posted 05-16-2012 07:31 PM
The small cards from STS-1 were the idea of an aerospace public relations director from IBM, Nick P., as he wanted to commemorate the maiden flight of shuttle Columbia in a special way.
Many of the laminated cards were given away to his friends, VIPs, public relations reps, press folks, and others within the aerospace industry that he mostly knew and worked with.
If my memory recalls, the majority of the cards were distributed during one of the post-shuttle parties in 1981 that Nick/IBM had usually been a prime sponsor of.
No doubt, indeed, as I've always believed they were 100% genuine in containing a small swatch of a flown-used LRSI heat protection tile that was a part of Columbia on her first space shuttle orbiter voyage.
Nick had told me a long time ago that NASA had cleared his souvenir card idea since he was a company rep for the Manned Spaceflight Awareness Office (a branch office of IBM Corp. located here in Cape Canaveral, FL, at the time).
How many were produced? A good question, as I am not sure, but perhaps a hundred or more might be a fair estimate. Possibly even 200 or more as Nick usually did productions like this in such quantities.