Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Opinions & Advice
  202116146048: Apollo flown cocoa drink mix

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   202116146048: Apollo flown cocoa drink mix
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38346
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-20-2017 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To begin, I have not been in contact with the seller and s/he describes the items for sale as from the estate of a NASA employee and "listed to the best of my research and information received." But that said, there is at least something interesting going on here...

The current listings include:

...among a number of other items that are consistent with being from a NASA employee's estate. But here's the curious thing — the letters accompanying the flown items are all on NASA 25th anniversary letterhead from 1983, including the Lockhart letter from 2002, and none are signed by their astronaut authors.

Further, and perhaps even more curious, the Apollo mission flown cocoa drink and skin cleaning cloth were previously listed as having flown on STS-51D and included a letter from Jeff Hoffman (NASA 25th anniversary stationery and no signature), as pictured below.

Those earlier sales were ended "due to an error in the listing" and re-listed as Apollo flown — without the accompanying Hoffman letter.

The cocoa drink and cleaning cloth are certainly of the Apollo-era, and they appear to be authentic. The other items the seller is offering all appear to be authentic, too. But what to make of the letters?

How does one explain a letter from Hoffman attesting to flying Apollo-era items on a space shuttle mission? Or that Lockhart wrote a letter on 1983 stationery, when he didn't become an astronaut until 1996? And the letters are from Kennedy Space Center, rather than Johnson Space Center, where you would expect such letters to be authored.

Further, the letters appear to have been laser printed on stationery that pre-dates desktop computers, not to mention laser printers.

What are the chances the estate came with some blank sheets of NASA 25th anniversary stationery and someone, the seller or otherwise, decided to use them to add to the provenance of otherwise authentic items?

rgarner
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Shepperton, United Kingdom
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 11-20-2017 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rgarner   Click Here to Email rgarner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Those earlier sales were ended "due to an error in the listing" and re-listed as Apollo flown — without the accompanying Hoffman letter.
I originally messaged the seller to inform him/her that the food was not Shuttle-era, but was in fact Apollo-era, and therefore the accompanying letter was most likely fake. The seller was quick in taking the listing down, but has since relisted it, choosing to retain the "flown" label despite there being no evidence that this is the case. The same applies to the cleaning cloth.

It is my opinion that the seller knows that these pieces are not flown and somehow thinks that the statement at the bottom of the listings somehow justify it.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38346
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-20-2017 05:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, that explains the relists. But the fact they were relisted as Apollo without any mention of the Hoffman letters raises reason for concern.

rgarner
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Shepperton, United Kingdom
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 11-20-2017 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rgarner   Click Here to Email rgarner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is what makes me believe the seller is deliberately being deceptive.

Greggy_D
Member

Posts: 925
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 11-20-2017 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Reply to Attn of:" should read CB, not the astronauts' initials.

Overmyer and Hoffman supposedly authored these letters 3 and 4 days respectively after their missions landed? I think not.

Based on the factors listed above in the original post, I wholeheartedly believe these letters are fake.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 3272
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-20-2017 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree. The letters look too neat for mid-1980s. I know we had laser printers in the '90s, but wouldn't those letters be typed (and be typed by a secretary?) At the very least, I would have expected those letters to be signed, even with just a first name.

Furthermore, the Overmyer and Hoffman letters follow a similar format, down to orbiter name followed by mission designation. If anything, you would expect a variation, unless the same person typed ALL the letters.

neo1022
Member

Posts: 244
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 11-20-2017 07:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great detective work, Robert (and others). I'd been watching these, and was suspicious. Certainly nothing to support flown status. I hadn't know about the back-story of the shuttle letters, but now that I do, this certainly sounds like a case of deliberate deception with the dodgy "provenance" letters.

Thanks cS, for helping to keep the cosmos safe for collectors of astronautica!

Panther494
Member

Posts: 196
From: London UK
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 11-20-2017 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Panther494   Click Here to Email Panther494     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also the STS 51-B patch appears to be a more modern one piece version. I'm not at home to check my example but as I remember the original issue had the separate tab, two part construction. Wouldn't mission flown usually have been from these first issues?

