posted 03-22-2014 09:17 PM
For the old-time space cover collector who might have used his cover service, Bob Whitney passed away March 15, 2014. He was 98 years old.
Bob serviced covers for all events from the Eastern Test Range from roughly 1967 through the early 90's. Collectors would send him stamped envelopes and Bob would have them cancelled and would apply an appropriate cachet. He predominately used Cape Canaveral and Patrick AFB for cancels but also used Kennedy Space Center, Satellite Beach and Astronaut Trail in Titusville.
Bob's cachets in the early days tended to be somewhat generic but later on became event specific. They were single color and were done very well. He serviced covers for any and all events related to the space program from Apollo and Shuttle flights, satellite launches, missile tests and historic anniversaries.
My dad used his service for many years and Bob is the reason that I have a cover in my collection for every day of every Apollo flight.
I spoke to Bob a few months ago and learned a bit about how he ran his service. I had always thought his cachets were rubber stamps but he informed me that they were printed. In looking closely at them you see that they are all straight ans all fully inked which is typical of printing and not rubber stamps.
Bob was in the US Air Force and probably used their print shop to print the cachets. He told me his artist was Bob Mackay who has done many space paintings.
I have learned that Bob Whitney was somewhat connected to another cover servicer named Robert Boudwin though I was never able to ask him about the connection.
I was planning on writing an article about Bob for the Space Unit's Astrophile but still have many questions. If any one out there used Bob's service or know something about him please contact me. Bob did a great service to space cover collectors and should be recognized.