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  Apollo Insurance covers: populations produced

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Author Topic:   Apollo Insurance covers: populations produced
Bob M
Member

Posts: 1391
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 08-06-2006 02:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is unknown, at least among space collectors, how many covers were printed for each Apollo mission to be used by the astronaut families as Insurance covers. Surely a fair number of extras were printed and not used as Insurance covers and some have surfaced as time has gone by.

Charlie Duke owned a number and recently signed some for collectors. These unused, "Insurance-type" covers appear occasionally on eBay and are offered by dealers and can be found unsigned, or with one or even two astronaut autographs on them, and some even signed post-flight by the entire crew.

For those with an interest in Apollo Insurance covers, I have a section about them on my website that highlights "Insurance-type" covers that are autographed by individual astronauts. "Single-signed Apollo Insurance Covers" can be found at the bottom of my website.

fabfivefreddy
Member

Posts: 1067
From: Leawood, Kansas USA
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 08-06-2006 09:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for that great info, Bob. A handsome web site indeed.

I was wondering if all the insuraance covers that were really used for insurance reason lacked the cancellation marks? Would it be correct to assume that all real insurance covers are uncancelled?

capoetc
Member

Posts: 1721
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 08-07-2006 05:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob is clearly more knowledgable than I on anything related to space memorabilia, so I defer to him for a more definitive answer.

However, I have seen lots of Insurance Covers, and all the ones I have seen have been cancelled either on the launch date or the moon landing date.

On Apollo 11, for example, my understanding is that there were 1,500 covers signed by the crew with the Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club cachet. The crew pulled out 214 of these to fly to the moon and replaced them with 214 of two different cachet covers (Dow Unicover and crew patch, if I recall correctly).

Tom Stafford was given responsibility for getting the insurance covers to the families. He had some of the covers cancelled at the Cape on launch day, and then flew all 1,500 of the covers in his T-38 to Houston where the remainder of the covers were cancelled on July 20, 1969. He then distributed 500 covers to each family.

Someone please correct me if any of the details are incorrect, but I think I got it about right.

Bottom Line: I would say it is unusual to see Insurance Covers that were intended to be used as insurance NOT cancelled.

Bob M
Member

Posts: 1391
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 08-08-2006 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John gave a very good and informative overview of Apollo Insurance covers. While much in general is known about them, too much still remains unclear and unknown and has never been disclosed in detail by those directly involved in their production and handling. Once the crews came back from the moon safely, the covers had served their purpose and some were sold and others just put aside and stored away. Through the years many have surfaced and have become major collectibles in our hobby.

And as John pointed out, Apollo Insurance covers were routinely canceled/postmarked and I have never seen a legitimate Insurance cover without a stamp and cancel. Of course, many others were canceled and not signed, others were partially signed, and others not canceled at all — but these never were meant to serve as actual Insurance covers. These Insurance cover variants (often referred to as Insurance-type covers) appear occasionally and make for interesting and worthwhile additions to collections.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1914
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 08-08-2006 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few comments to add: All of the crew-insignia cachet covers from Apollo 12 through 16 were printed by Brevard Printing here in Cocoa, FL, at the request of a well-known aeropsace public relations specialist. I was able to obtain any/all available records from John Jacobs and the Leach family, the original owners of Brevard Printing, pertaining to such matters and more.

Unfortunately, the majority of the print shop files didn't contain the original invoices nor very much paperwork relating to the special Apollo insignia envelopes. Apparently, as I was told, much had been thrown out years earlier!

Included in those "files" were about 1,000+ space covers that the print shop owners kept in their own collections, now in my private hands. Those space cover holdings included many crew insignia covers with and without postal cancels, but only a limited few were crew signed.

In discussing this very same topic with the print shop owners and others way back in the 1980s, as this cS post refers to, I believe that anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500+ covers were probably ordered for each of the later Apollo missions from Sept-Oct. 1969 to March 1972. I think it would be safe to indicate that the lower numbers in this estimated production range pertained to Apollo 12 and 13.

The higher numbers, certainly, were for Apollo 15 as Brevard Printing produced a different variety of cachets for the Scott-Irwin-Worden lunar mission in 1971, which also included the Scott-Sieger covers that went to the moon's surface.