Greggy_D
Member

Posts: 925
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 11-20-2017 09:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are correct. I own Overmyer's flown Gold Team shirt and the patch has a separate tab. The example in the eBay auction is not a vintage AB Emblem patch.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 3272
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-20-2017 10:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Of course, one could ask Hoffman or Lockhart if they recall giving out such letters personally, or comparing it to known examples of gifted letters from the two. I suspect I already know what their response would be.

rgarner
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Shepperton, United Kingdom
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 11-21-2017 04:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rgarner   Click Here to Email rgarner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A reply from the seller...
After your original email, I reached out to the family that this was obtained from, and confirmed that this was part of package that was flown on an Apollo Spacecraft, unsure which spacecraft, they are providing me with details and confirmation.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm very interested in seeing the evidence.

rgarner
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Shepperton, United Kingdom
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 11-21-2017 06:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rgarner   Click Here to Email rgarner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This just added to the item description:
The listing has this item as "space flown." The information that this item was Apollo space flown comes from the family of the previous owner — at the present time I only have the previous owner's word.

If any or all bidders would like to retract or remove their bids please do so!

I am going to leave the item listed! If detailed proof is received prior to the end of the auction this item will again be updated. New bidders please do not bid if the word of the previous owner's family is not good enough. Sorry for any confusion.

Again, the seller clearly knows this isn't flown food, but thinks that such statements justify labelling it so.

Liembo
Member

Posts: 418
From: Bothell, WA
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 11-21-2017 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Liembo   Click Here to Email Liembo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would not be the first time that a non-AB Emblem shuttle crew patch has flown. STS-76 flew a version produced by Jerry Brown (Space Coast International) in the OFK for the mission.

The STS-51B patch I have seen before but do not know the source, notably it lacks the yellow inner border stitch as found on the A-B Emblem version and original artwork.

Greggy_D
Member

Posts: 925
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 11-21-2017 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The seller is also listing a STS-51G presentation, which includes a "flown" patch and a letter supposedly signed by Hugh Harris. Again, the letter is dated 4 days after the mission. The Harris signature does not look like any Harris signature I have in my collection.

Also, in all four letters (allegedly written by four different individuals) there is the curious usage of a semicolon after the addressee.

Jeff
Member

Posts: 402
From: Fayetteville, NC, USA
Registered: May 2009

posted 11-21-2017 12:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff   Click Here to Email Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Latest updated description.
The family has been unable to locate written proof. So again current bidders if you wish to retract your bids, please do so! New bidders be aware that written proof will not accompany this item — as of this moment.

neo1022
Member

Posts: 244
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jun 2013

posted 11-21-2017 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neo1022   Click Here to Email neo1022     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I bet the seller is following this thread (or responding to the queries and feedback received via eBay), and is now attempting to backtrack and cover his/her a$$...

rgarner
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Shepperton, United Kingdom
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 11-21-2017 01:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rgarner   Click Here to Email rgarner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The seller is a real piece of work. I hope they're reading this.

rgarner
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Shepperton, United Kingdom
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 11-21-2017 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rgarner   Click Here to Email rgarner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe I spoke too soon?
This listing was ended by the seller because there was an error in the listing.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38346
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-21-2017 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I contacted the seller, informed him we were discussing his sales and directly asked about the source of the letters. I asked if there was a chance they were created to enhance the sales. His reply:
I am unsure who created the letters, they accompanied the items when I obtained them. I don't want to sell anything or any item that is counterfeit.

I have contacted eBay and spoke with them, I also tried to work with the family, and they are now stalling, so your group might be right. To be safe I am going to remove the items.

He asked for advice on how to proceed. I told him that the only way forward is to treat the letters as counterfeit and therefore the claim that any of the items flew was false. If he decides to re-list, the items should be treated as unflown.

rgarner
Member

Posts: 1009
From: Shepperton, United Kingdom
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 11-21-2017 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rgarner   Click Here to Email rgarner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wise move, Robert. I received a message from the seller in reference to a previous communication.
Wanted to reach out and say thanks, don't want to mislead anyone or list incorrectly, with that being said, I have relisted as Apollo Era, would you be OK with me using your website concerning food as a reference.

The seller is referencing the Gemini/Apollo food guide on my site.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 3272
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 11-21-2017 07:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Greggy_D:
Also, in all four letters (allegedly written by four different individuals) there is the curious usage of a semicolon after the addressee.
Also note, all letters follow a similar format, as though someone cut and dropped in the details that changed from letter to letter.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 38346
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-24-2017 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to provide a conclusion, the seller did the right thing in this case, re-listing the items without the questionable letters and as unflown, era-correct memorabilia.
This item is being relisted correctly — received information that the item is Apollo era — never flown.

Appreciate all inputs — experts are always welcome to contribute — thanks. Also like to add "sorry" to the previous bidders that were part of the earlier auction — but ending the item was the only result to correct the issues.

Chuckster01
Member

Posts: 484
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 11-24-2017 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I LOVE a happy ending.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 2017 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement