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  Apollo 17 flown flag: orbit or surface? (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Apollo 17 flown flag: orbit or surface?
Chuckster01
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Posts: 724
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 06-17-2018 12:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
it would seem another flag certified by Gene Cernan as flown aboard Challenger and indeed landed on the lunar surface has surfaced. Again proof that there where indeed flags flown to the lunar surface during Apollo 17.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 40915
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-17-2018 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The inscription is not proof that there were flags flown to the surface on Apollo 17.

Proof would be a NASA document showing that flags were aboard Challenger. As stated earlier in this thread, by the time Apollo 17 flew, the memorabilia manifests (OFK and APK/PPK) were public record.

For earlier flights, NASA documentation does not exist, and so an astronaut's inscription is the only provenance. But on Apollo 17 and later flights, NASA documentation does exist and if an astronaut's inscription contradicts that documentation, there needs to be an explanation for the NASA documentation to be ignored.

But this is a moot issue. It has long been held by collectors that if an astronaut writes that something has flown, it has flown. Beyond that, with Cernan's death any opportunity to further investigate the provenance is lost.

Larry McGlynn
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Posts: 1181
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 06-17-2018 01:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chuck, that is the same U.S. flag from your 1-30-17 post. It is up for resale.

spaced out
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Posts: 3076
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 06-18-2018 06:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to summarize some of the above, this flag was originally one of those accompanied by an LOA from Cernan and Evans. It was inscribed as flown to the surface 40 years after the mission at the prompting of a collector who had bought the flag and letter, based on his understanding that the wording of the letter implied that it was surface flown.

Only the astronauts' APKs are known to have been carried in the LM on Apollo 17 and the APK lists do not mention any 4x6 US flags.

The astronauts were apparently given some flags from NASA's OFK for distribution after the mission and this is very likely the source of the flags gifted by Cernan and Evans after the flight.

No NASA OFK or flag kit is noted as having been stowed on the LM at launch or transferred to or from the LM after launch, thus all NASA flown flags are assumed to have been flown only to orbit.

Although we can't rule out the possibility that some 4x6" US flags were flown to the lunar surface on Apollo 17, there is currently no solid evidence to support this. All available evidence points to these flags as having been flown to lunar orbit in NASA's OFK.

Chuckster01
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Posts: 724
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 06-18-2018 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Larry, thank you for pointing out the obvious that completely alluded me.

But I will not give up as there is no obvious reason anyone would put "flown in both America and Challenger" unless it was flown in both.

Also there is no reason to put flags aboard Challenger and not take them to the lunar surface.

In the Cernan video taken in Larry's hotel room and posted earlier in this thread, Gene said the items he flew on all of his missions (personal items) like his parents possessions, his wedding ring and items from all of his flights counted as a single item in his PPK. So it would be easy to him or maybe Ron Evans to package some flags into the PPK along with other items as not all of the items flown where listed individually.

capoetc
Member

Posts: 2111
From: McKinney TX (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 06-18-2018 08:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For what it's worth, provenance is not about what one thinks or about what could have happened... it is about what can be proven.

In reading the letter again, I can easily argue that the ships "America" and "Challenger" are being taken together as the spacecraft flying Apollo 17. Anything flying in the CM would be travelling to the moon on America and Challenger, and at the time the distinction between the two would not have been considered. No one at the time thought that one day 4x6 silk flags flown to the moon on Apollo 11 would be selling for upwards of $100K.

Now, there are likely a LOT of collectors out there who do not frequent this forum and who will assume that if the letter says "to the moon" aboard "America and Challenger" then it must have flown to the surface. The buyer of the item, however, may have a difficult time selling the item to a knowledgeable and discerning buyer at a later date. Caveat emptor.

Chuckster01
Member

Posts: 724
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 02-02-2019 06:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would seem we have another auction listing these flags as flown to the lunar surface.

