: 1404
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-06-2013 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the interesting info, Ken. I have always thought how super a set of crew signed Apollo 7 through Apollo 17 Heritage Craft covers would be and very interesting that Dave himself had a number done! But with no "standard" 3-head H.C. covers done for Apollo 11, a very suitable substitute would be an Apollo 11 Dow-unicover type 2 insurance cover and it would do very nicely, as they are similar to the H.C. style.

For some reason crew signed Heritage Craft covers aren't seen very often but a nice Apollo 8 H.C. crew signed cover recently sold in Heritage for over $4,000!

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 1970
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-06-2013 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob, I can't say for sure which Apollo 11 "Heritage Crafts" cover I saw from Dave crew-signed so many years ago when I was a college student.

I am thinking it was the von Braun or Dow cachet, but that is only a guess and nothing more.

Certainly, though, I'll agree with you. Why Ouelette didn't continue with the 3-heads and mission emblem for Apollo 11 is beyond me. I suppose he wanted to do something completely different for man's first lunar landing and had Wilkes design the von Braun and JFK tribute artwork cachet covers.

There may also be a possibility that Dow-Unicover paid Ouelette for the Wilkes-designed Apollo 11 artwork, perhaps exclusively, as so many of the Dow covers were printed for many different kinds of philatelic uses in 1969.

With already three different Apollo 11 related cachet designs by Wilkes, maybe Ouelette felt there was no need for another design, this one, with the normal 3-heads over the mission patch design.

Who knows for sure, huh, as I tried contacting Dave many years ago. I did locate his son, however, that is another story not to be told here.

Bob M
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Posts: 1404
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-07-2013 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, it is a shame that Dave didn't create his usual 3-head/mission emblem covers for Apollo 11 and what a great cover that would have been signed by the crew! But the Apollo 11 Dow-unicover insurance covers can fill that void.

It appears that Dave had his Apollo 7, 8 and 9 covers printed in only one color (Apollo 7 blue, Apollo 8 red and Apollo 9 green), but with Apollo 10, started using more than one color.

Thanks to Tim Preston, I've been able to show here another Heritage Craft cover, this one for Apollo 8 and it's the one that sold in the last Heritage Auction for over $4,000!

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1970
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 05-07-2013 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob, If you or anyone else would like an illustrated copy or guide of all the Heritage Crafts and Bendix company cachet covers, as time permits, I'll be happy to mail you a copy of everything that I have.

Also, while on the same topic, I could include copies of other related covers that were produced by aerospace companies and NASA divisions here at Kennedy and the Cape.

Some of my favorites, in addition to Heritage Crafts and Bendix, were the NASA Launch Vehicle Operations (LVO) Apollo launch day #10-size covers from KSC. Inside each was a hand-signed letter, usually addressed to a LVO employee, by directorate Hans Gruene of the original German/U.S. von Braun rocket development team.

Other covers from the Apollo/Skylab era, that are similar, were produced by Grumman, Boeing, TWA (another favorite of mine), Rocketdyne, and the KSC fire service departments with separate cachet covers done for the astronaut rescue team, the fire prevention bureau, and the unit's fire department-combat division.

Some of the KSC fire service cachet covers, numbered from 1 to 500, were actually the first covers of their type "carried" aboard the M-113 astronaut rescue vehicles in support of the Apollo 12 and 13 launches here at Kennedy.

akinnaird
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From: Arlington, VA, US
Registered: Dec 2013

posted 04-10-2014 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akinnaird     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking over next month's Heritage auction catalog, I see a crew-signed Apollo 12 Heritage Craft cover being described as an insurance cover. It is also labeled as such on the back by Alan Bean.

Having recently acquired one of these crew-signed Apollo 12 Heritage Craft covers myself, I am curious about whether all crew-signed ones could be classified as "insurance covers" or only those labeled as such my a crew member who signed it.

Does it depend on where/when it was postmarked? Other factors?

Bob M
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Posts: 1404
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 04-13-2014 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very interesting documented covers! In my humble opinion, until more information is learned about them - ideally from Alan Bean - they should be considered unofficial insurance covers. If he indicates that they were actually included with the standard insurance covers kept by the families during the Apollo 12 flight, which his documentation certainly indicates, then they could/should be considered as actual insurance covers. Also learning of the number of these unusual types would be helpful. If only a very few were done, then they might be considered more oddities than actual official insurance covers (?), but still of special significance. At this time, only two types of covers are recognized as actual Apollo 12 insurance covers.

As we know, Apollo insurance covers were done privately and unofficially, with NASA's blessing, and records were not actually kept, so it's no surprise that different covers, such as these two, may have been included with the standard types of insurance covers and, like these, may surface at times.

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