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  Houston-postmarked pre-shuttle covers

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Author Topic:   Houston-postmarked pre-shuttle covers
Mike_The_First
Member

Posts: 427
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2014

posted 01-03-2018 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm having some trouble locating Johnson Space Center (Manned Spacecraft Center)/Houston covers for events in the pre-space shuttle era — things like launches, splashdowns, moon landings, and what have you.

I'm assuming they have to exist, since flight event covers exist for pretty much everywhere else for those same events, but my usual eBay searches keep coming up empty in that regard.

I figured y'all might have some insights?

As an aside, I'm operating under the belief that there's no "JSC" postmark, and anything I did come across would be a standard "Houston" — am I correct in that?

Cozmosis22
Member

Posts: 800
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 01-03-2018 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's a bit of a discussion here of why Houston postmarks back in the day were somewhat rare because it was not the preferred location for most events. Things like a crew return to Houston after an Apollo flight are the exception.

yeknom-ecaps
Member

Posts: 609
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 01-03-2018 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are you looking for a specific type of cachet?

I just did a generic "Houston" search in the space cover stamp category and the list has Apollo 13, 14, 15 and 17 plus a bunch of Skylab, etc. with various printed cachets (Space Voyager, Johnson Space Center Stamp Club, Manned Spaceflight Cover Society, etc.) plus a few plain printed and RSC covers.

All have the generic Houston cancel. There is no JSC cancel except for a few pictorial cancel dates (e.g. ASTP launch, docking, ...).

Mike_The_First
Member

Posts: 427
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2014

posted 01-03-2018 07:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by yeknom-ecaps:
Are you looking for a specific type of cachet?
I might have just given up the search too early, because all I was finding from that era were FDCs and "[X] visits Houston" event covers.

But, like I said, it's possible I was looking in the wrong spot and/or gave up the search too early.

That said, I do have an affinity for the MSCSC covers with the patch/insignia cachet. I kind of figured that the MSCSC being in Houston would lead to more of those covers being available with Houston postmarks than the alternative, but I apparently overestimated. Looking again, I see a few in sold listings, so it may also just be my timing (if it's not my inability to search).

I may also be looking for things that don't exist, in terms of specific events. My primary objective would be an Apollo 17 MSCSC insignia cachet with a Houston DEC 14 1972 (lunar liftoff) cancel, but, ultimately, I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't actually a thing.

It basically comes down to me wanting to get covers signed, but being a bit of a stickler when it comes to who signs what (or, rather, where). I don't want my FL covers signed by Houston guys, I don't want Houston covers signed by FL guys (if I had any Houston covers), and so on. (Of course, the one time I made an exception to that rule with a signed shuttle cover, I never saw it again and the guy who agreed to sign it didn't answer either of my follow up emails. So it's part theme and part superstition.)

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 2556
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 01-03-2018 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually the MSC/JSC Stamp Club first listed their club covers starting with the official Apollo 8 First Day Cover Issue with a Houston cancellation. I don't think they had issued covers that much for any of the earlier Apollo flights, that I know of.

I believe Apollo 11 and 12 were the space center stamp club's first complete mission coverage productions with Houston used for both launch (and KSC as well) and moon landing postal cancels.

From every Apollo flight afterwards, which included major space anniversaries, SPACEPEX, new space stamp issues, SMEAT activities, and everything covered from Skylab during the early/mid-1970's, many different types of club covers were available to anyone and not just to club members.

During the 1970's, their prices for a regular club-issued space cover were usually between 50-cents to just a dollar.

Their Houston-cancels, though, were certainly not scarce as the JSC Stamp Club used Houston as their primary "home base location."

Mike_The_First
Member

Posts: 427
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2014

posted 01-03-2018 07:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Havekotte:
Their Houston-cancels, though, were certainly not scarce as the JSC Stamp Club used Houston as their primary "home base location."
That's why I was so surprised that I was having so much difficulty finding things (assuming I wasn't just looking in the wrong category).

Looking again, it's possible I was, but it's still slimmer pickings than the Canaveral cancels seem to be.

Does anyone know if Apollo 17 lunar liftoff Houston cancels exist (on any cachet)?

EDIT: I was, somehow, looking in the wrong category. I found one. Not my ideal cachet, but better than nothing.

EDIT 2: Ignore Edit 1 — I forget to turn off "Sold Listings." But at least I know the cancel exists!

As an aside, Ken, I sent you an email a couple days ago on a different topic. I know you're busy, but I also know that, in the past, some of emails didn't go through, so if you could let me know, I'd appreciate it.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 2556
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 01-03-2018 08:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, Mike, I did get some emails recently, but I can't recall your last name? I'll get back to you real soon, I promise.