Normally, say if 2,000 of a certain cachet envelope were printed, the crew would keep at least 1,000+ and possibly more for themselves, family and friends (i.e. crew-signed insurance covers)! The other 1,000 or so would remain with their "producer" and a few others within the "inner circle" of the NASA and contractor family.

It should also be pointed out that hundreds of cachet covers were "rejects" because of their close print color registration defects and had to be destroyed once they came off the presses. These numbers also don't include "overruns" as the printing presses usually would pump out a few hundred more units than what was required and/or ordered. This is still the case even today with my own cover productions for each shuttle mission.

Therefore, in conclusion, there were still hundreds of covers that were not used directly by the crew and/or their families. Even the print shop folks were permitted to keep some for themselves, and in some instances, printed extras for themselves to keep!

Certainly, as said earlier, not all the crew insignia cachet covers were signed prior to/nor even after their launch to the moon. Of those many envelopes that were not crew-kept, the non-astronaut owned covers were used in many different ways by lots of other people; some with various cancels applied, others kept blank, some directly mailed out (addressed) after launch, and so on.

But to help answer a prior question on this topic, to my knowledge, only KSC-launch cancels were used for Apollo 12 and 13 by the crew/families themselves, both KSC-launch and KSC-moonlanding postmarks for Apollo 14 were done, Apollo 15 with launch, moonlanding and splashdown dates from KSC and the same for Apollo 16, but of course, it appears that the higher quantities were produced for launch rather than moonlanding and recovery.

But for Apollo 11 crew-signed insurance covers, with three different cachet designs, KSC-launch cancels were done on the mission emblem (NASA EXC) and Dow cachets. It appears, from my studies, that only Houston-moonlanding cancels (mostly machines) were done on most, if not all, of the MSCSC "On the Moon" printed cachet covers that were supplied to the crew (Collins first) by the Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club (MSCSC).

The special astronaut-insignia crew emblem covers did not start nor originate from the Houston stamp club in commemorating the first lunar landing mission, but started with Apollo 12 through 16, as those are my personal favorites.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 1914
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 08-08-2006 07:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Concerning Apollo 13: I forgot to mention that Fred Haise had located 348 cachet-emblem Apollo 13 envelopes that were in his possession since 1970. All of them were without any postage stamps affixed nor with any postal cancel markings on them.

Only four of this group were of the special astronaut-insginia, or pin, cachet design; 192 of them had the MSCSC cachet variety; and the other 152 were of a different cachet type all together with the "CKM" yellow emblem cachet design.

All of these varieties were later postmarked for Apollo 13's 30th launch anniversary in April 2000 and later signed by Haise and Lovell. The proceeds from the sale of the Haise-owned covers supported the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and the Astronauts Memorial Foundation.

Apparently, Haise never did use the 348 covers for anything, it appears, as they were in his possession before his epic lunar voyage. Perhaps this could be considered an unusual astronaut "missed" opportunity in not having any of the prior covers signed and kept behind as possible crew-insurance covers.

Haise is the only Apollo astronaut that I know of in which so many cachet covers were never used philatelically for his own space trip.

fabfivefreddy
Member

Posts: 1067
From: Leawood, Kansas USA
Registered: Oct 2003

posted 08-09-2006 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A lot of great info! Thanks for that history, Ken.

Michael
Member

Posts: 309
From: Brooklyn New York
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 08-28-2006 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael   Click Here to Email Michael     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have more information on the Apollo 16 insurance cover. On Jan. 12, 2004, I bought an insurance cover from Charlie Duke. This is his answer.

  • If I recall correctly, I believe we signed a total of 300 and each member received 100 covers.

  • We started signing the covers a few weeks before the launch and we completed them a day or two before liftoff so they could be postmarked the morning of liftoff.

  • Your cover is signed on the back. Hope you enjoy it.

  • I dont recall how many I have remaining as I have given some to my kids and sold a few.

lunareagle
Member

Posts: 414
From: Michigan
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-18-2013 05:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunareagle   Click Here to Email lunareagle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can confirm that there were 375 (125 for each crew member) Apollo 16 crew signed Insurance covers as I have seen written evidence confirming.

All times are CT (US)

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