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  Appraisal: Apollo 1 Cape Canaveral cover

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Author Topic:   Appraisal: Apollo 1 Cape Canaveral cover

Posts: 648
From: Highlands Ranch, CO USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 03-28-2009 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randyc   Click Here to Email randyc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently bought a cover with an Interspace cachet cancelled with a Cape Canaveral, FL hand cancel on January 27, 1967. It is the same type of cover that was lot # 132 in the Regency-Superior auction held on October 10, 2008 that, according to the prices realized list, sold for $950 (is that a typo?). My questions are: 1. Was this cover definitely backdated, maybe backdated, or really cancelled on January 27, 1967 (or perhaps the next day)? 2. Was a genuine Cape Canaveral Postoffice Hand Cancellation device used? 3. If the cover is backdated is it collectible if a genuine Cape Canaveral Postoffice Hand Cancellation device was used? and 4. Although someone paid $950 for a similar cover, what would be a more 'realistic' price for it?

I look forward to any information that you can provide.



Posts: 410
From: Australia
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 03-29-2009 07:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ross   Click Here to Email Ross     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The excellent CD from the Space Unit 'Study of Suspect Space Covers' states that 'Cape Canaveral Cancellation Not Likely Genuine' for Apollo 1 covers. Steve Durst from the Space Unit agrees and makes the following comment in his upcoming book 'The Cape Canaveral pm postmark for January 27, 1967, is also suspect as the Cape Canaveral post office was closed at the time of the Apollo 1, Apollo 204 fire'. In both cases the cachet appears to be an official NASA cachet but is almost certainly contrived. It would be interesting to see a scan of your cover for comparison. Therefore the answers to your questions are:
  1. Almost certainly either backdated or fake
  2. See above
  3. I'll let others comment on this
  4. I'll also leave it to others to put a value on such a cover but I certainly wouldn't pay $950 for one.


Posts: 1323
From: Washington, DC, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 03-29-2009 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for micropooz   Click Here to Email micropooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is some discussion of similarly postmarked (Cape Canaveral hand cancel 1/27/67) on this thread, although they concentrate more on the KSC cachet aspect of the cover.

The only area post office that was still supposed to be open that night after the fire was the Patrick AFB PO. So, Patrick postmarks from 1/27/67 actually have a chance of having been applied the night of the fire. I cannot attest that the Patrick postmarks are legit, but a window in time did exist where that could have happened. However, the KSC and CC PO's were supposed to have been closed prior to the time of the fire, so they have a whole lot less chance of being legit, IMHO.


Posts: 648
From: Highlands Ranch, CO USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 03-29-2009 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randyc   Click Here to Email randyc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for the inputs so far. It appears that there is no conclusive evidence that these covers are backdated. It's been stated that the CC postoffice was closed, but could it be that even though the customer service part of the postoffice was closed that postal workers were continuing to process (cancel) mail received that day? And if they were indeed backdated would these covers still be collectible if an 'official' Cape Canaveral Postoffice hand cancellation device was used, and if only a few covers were cancelled the next day or within several days? Cover collectors know that, for first day covers, the First Day of Issue cancellation is used for approximately 30 days after the official first day that the stamp was available to the public, and these covers are all accepted as collectible FDOI covers. Also, in the case of some recovery ship covers, the ships cancellation was used even though the covers were not on the recovery ship. Once again these covers are collectible. I understand that in the case of 'event' covers such as the Apollo 1 fire it is highly desirable to have a cover that was definitely cancelled on the day of the event, but in this case if the best that a collector can get is a cover cancelled the next day, wouldn't it still be accepted and collectible? That being said, I believe that what's important in this case is whether the hand cancellation device is actually from the CC postoffice and was cancelled within 'days' of the fire. If it was, I believe that the cover is collectible; if it isn't an official cancellation device (like the 'Plugged 9' CC hand cancellation device used on many Orbit covers or the cancellation devices used on the 'Riser' covers), then the cover is (and should be) considered a fake and not collectible (except as an example of a fake cover). So it would be important to know if an official CC postoffice hand cancellation device was used, and, if possible, when these covers were cancelled and how many were cancelled.

By the way, I'm not trying to justify the authenticity of this cover because I have a lot invested in it (actually I didn't spend much), but, as a collector, I'm interested in knowing as much as I can about it because it is documenting a significant event in the history of the U.S. manned space program.

Keep those opinions coming in!



Posts: 527
From: Northville MI USA
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 03-30-2009 07:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yeknom-ecaps   Click Here to Email yeknom-ecaps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Based on best information available - the CC post office window was closed by 5 pm and cancelling was completed (at the latest) by 6:30 pm a minute before the fire. PAFB post office was open until 8 PM with cover servicers in the area to access it. Backdated covers are collectible but at lower prices (example the backdated USS Noa Glenn recovery ship covers having legitimate USS Noa cancels on Project Mercury stamps sell for considerably less - hundreds less - than actual cancels.


Posts: 1959
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 03-31-2009 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I picked up an Apollo 1 "In memoriam" cover from a stamp fair a couple of weeks ago. It's cancelled Jan 27, 1967 in Houston and was produced by the space city cover society. Is this scarce, or worth much?


Posts: 162
From: Charleston, SC USA
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 04-20-2009 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NAAmodel#240   Click Here to Email NAAmodel#240     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would value the Houston cancel at $100.


Posts: 945
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 04-22-2009 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Seems like I read some time ago that SCCS made 500 covers for that night.

I had ONE way back in 1967 and sent it out to Mrs. Grissom for an autograph. Stupid me, but as a young kid, it never occurred to me (I had NEVER, up to that time, lost a close family member or friend to death) that I might be asking for WAY too much.

I never saw the cover again.

It took me some 10, 15, 20 or 25 years to find another one of those covers available for sale.

All times are CT (US)

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