To answer your above question, Mike, Yes--the JSC Stamp Club issued a whole series of nice emblem-patch covers for Apollo 17 with many Houston cancels for major flight events.

During my early and much younger days of space cover collecting as a teenager, I recall purchasing lots of their club covers and later getting them autographed by JSC-NASA leading officials. If the covers had a Houston postmark, Mike, I would try and get them signed by JSC flight directors, Chris Kraft, Bob Gilruth, Max Faget, astronaut backup and support crewmen, along with many others from the Houston space center complex.

I still have a bunch of those early signed club covers somewhere in my old Apollo cover boxes. If you would like, I'll be happy to post some of them here if there is any interest, or just for the fun of it.

Mike_The_First
Member

Posts: 427
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2014

posted 01-03-2018 08:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike_The_First   Click Here to Email Mike_The_First     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Havekotte:
I'll get back to you real soon, I promise.
No rush, I just wanted to make sure it went through. It was about one of the older launch directors.
quote:
Yes, the JSC Stamp Club issued a whole series of nice emblem-patch covers for Apollo 17 with many Houston cancels for major flight events.
I think at this point, it's a matter of when I looked. Not everything is listed all the time and all that jazz.

I did end up finding covers produced elsewhere (some sold, some still available) with different cachets bearing Houston cancels with the DEC 14 1972 date, but the only Apollo 17 patch cover was for splashdown (and wasn't in great shape).

Which brings me to another question: aside from eBay, where else should/could I be looking for covers of this nature? I only got into cover collecting in the past couple of years, and every single one in my collection was an eBay purchase. I honestly don't even know where else to look.

quote:
If you would like, I'll be happy to post some of them here if there is any interest, or just for the fun of it.
I'm always up to seeing cool pieces in other people's collections!

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 2556
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 01-04-2018 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For Mike and anyone else that might be interested; Depicted here are a half-dozen MSC Stamp Club issued covers from Apollos 8 to 17 with vintage signatures. The Apollo 8 crew signed cover, to the best of my knowledge, was the first cachet cover issued by the MSCSC in 1969. Houston machine cancels were applied to most of the club's produced covers, but some hand cancels were obtained as well.

Note the two Apollo 17 emblem cachet covers with a lunar map background (both surfaces) that are perhaps some of my favorite Apollo-era cachet cover issues. The "lunar map covers" were made from actual NASA Apollo topography maps of the moon's surface features printed and folded in a standard space cover envelope format.

cvrlvr99
Member

Posts: 112
From: Arlington, TX
Registered: Aug 2014

posted 01-12-2018 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cvrlvr99   Click Here to Email cvrlvr99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken mentioned, and showed, two of the NASA map covers.

Several years back, Bob Boyd and I visited with Eunice Radnofsky, the wife of the man who created the Apollo 11 Insurance covers and many others. She told us that her husband, Matt, an engineer at JSC, would bring home obsolete maps and that she would cut out the envelopes by hand from the maps. I didn’t ask, but assume that she used some type of a pattern and cutter.

Their home had astronauts living on either side of them, behind them and across the street. They and their families were good friends with each other, which is what led Matt to create the Insurance Covers. She was the collector in the family.

I bought my Apollo 11 insurance cover from her shortly after Matt passed away and at her home I bought a Soviet cover addressed to Buzz Aldrin. It was probably a request for his autograph. That is also in my prime exhibit.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 2556
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 01-12-2018 07:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great story, Ray, as I didn't know that Eunice had hand-cut and folded all of the map envelope covers herself.

I really do love both the earth and lunar fully-cachet map covers, front and back. It was such a clever and cool idea in creating them and I think they started with the Apollo 11 FDI in Sept. 1969.

When the shuttle program started up, I was able to acquire from NASA here at Kennedy a bunch of the shuttle earth orbital chart maps from several of the earlier missions of the Space Transportation System.

Just like Eunice, but not really quite the same, I took many of our earth charts over to my printers for shuttle envelope cover conversions. They came out good, overall, and I think our shuttle map covers were used throughout the nearly 30-year shuttle program history.

A big thanks to Eunice for the idea of creating them as her Apollo-produced map covers are perhaps some of my favorite space cover productions.

Cozmosis22
Member

Posts: 800
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 01-26-2018 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are a couple of Houston covers from 1970.

micropooz
Member

Posts: 1452
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 01-26-2018 08:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are a couple of Houston postmarked Gemini era covers:

Antoni RIGO
Member

Posts: 126
From: Palma de Mallorca, Is. Baleares - SPAIN
Registered: Aug 2013

posted 01-27-2018 03:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Antoni RIGO   Click Here to Email Antoni RIGO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another example of Houston postmark, mec. though, for the Gemini era.

Armstrong's signature is an autopen.

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