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  Space Cover 247: Apollo 8: Off to the Moon!

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Author Topic:   Space Cover 247: Apollo 8: Off to the Moon!
Bob M

Posts: 1393
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 01-04-2014 08:52 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 247 (January 5, 2014)

Space Cover #247: Apollo 8: Off to the Moon!

This week we will continue with our tribute to Apollo 8 on its 45th anniversary that Steve and Tom began so well with Apollo 8 Christmas-related covers and USS Yorktown recovery covers. The covers shown this week will commemorate the launch of Apollo 8 on the first manned flight to the moon.

On December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 lifted off from LC-39A at KSC. A huge amount of covers were produced for the launch and shown here are only three examples: An Apollo 8 crew patch/mission emblem cacheted cover of the type sold at the KSC gift shop (top); a Space City Cover Society Local Post rubber stamp cacheted cover (middle); and an official NASA/KSC label cacheted cover (bottom).

As expected, through the years many Apollo 8 launch covers were autographed by one or more of the three Apollo 8 crew members, with both Frank Borman and Jim Lovell generally receptive to signing for many years. However, as many collectors well know, Bill Anders was a very reluctant signer, so covers authentically signed by the entire three-man Apollo 8 crew are among the hardest to find Apollo crew signed covers.

Two of the three Apollo 8 signed covers shown here have been signed by all three, with the Apollo 8 crew patch cover signed before the flight for a NASA official. The SCCS cover was signed sometime after the flight, and the Apollo 8 official NASA/KSC label cacheted cover signed by only Borman and Lovell.

These covers show only three types of covers/cachets for Apollo 8, with two being scarce examples of covers signed by the entire Apollo 8 crew. Because Borman and Lovell signed a large amount of covers and photos together, collectors need to be advised and warned that a fairly convincing Bill Anders forgery added to any Borman/Lovell signed item would transform it into a valuable commodity. Unless Apollo 8 crew signed material has solid provenance, and not just originating from any well-known auction or dealer, it should be checked out by a qualified impartial authority.

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 1925
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 01-04-2014 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bob, Great trio of Apollo 8 crew-signed covers of man's first lunar orbital voyage during the 1968 Christmas holiday season.

As a related sidebar, the top depicted NASA Exchange mission emblem cover signed pre-launch by the Apollo 8 crew, as we know, came from the collection of a prominent public affairs official that headed NASA's Visitors Services Branch at Kennedy Space Center during the Apollo era.

His grandson David was over to my home a few days ago, along with his two young sons, for a visit and appraisal examination of other space memorabilia items once belonging to his grandpa.

It was a wonderful visit and a chance for me to personally meet the grandson of a KSC-NASA public relations pioneer-of-sorts, no longer with us, that I had been fortunate enough to have contact with throughout the 1970/80s.

As Bob pointed out, authentic crew-signed Apollo 8 postal covers are indeed not common among space cover autograph collectors.

In fact, I would go a step further, and declare crew signed covers from Apollo 8 are perhaps the rarest of all the flown Apollo mission crews.

From my personal collecting experiences, though, with Apollo 8 crew signed covers -- first place rarity would be the NASA Exchange emblem variety, next would be a KSC-ONC type, and perhaps third would be a tie between a Harry Anderson Space City Cover Society (SCCS)-printed cover and a cachet cover produced by Bill Ronson's Orbit Covers. Another close tie could possibly be a Carl Swanson SpaceCraft production as well for either launch and/or lunar orbit events.

More common crew-signed for Apollo 8 may be a first day issue of the famous "Earth rise from lunar orbit" 6-cent Apollo 8 postage stamp, with a Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club (MSCSC) cachet, that I've seen (and own one or two of) more often than any other commemorative first manned lunar orbit covers "out there."

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