I tried to zoom in on the flag for a good look to compare to the one I have but the resolution is just too low. Not sure why as many other lots allow you to zoom right in.

I was also wondering if this listing is one of the package of flags that have been listed with copies of the Evans/Cernan COAs discussed earlier?

Ken Havekotte
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Posts: 2718
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 02-02-2019 06:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is the same flag addressed a while back, and not once, but on a few other occasions as well.

While I am well aware of the Cernan/Evans flown flag letter certification, in my mind, I have always questioned any flag that "accompanies" such a letter.

I do recall an instance, with an American flag and "supporting same-type letter" that had been professionally photocopied, therefore, not knowing if that particular flag could had been substituted as flown, but really wasn't! In that case, based only on my own separate opinion and nothing more, I didn't even think the US flag was of the same type design as the original one(s) were, that I have seen and know of from early on.

But that isn't the only issue of concerns I had with the possibility of multi-flags applying to the same flown-type batch. I am still not convinced that so many flags were handed over to a MSF rep. for distribution.

But of course, whatever flag(s) were intended by the Apollo 17 CDR and CMP provenance letter, were more likely flown and Cernan's inscription on this one does help. It's altogether another point, though in my view, to actually prove that any of the flags in the batch were on the lunar surface aboard LM-12!

In reference to a letter annotation that this flag flew on both spacecrafts to the moon doesn't at all prove that it was separated from the command ship and went to the surface. I've seen descriptions from astronauts beforehand referring to both spacecrafts as being "one" docked-together in space while flying to the moon.

Finally, I'll even go a step further and say that I was never completely convinced by the letter, or from any other source, that the letter referred to was applying to multi-flags being flown. How about just one?

As a general rule of thumb, in most all cases, I would never acquire a flown lunar flag if it did not contain an original hand-signed letter from a crewmember(s), or with an original signed certificate, or from an appropriate NASA official, space center, etc.

If such a letter wasn't possible to acquire, at least, it must be an iron-clad COA or another suitable certification that I would be satisfied with -- but certainly not with a copied letter, as in the case of the Cernan/Evans support letter.

Without checking all the other prior post-readings in this forum, I had forgotten what Gene Cernan may have remarked about the issue at hand, or did Larry add anything further to the discussion earlier?

capoetc
Member

Posts: 2111
From: McKinney TX (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 02-02-2019 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All good points, Ken.

The major issue with the flags addressed in this thread is that they (and MANY others I have seen show up in lots of other auctions) are accompanied by a photocopy of the same letter.

It is possible that, at the time of the mission, someone in receipt of one of the flown flags could have manufactured more of the photocopied letters, paired those letters with flags of the type flown on the mission, and given them away to friends, etc, as a neat memento ... such an action would have seemed pretty harmless at the time since no one anticipated the rise of the space memorabilia collecting hobby.

Similarly, anyone today could carefully manufacture flag/photocopy letter sets that look just like the ones shown in this thread -- it would be especially difficult to discern the difference particularly if someone could find a stack of flags made during the period (I am quite certain such flags exist, lying in wait to be paired with a credible looking COA to make them worth thousands of dollars instead of a couple dollars).

The key is the provenance, and in my view the provenance of any purportedly-flown flag paired with a photocopy of a letter will always remain in question.

Ken Havekotte
Member

Posts: 2718
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 02-02-2019 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well said, and as I was trying to convey here, that I have always questioned copied letters as reliable COAs.

I don't know why anyone would be willing to accept this type of photocopied letter certification for a flown lunar flag. As pointed out, there are so many areas of this flag in question and so wrong.

Chuckster01
Member

Posts: 724
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 02-02-2019 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well said, I would love to see a decent high resolution photo of this flag so I could compare it side by side with the one I have.

Lunar orbit or flown to the surface aside it does not appear the same as mine (shown at the beginning of this post) but it is hard to be sure without a decent resolution scan.

I am not sure why this lot's images are not in high resolution, especially with the price it has already commanded.


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