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Author Topic:   Sieger replies: astronaut-signed stamp blocks

Posts: 1399
From: Germany
Registered: May 2000

posted 08-02-2003 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflori   Click Here to Email spaceflori     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I received a reply from German stamp dealer Sieger who issued the set of 20 signed stamp blocks in the 70s and also did the Apollo 15 flown cover deal.

Here are some additional details from Sieger himself concerning the signed stamp blocks:

  1. The amount of signed stamp blocks per astronaut is different, Glenn and Armstrong signed way more blocks than the others
  2. The exact amount is his business secret he won't reveal
  3. They (Sieger and Eiermann) didn't look for the pen the astronauts used as no one would have thought this would be ever the question of importance (bummer, so we still don't know)
  4. The signed blocks were not marked in any way, there is almost no chance to say whether it's a Sieger block or something sent to the astronauts by a private person (i.e. the astronauts didn't exclusively sign for him but signed for anyone else that sent such a or a different stamp block through the mail - for free)
So bottom line no real breaking news concerning any possible forgeries.

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 1940
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 08-06-2003 05:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To my knowledge, the Armstrong signed Belgium stamp sheets should -- probably in most, if not all, cases were signed by the first moonwalker in blue ball point pen... of course... only those that were supplied originally by Sieger in 1971-72.

This doesn't mean, naturally, that other Belgium stamp sheets honoring Apollo 11 could have easily been signed by Neil, using different pens... however, one must remember that Armstrong stopped signing all philatelic items within this same time period.

From my own personal experiences--going back three decades -- I've always seen, and have owned (a few still in my collection), the Belgium stamp sheets signed only in a ball point pen. This is also true of all the other (if I am not mistaken without re-checking) 19 signed stamp sheets -- were all signed in ball point pens.

For the record, that I'm sure Sieger would confirm, Armstrong and Glenn signed 1000 sheets; 500 sheets were signed by Bean (Romania), Borman (Ajman), Carpenter (Paraguay), Cernan (also on Ajman), Conrad (Ras-Al-Kaima), Cooper (also Paraguay), Cunningham (Ajman), McDivitt (Yemen), Eisele (also on Yemen), Lovell (Romania), Roosa (Hungary), Swigert (Romania), Schirra (Paraguay), Schweickart (Yemen), Stafford (Yemen), Gordon (Hunguay), Scott (Sharjah) and Mitchell (Romania).

The sets (20 each astronaut) were originally sold for 1,950 German marks (about $600?) by Sieger, that also included a special album. The astronauts were paid $5 for each signature.

In addition, Sieger sold sets of cosmonaut autographs on philatelic covers for about $180 per set (14 different cosmonauts per set) in cooperation with an official philatelic agency of the former Soviet government.

When the news first hit the public in Jan. 1973 about the U.S. astronaut signed-stamp deals with Sieger, at first many astronauts denied any such signings. To name a few; Cooper, Lovell and Swigert.

When questioned by astronaut-boss Deke Slayton, Swigert denied any involvement that ended his astro-flying career (he was dropped from ASTP and replaced by Vance Brand).


Posts: 349
From: Liverpool UK
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 08-07-2003 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewcarson   Click Here to Email andrewcarson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When did Neil stop signing stamps and covers? I note reference "too soon after his historic voyage." Can anyone please be precise?


Posts: 3295
From: Houston, TX
Registered: May 2001

posted 08-07-2003 06:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I am not mistaken it was right after the Apollo 15 scandal broke.

Ken Havekotte

Posts: 1940
From: Merritt Island, Florida, Brevard
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 08-09-2003 12:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Before Armstrong left the astronaut corps in July 1970, NASA at Houston was handling his fan mail the best they could. Apparently many items did get through which were returned to their senders with autographs, however, the majority of autograph requests were routed to the autopen machine for processing.

How many signature requests were granted by Armstrong from July 1969 to July 1970 is anyones' guess!

If I recall, sometime in early/mid 1971, when Armstrong was working as an aeronautical Deputy Associate Administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C., it was first announced (Note: I am trying to confirm this for the record, so-to-speak) -- but not publicly to my knowledge -- that he will no longer sign philatelic items due to the fact that too many covers (especially the 10-cent First Man on the Moon stamp issue -- both on covers, stamp sheets, blocks, etc.) were being received almost on a daily basis.

It wasn't until his retirement from NASA altogether in August 1971 that Armstrong, away from the government space agency, publicly announced -- when he was working as an aeronautical engineering professorship at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio -- that he was no longer signing any philatelic material.

My first fan letter to him was in early 1971, when I was a young teenager. Needless to say, I was thrilled... upon receiving in the mail from his D.C. office, a personally inscribed WSS litho-portrait. If I recall correctly, as a young avid astrophilatelist, it was shortly afterward (still in 1971) that Armstrong would unlikely, from what I was hearing, sign any of my GT-8/Apollo 11 covers through the mail. Therefore, it was never tried.

Armstrong did sign, though, many picture postcards depicting the epic lunar landing mission -- along with crewmates Aldrin and Collins -- that were postmarked on their back surfaces for various highlight Apollo 11 anniversaries.

Along the same lines, Aldrin (and Collins, too, I think) stopped signing covers and stamps after the 10th anniversary of Apollo 11 in 1979. Somewhere there is a letter in my files from Aldrin's office with more details concerning this topic that I am trying to relocate.


Posts: 1025
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 06-15-2007 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone out there have a Sieger Armstrong signed in black ink?

Stephen Beck
New Member

Posts: 7
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 06-18-2007 08:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Stephen Beck   Click Here to Email Stephen Beck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do: Not sure if this was an original Sieger, or if someone just sent this to him and he signed in black.


Posts: 1399
From: Germany
Registered: May 2000

posted 06-24-2008 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflori   Click Here to Email spaceflori     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since the question came up about the pen Armstrong has used to sign the stamp blocks for Hermann Sieger / Walter Eiermann:

Indeed as Sieger has confirmed to me in a letter once Armstrong has used different pens: Black and blue ballpoint pen and also black thin sharpies (or the equivalent at those days).

The original offer from Sieger was titled in German "The first man on the moon signs for you" and showed a felttip pen signature.

The original selling price for the complete series of 20 blocks was 2450 DM which was about $1200 at that time in 1971/72 (not really sure about the exchange rate, but it was a hell lot of money, about the same price as a flown Apollo 15 Sieger cover originally was priced at!).


Posts: 59
From: Colorado Springs, CO USA
Registered: Feb 2010

posted 01-17-2014 09:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for woodg2   Click Here to Email woodg2     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting post. I have a Sieger block very similar to the in Stephen's link. Like that one, it is signed in thin Sharpie (or similar pen). Mine also has a small skip much like you see in the horizontal piece in his block, though mine shows a skip in the N. Makes me wonder if perhaps they were signed together with the same misbehaving black pen.

Rob Sumowski

Posts: 466
From: Macon, Georgia
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 01-20-2014 03:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Sumowski   Click Here to Email Rob Sumowski     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also have a Belgian stamp block signed by Armstrong in black felt tip pen. I obtained it from a Belgian collector In the 90s and before Armstrong prices went crazy. It's hard to believe now that Armstrong signatures used to be somewhat affordable...higher than everyone else but not stratospheric. Of course, we all thought they cost an arm and a leg back then!

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